Summary: Redemption was born in suffering, so is our peace.
The Lord’s Servant, Isaiah 52:13-53:6
“After a mission service, the preacher of the evening was hurrying away to a late train. He had just three minutes to catch it when he saw a man running after him. “Oh, sir,” he said breathlessly as he came up, “can you help me? I am very anxious about my salvation.” “Well,” replied the preacher, “my train is just here, and it is the last one; but look up Isaiah 53:6. Go in at the first ‘all’ and go out at the last ‘all.’ Good night.” The man stood staring after him until he had disappeared into the station and then he muttered, “Go in at the first ‘all’ and go out at the last ‘all.’ What does he mean?” When he arrived home he took down his Bible and turning to Isaiah 53:6 read these words, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” “Go in at the first ‘all,’ “he repeated. “ ‘All we like sheep have gone astray.’ I am to go in with that ‘all.’ Yes, I see. It just means that I am one of those who have gone astray. And go out with the last ‘all.’ ‘The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ I see. Yes, I am to go out free with those whose iniquity has been laid on Christ.” At last he realized his individual lost condition and his individual redemption. This is actually the message of John 1:9. The eternal Light of Christ illumines the individual who responds affirmatively. “Go in at the first ‘all’ and go out at the last ‘all.’”
This morning we will immerse ourselves in the beauty of Isaiah’s account of the Suffering Servant of the Lord. The beauty of this passage is the promise of God to bring about ultimate victory for His people Israel, and the entire world, through the Jewish Messiah.
Here it is foretold of His redemptive suffering. As we travel through various Old Testament literary genres this summer I long for you to see the importance of the connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Christ is their common theme. My desire is to make this plain in concrete ways.
The Bible is unified. The Scriptures are one revelation. In them is contained the message of the redemptive history of God’s people; all of which hinges upon Christ alone.
The thesis for this message is as simple as it is rooted in the text. The Lord’s victory over sin was born of suffering. I will flesh out ways that applies to us in the here and now of the Christian life.
Many seek gain by conquest. Surely there are near countless examples of this. There are overly ambitious preachers whose desire is for personal fame rather than the Lord’s glory. There are excessively shrewd businessmen climbing the latter of success by stepping on the heads of others.
There are those in power and authority who abuse their position to further their own greatness rather than for the good of others. The Lord’s victory over sin, that greatest of conquests, was born of suffering.
We are partakers of His glory when we are witnesses of His sufferings. The Lord’s victory over sin was born of suffering. Our ultimate purpose is to identify with Christ in His suffering. The trouble is that we are not built that way. Human nature is invariably bent toward conquest, not submission; conquest and not yeildedness. What is our calling? What battles were we (the elect, God’s covenant people) enlisted by the sovereign hand of God to fight?
I am a Marine. The desire to train and to fight has never left me. I seem always to be on the prowl for the next battle to fight. But what should our battles be? What is our conquest supposed to look like? Does not the Bible use imagery of the soldier to describe believers?
In II Timothy 2:3-4 the Apostle Paul tells Timothy to “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”
Christ died for the ungodly, us. We are to identify with Him in His suffering and share in it to bring life, His life, to this dying world. We are soldiers in the sense that we are to be well trained and focused on our task.
It is not that our task is to conquer in the conventional sense. The might of God was revealed in Christ, the Suffering Servant of the Lord. God invariably works in ways designed to confound the wisdom of this world and that elevate His grace and worth.