Summary: Our Savior on the cross as seen by Isaiah through the divine telescope of prophecy.


Isaiah 53 "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities."

These words, penned nearly three thousand years ago by a Jewish prophet, have come to be called the gospel in the Old Testament. Isaiah’s inspired graphic description of the life, mission, purpose and conditions of the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus Christ, could not have been written more clearly and accurately; even with the benefit of historical hindsight. This should not be surprising since God’s prophecy is truly history written in advance.

We can find in Isaiah’s concise account a clear outline of the destiny of the One who will be born to die a millennium later. The shame, suffering and scornful rejection that characterized His sacrificial offering of Himself for the sins of the world are brutally described; even the more minute aspects are clearly detailed.

But the primary lesson for us today in this prophetic description of the suffering Savior relates to the gospel. The good news we can now share with the whole world; especially during this season of celebration of His death, burial and resurrection.

It is no coincidence that this gospel in the Old Testament was the account the Ethiopian eunuch was reading in his chariot in the desert of Gaza when the Holy Spirit sent Phillip to help him understand his need for a Savior. It is safe to assume that it was also the basis for his persuasion to be saved and immersed and to become a true disciple of Jesus.

Of course, this is not the only account of the good news in the Old Testament. Old Testament saints who sought and found the answer to the question of immortality understood that the Messiah would be the Kinsman Redeemer and the Lamb of God Who would some day fulfill all the types, shadows, rituals and sacrifices given by Jehovah as a basis for the atonement for sin. (Ro. 4:1-8) But in no other single place do we have the clear and unmistakable detail we find here in the account of: "THE MAN WHO WAS BORN TO DIE."

In the first three verses of this passage we are told that THE MAN WHO WAS BORN TO DIE WAS BORN TO BE REJECTED THAT WE MIGHT BE ACCEPTED. Rejection is an underlying theme in all the detail of this prophecy. More than anything else, rejection marked the ministry of our Savior. Of course, it was to be expected that He would be rejected by the hypocritical religious leaders of His day. After all, His mission and message was antithetical to everything they believed and taught. If man is lost and undone and cannot of his own volition and effort bring about his own reconciliation to God, then his religion is vain. Our Saviour said as much on more than one occasion in His confrontations with the Pharisee sect. His response to their rejection of his mission and message was candid, blunt and to the point. "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men." (Matt. 15:9) Again and again the man who was born to die called contemporary carping critics who rejected him hypocrites and called their attention to the gospel in the Old Testament. " Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men." (John 5:39-41)

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