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Summary: Soul-rescuing power doesn’t rest in the symbol of the cross, but in the One who bore its shame. So the invitation is not to a place, but to a Person.

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THE PASSION OF CHRIST

Isaiah 52:13-53:9-12

Part 1

THE SUFFERING SERVANT

Good News Christian Fellowship

March 5, 2006

The Passion of Christ is the most important event in history and the most explosive political, religious and personal issue of 21st century.

In year 2004 a film (The Passion of the Christ) was produced/directed by Mel Gibson faced a different criticism from different group of film critics. They say the film is extremely brutal and deeply troubling and bloody.

Yes, The Passion of Christ is bloody and brutal. But this is the place where God and humanity meet, where peace and wholeness can be found. And did you know 700 years before Christ came into the world, God open the eye of the prophet to see the very heart of Christ’s saving work. We’ll first encounter HIM and HIS work in Isaiah 52 and 53.

As you read the words of these chapters, you might almost think you are reading the report of a man who was standing by when the Son of God died upon the cursed tree. But these are the words of a man who lived almost a millennium beforehand! Isaiah, the prophet of God, wrote of the sin-atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ, and did so with precise detail and accuracy, because God the Holy Spirit inspired, breathed out, the words as he wrote them. Nothing else can explain this prophecy.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is one of four “servant songs” in Isaiah ( 42:1-9; 49:1-13; 50:4-11) that prophesy the Messiah- called here, God’s Servant- the Savior who rescue us from sin’s death and gives us new, blessed life. Chapter 52 and 53 also reveals Christ’s death comes at God’s initiative, and the Heart of God to save His people.

So, in these series of messages I encourage you to ponder, meditate, and savor the truth presented in this message. It is to Him and His work that we turn in this study.

HIS MISSION

Sometimes Israel is pictured as the servant of God. Sometimes it is the prophet Isaiah himself (Isa. 49:5) But in Isaiah 53 the servant referring here pictured as substituting himself for both prophet and the people as verse 4 and verse 5 shows: “He bore our grief’s.” “He was pierced for our transgressions.”

Read 52:14-15

This section, which describes the remarkable impact that the Messiah would make upon mankind, opens with a declaration that he would be successful in all that he did. The Servant will be greatly honored. That success would be accomplished in three specific stages, described here: "HE SHALL BE EXALTED; HE SHALL BE LIFTED UP; HE SHALL BE VERY HIGH."

Before He is glorified, however, the Servant will suffer. He will be “marred,” His face and body disfigured. That’s an accurate picture Isaiah gives us. Many will be amazed when they see Him; they shall stand dumfounded, speechless in His presence. They cannot believe what they saw of Him. They shall see the Servant beaten and bloodied.

John Gill commented:

“Not so much at the miracles he wrought, the doctrines he taught, and the work he did; or at his greatness and glory, at his exaltation and dignity, though very wonderful; as at his humiliation, the mean appearance he made, the low estate he was brought into; the sufferings and death which he underwent. These words are placed between the account of his exaltation and humiliation, and may be thought to have respect to both; and indeed it is astonishing that one so great as he was, and is, should become so low as he did.”

Many centuries later, Jesus’ face and body were marred from the…

• Beating at the hand of Sanhedrin (Matt. 26:67)

• Scourging and abuse of the Roman soldiers (Matt. 27:26-31)

• And from the agony on the cross (Matt.27:33-46; Mark 1515-19)

Isaiah writes that, through His death, the Servant “will sprinkle many nations,” meaning He will cleanse many people, Jews and Gentile, of their sin (Heb. 9:26-10:22). Isaiah prophesied that the One “whom many have not considered important at all, will actually provide the most important things.” (John Martin, The Bible Knowledge commentary).

Truly, our Lord has made an astonishing impact upon our world. He is the Man who cannot be forgotten.

HIS REJECTION (53:1-3)

Chapter 53 begins, “who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord revealed?” the answer to the questions: no one believes. Why not? Why unbelief, even today? Verse 6 gives the answer. All of us have gone astray. All of us turned in our own special way. For ages Israel did not believe such suffering was at the heart of God’s redemptive plan.

When God sent His Servant to save the Rebel Subjects, they despised him. Why? Verse 2 gives the answer. Israel expected a mighty, valiant conqueror to storm her enemies’ gates and lead her to freedom in a blaze of victory. They expect a handsome-prince good looks and charisma that drew all eyes to Him. They can’t accept that this Servant is a son of a poor carpenter, a “root of a dry ground.” He came silently and insensibly, and without a noise, “He grew as a tender plant.” His lifestyle, worship and view of life don’t fit their way. That’s why they rejected Him.

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