Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: “In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things, the figure of him who was sentenced and crucified remains a stranger.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian, pastor, and martyr (1906–1945)

The Suffering Servant


Isaiah 52:13-53:9

INTRO: By all accounts Jesus is the complete opposite of what you would expect of a religious or political figure, let alone a military commander or battlefield tactician. In reality he was none of these things. He failed to bring about the military revolution that would see the overthrow of Roman aggressions, he did not call his disciples to join military ranks, or campaign for votes, or debate in any parliamentary chamber and his teaching themes were unlike any others spoken in his time. So if he was none of these things, then what was his affect on the world?

ILLUSTRATION: Man at Odds with the World

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian, pastor, and martyr (1906–1945) said

“In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things, the figure of him who was sentenced and crucified remains a stranger.”

He was and I would suggest remains at odds with this world. He is an enigma.

ILLUSTRATION: The Courageous Sacrifice of King Jesus

Most kingdoms do anything they can to protect their king.

Chess -- chess, king falls, the kingdom is lost.

Therefore, the king must be protected at all costs.

Invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill

watch the invasion from the bridge of a battleship in the English Channel

U.S. General Dwight David Eisenhower was desperate to stop him,

He might be killed in battle.

When it became apparent that Churchill would not be dissuaded

Eisenhower appealed to a higher authority: King George VI.

The king -- Churchill -- if it is the Prime Minister’s duty to witness the invasion, -- it was also his own duty as king to join him on the battleship.

Churchill reluctantly agreed to back down

He could never expose the King of England to such danger.

King Jesus did exactly the opposite. With royal courage he surrendered his body to be crucified. On the cross he offered a king’s ransom: his life for the life of his people. He would die for all the wrong things that we had ever done and would do, completely atoning for all our sins. The crown of thorns that was meant to make a mockery of his royal claims actually proclaimed his kingly dignity, even in death.

Isaiah paints a picture of such a king – only more than 700 years earlier

Isaiah calls us to recognise the Servant

Isaiah says of the Servant, “... He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.” (52:11)

The Servant:

1. Rejected by those he was rescuing (vv. 1-3)

Isaiah says the Servant is, “the arm of the LORD” that had been promised (53:1)

Report is disbelieved (3 reasons (v.3))

i. Humble beginnings

ii. Appearance was quite normal

iii. Rejected because he takes on himself the pain and suffering of the world

The Servant has come to take away the sins of the world,, but no one pays any attention to him.

2. Carries the weight of sin (vv. 4-6)

Why does the Servant suffer?

It is not God who has inflicted him with suffering (v. 4), but he suffers because of our transgressions (or wrongdoing/misbehaviour) (v.5)

The servant suffered in our place

ILLUSTRATION: Mel Gibson “Passion of Christ.”

Hand that hammered the nail into Christ’s hand

We all crucified Christ

Driving this point home – Isaiah insists in v. 6 that, “We” the blind, rebellious people of God are the sheep who have gone astray, but [the servant] is the one who gets beaten for our wilfulness

—NIV Application Commentary (Isaiah)

3. Disfigured for carrying sin (52:14, 53:7-9)

Servant innocent – submits to those who abuse him

Suffering unjust

Likened to a sheep – mild, defenceless

Though unjust -- accepts without protest (v. 7)

(52:14) disfigured – beyond recognition

(v. 8) he will be cut off in the prime of his life

Conclusion: We can recognise the Servant – but what then

We are called to live the Servant’s life

Begins and ends with a sense of triumph

Jesus accomplished all that he did because he knew who he was

Do we know who he is?

We need this kind of assurance

ILLUSTRATION: An Empty Tomb Perspective

What one sees depends on where one sets up one’s shop. Mine is at the entrance of the empty tomb.

—W. Paul Jones, Roman Catholic priest

It is a matter of perspective –

A man once ran into church exclaiming, “I’ve read the end of the book! We win!”

Romans 8:16

Those who have the witness of God’s Spirit that they are the children of God ... and who according to -- 1 John 5:1-5

... know that their sins are forgiven are those who can overcome the world with love.

Such people –

Not worried about image or position

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