September 27 – Who is the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53?

September 27
Isaiah 51:1-53:12
Ephesians 5:1-33
Psalm 69:19-36
Proverbs 24:7

Isaiah 51:6 – Someone recently posted on Facebook that they can’t believe that the Bible teaches that the day of the LORD is “an event that involved the whole earth literally burning-up.” They believe all of Bible prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70, and presumably we’re just lingering on until something happens, but nobody knows what. They point to the Old Testament prophecies as the key to interpreting the New Testament prophecies, but both Old & New Testaments point to an incredible event that has not happened yet.

Isaiah 51:11 – This is an incredible promise set to music.

Isaiah 51:13 – From Abraham Lincoln, March 30, 1863:

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

Isaiah 52:7 – The prophecy of the preacher’s beautiful feet! Quoted by Paul in Romans 10:12-15

Isaiah 52:13 – Who is this servant of the LORD? He shall be very high? “Very high” is a rare expression, used in a negative contrast in Deuteronomy 28:43, describing a divinely placed setting in Ezekiel 40:2, and most important to our discussion, describing the righteousness of God in Psalm 71:19.

Isaiah 52:14 – What servant is exalted (Isaiah 52:13) and marred (Isaiah 52:14), without beauty (Isaiah 53:2), despised and rejected (Isaiah 53:3)? This doesn’t seem to make sense…yet.

Isaiah 53:3 – “Man of Sorrows” is only found in this verse, but was the subject of a hymn by Philip Bliss.

Isaiah 53:4 – The exalted servant (Isaiah 52:13), will be mutilated (Isaiah 52:14-Isaiah 53:3), for us (Isaiah 53:4-11). This is the doctrine of the vicarious atonement. The innocent slain for the guilty. Summarized in one verse – “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Isaiah 53:5 – Yes he was wounded for our transgressions!

Isaiah 53:10 – We’re told the suffering servant will die (Isaiah 53:9), and that he is the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15) bruised (Isaiah 53:10) as a sin offering, but he shall prolong his days? Keep in mind what happened to the sin offerings in Leviticus – they were unblemished (Isaiah 52:13) but slaughtered (Isaiah 53:8-9). Not just beaten. Slain.

But does this verse mean that the suffering servant who dies as a human sacrifice will be resurrected? Can this amazing description of Jesus really be written aforetime? Would God have preserved a scroll written two hundred years before the birth of Jesus only to be discovered just 70 years ago? Isn’t it amazing that we can browse this very scroll in high definition on our phones right now?


Ephesians 5:2 – Jumping over to the New Testament – we see the “Why” to the mystery of the suffering servant – because of love. He was the offering.

Ephesians 5:3 – Because of His love, our values are not set by opinion polls, but by the Lord Jesus Christ. We’re not participating in the long list of sins (Ephesians 5:3-12).

Ephesians 5:16 – Need help? Check with our friend Rick Grubbs!

Ephesians 5:19 – Why do I include so many Scripture based songs in the emails? Because we are commanded to speak to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs! God did not abrogate the hymnbook of Israel (Psalms).

Ephesians 5:22 – Submission, a controversial topic today, is matched with self-sacrifice (Ephesians 5:25). Not “throwing socks in the general direction of the laundry basket” but vicarious self-sacrifice. Both seem extreme. This is a radical standard for marital relationships that Paul is advocating, far from today’s push to ban “til death do us part” with a new standard of “give it a good try and you’re ok.” Yes Biblical Christianity is vastly different from modern society.

Ephesians 5:31 – Having recently leaved and cleaved, I am working continually on the next part – “love his wife even as himself” (Ephesians 5:33).  As someone once said, the Christian life isn’t difficult – it’s impossible!

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