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

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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.

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