Summary: Isaiah lived some seven hundred years prior to Jesus, and yet he revealed much about the significance of His life and death. Jesus fulfilled every prophecy regarding His first advent. I am thankful He came to provide the means of our salvation.
The Man of Sorrows
Isaiah 53: 4-6
As I consider the Bible as a whole, there are specific chapters that seem to stand out above the rest. I do not imply these are any more inspired, or needful than the rest, but they are of such rich substance that I feel inadequate to enter their eternal standing. Among those deep and rich passages are John, chapter three, Romans, chapter eight, Philippians, chapter two, Hebrews, chapter ten, and of course, Isaiah, chapter fifty-three.
Isaiah penned these words some 700 years before the birth of Jesus, as he described the coming Christ would bear the sin of humanity and provide for our salvation. These eternal words would be fulfilled to the letter as Jesus offered Himself the atoning sacrifice for sin. It is said that Martin Luther so revered this chapter that he proclaimed it should be written on a parchment of gold, with the words being inscribed of pure diamonds.
As we look in on the details of this powerful passage, I would like to consider: A Man of Sorrows. We discover first:
I. The Suffering of the Savior – Although written hundreds of years prior to the birth and crucifixion of Jesus, Isaiah’s prophetic words were fulfilled by Christ. He spoke of:
A. His Emotional Suffering (4a) – Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. Isaiah declared that Jesus would bear the grief of humanity and carry our sorrows as He faced the cross of Calvary. Bearing our griefs carries the idea of our “sickness,” and yet is also refers to the grief associated with sickness. Jesus bore the grief and sorrow of humanity as He walked upon this earth and prepared to face the cross. He endured the rejection of those who should have embraced Him, the mockery and ridicule of those He came to save. Jesus endured great emotional suffering for you and me! Isaiah 53:3a – He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.
B. His Physical Suffering (5a) – But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. We will discuss this further in a moment, but here we find that Isaiah prophesied of the physical abuse and suffering Jesus would endure as He offered Himself the atonement for our sin. His being wounded has the idea of “being pierced physically unto death.” The word bruised speaks of literally being “crushed.” Jesus endured such suffering for our transgressions and iniquities. We cannot imagine the physical pain and suffering Jesus endured prior to the cross and during the crucifixion.
C. His Spiritual Suffering (5a-5b, 6b) – But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. [6b] and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. I am convinced this would have been the most difficult suffering to endure. The holy, sinless, righteous Son of God endured the sin of humanity as He hung on the cross. Never had His fellowship been broken with the Father; there had never been a time when Jesus had known or committed sin. On the cross, Jesus bore our sin as the Father placed all our iniquity upon Him. Jesus became sin so we could be forgiven of sin and restored unto a right relationship with God. 2 Cor.5:21 – For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
II. The Substitution of the Savior – Not only did Isaiah prophecy of the great suffering Jesus would endure, he also spoke of Him assuming our place on the cross, literally becoming our substitute. Consider:
A. The Severity (4b) – yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. As we consider the crucifixion, we think of the awful suffering Jesus endured at the hands of sinful men. No doubt, that was worse than any man ever endured, being beaten and humiliated beyond recognition. However, the physical abuse cannot compare to the judgment He endured on our behalf. God judged the sin of humanity in the body of His Son. The unfiltered wrath of holy God in judgment of sin was poured out upon Jesus. He was smitten by the Father as the substitutionary sacrifice for our sin! God judged our sin in the body of Christ our Lord.
B. The Penalty (5a-5c) – But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him. Jesus died on the cross with purpose – to pay the sin debt for sin and redeem us from sin. Sin causes enmity with God. Because of sin, all are separated and condemned before God. Sin had to be atoned; the penalty of sin was death, and there had to be an offering to secure payment for sin. Jesus alone was worthy to provide such atonement. He endured the penalty of sin, which is death, in our place!