Summary: The Servant is not a helpless victim of circumstance, but One who in His submissiveness & innocence fulfills the greater purposes of God. Thus in the end He will prosper & be victorious, for His vicarious suffering is God’s plan to accomplish His purpose
ISAIAH 53: 7-9
THE SUFFERING SERVANT
Pascal, one of the greatest and most influential scientific minds of all time, wrote these meaningful words: "The greatest of the proofs of Jesus Christ are the prophecies. [They are also what God has most provided for, for the event which has fulfilled them is a miracle of God.]" The observation of Pascal is definitively true. The fact of the Messiah’s extreme physical and spiritual suffering have been plainly prophesied. Yet, the Suffering Servant humbly endures them as God’s will for the sake of those who will be justified, or have their sins paid for, by Him. So the Servant voluntarily assumes the role given Him by God and bears man’s injustice and iniquity victoriously in noble silence. The Servant did not rebel against evil man’s oppression or God devastating assignment with His words or with His heart.
The Servant though is not a helpless victim of circumstance, but One who in His submissiveness and innocence fulfills the greater purposes of God. Thus in the end He will prosper and be victorious, for His vicarious suffering is God’s plan to accomplish His purpose (CIT). The destiny of servanthood to God is triumph even though its short-run experience may look like defeat. God’s ways are not man’s way. God is the God of eternity, and He is enacting an eternal plan according to His wisdom and power.
I. THE TRIAL, 7.
II. THE TRAGEDY, 8.
III. THE TOMB, 9.
Man’s judgment against the Innocent One begins in verse 7. He was oppressed and He was afflicted (or humbling Himself), Yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
There is no uncertainty as to who is described in these verses for it was made crystal clear to us in the book of Acts. For when Philip by divine appointment encountered the Ethiopian Eunuch on the road to Jerusalem in Acts 8, the Eunuch was reading these very verses. Then the Eunuch point blank asked Philip about whom the prophet was speaking. Philip then from these very Scriptures preached Jesus to him (Acts 8:35).
As we continue to study Jesus’ meekness and self-surrender and the astounding physical sufferings, let us never forget that the greatest suffering came form bearing the shameful burden of our sins which caused His Father to turn away from His Son.
First, the Servant’s patience in suffering is stressed. Not a word of complaint, not a whimper of protest was heard from the Savior’s mouth once the ordeal had begun. Neither the dreadful treatment by men nor the terrifying judgment of YAHWEH upon Him for our sins brought a word of protest from His smashed and bleeding lips. He was oppressed and He was humbling Himself, Yet He did not open His mouth. He completely surrendered to the will of the Father. He was willing to undergo such treatment and suffering because it was part of the Father’s plan.
We too need to learn this lesson. When we hurt, when we are experiencing affliction we need to endure it in silence also. If not our pain and hurt will cause us to say things that are hurtful, not only to others and ourselves, but to the cause of Christ.
Jesus was oppressed while humbling Himself. Although falsely accused by the chief priests and elders, Jesus held His peace (Mt. 26:63). When they spit on face and smacked Him, He said nothing. When others beat Him and cried, "Prophesy to us who hit You if You are the Christ?" He uttered not a word. A few hours later He stood before Pilate, who said, "Don’t You hear how many things they testify against You?" But the innocent Servant "did not answer him so that the governor marveled greatly" (Mt. 27: 13-14). His innocence and the conviction of His Spirit said and say sufficient to any listening heart.
If you have ever been to a MEAT PACKING PLANT it is an experience you will not soon forget. Cattle moan and moo as they are lead to the slaughter house. Pig and hogs squeal loudly as they are lead to slaughter. But sheep and lambs are different. They are silent as death as they go to slaughter. Even as the man cuts their jugular vein they utter not a sound or cry.
"Opened not His mouth" is a Hebrew idiom for silence and submission. Why did He submit? What motive caused Him to remain silent before His accusers? Why did allow such treatment and offer no word of protest? Listen my friend and listen with gratitude. Jesus was willing to die for sinners. John 10:17-18 says, "For this reason the Father loves Me because I lay down My life so that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me but I lay it down of Myself."