Isaiah 53: 1-12
Saturday, 08 April 2023
“Therefore, I will give him the honors of one who is mighty and great because he has poured out his soul unto death. He was counted as a sinner, and he bore the sins of many, and he pled with God for sinners.” – Isaiah 53:12 [TLB]
The Servant Song of Isaiah 53 pointing to Christ Jesus is a poignant passage, oft quoted, recited and referred by many Christians! In fact, David Pawson calls it “the miracle in words” having the stamp of God on it! A prophetic poetry, predicted by Isaiah 750 years before it actually took place!
The Suffering Servant, the theme of several chapters in Isaiah, notably in 42, 49, 50, 52 and 53, finds much of their fulfilment in the Gospel records of Christ’s life and death. Yet Isaiah 53 surpasses them all, in its portrayal of Christ, here examined through these headings:
· The Experience
Jesus’ life is pictured like a plant that shot up in the dry ground (V.2) — in the wilderness of sin and hopelessness, here comes a ray of hope for the salvation of humankind. Jesus lived like any ordinary human- nothing in appearance to make him stand out. V.3 describes him: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” We read in the Gospels how he was treated by people ignoring his message and mission. John 1:11 says “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Jesus was familiar with pain and suffering like any other human being and therefore can understand one who goes through such circumstances.
Several of Jesus’ experiences related to his death are described in our text—afflicted, pierced, crushed, wounded and punished! Yet he uttered not a word—“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”(V.7). Though he was innocent and undeserving of all that he went through, He did not open his mouth to justify himself or curse those who inflicted pain and abuse on him. What resilience! Going through unjust suffering? Think on Him!
· The Exchange
When we read and understand the magnitude of His unjust suffering—all was for what?? That’s the point! Solely for you and me! “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (V.5) Verse 6 speaks of fallen/sinful man that strayed away, turned from God and walked in his/her own way. For the wickedness and rebellion we only deserved God’s just punishment, death (Rom.6:23: for the wages of sin is death…). BUT here is the wonderful exchange “…the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” JESUS took our place, bearing our sin and its consequence—death! Jesus willingly chose the life of a human being to make that exchange; God caused Jesus to go through the suffering in order to gift us salvation through His Son! V.10 says: “Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin..” Brothers and sisters, what an exhibition of love! A love that gave his life for another!
· The Exaltation
The suffering of the obedient Servant was not without reward. Through Him many will be justified before God- those who accept His work on the cross for themselves. Through His suffering, Jesus brought many sons and daughters to glory (cf. Heb. 2:10). Besides, God honored him by giving Him a portion with the great (V.12). Phil. 2:10-11 speaks of God’s exaltation of Jesus to the highest place, giving him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow one day! Crowned Him LORD of all!!
The suffering of the Messiah and the glories that would follow (1 Peter 1:11), predicted by the prophets has been fulfilled in Jesus. Where do you stand in your understanding of Christ today? Your sympathy for his suffering can do nothing to fetch your salvation—it’s acknowledging his suffering and death on your behalf to make you right with a holy God that guarantees your salvation.
Friend, there is no better exchange for your life of emptiness than a life crowned with the glory in Christ!
Listen: 'Thank you for the Cross LORD!'