Isaiah 53

 

 

vs. 1-12 - THE PASSIONAL, OR THE GREAT PROPHECY OF THE

SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST, AND OF HIS LATER EXALTATION.

 

There are so many dimensions to this chapter that

we could spend many lessons on it and not exhaust

the import of it!

 

It contains the most central, the deepest and loftiest

instruction and/or revelation in the Old Testament.

 

The sufferings and the glory that should follow the

Servant of Jehovah - Jesus Christ - the Messiah -

our Savior!

 

This passage applied directly to Christ in:

 

Matt. 8:17                  Mark 15:28                Luke 22:37

John 12:37-38 Acts 8:32-33               Rom. 10:16

I Peter 2:24-25

 

Here we seem to enter the holy of holies of Old Testament prophecy –

that sacred chamber wherein are pictured and foretold the sufferings

of Christ and the glory which should follow.

 

We must be content to repeat what was urged in the introductory

paragraph to chapter 42:

 

  • that the portraiture of “the Servant of the Lord” in this place has so

      strong an individuality and such marked personal features that it cannot

      possibly be a mere personified collective — whether Israel, or faithful

      Israel, or ideal Israel, or the collective body of the prophets; and

 

  • that it goes so infinitely beyond anything of which a mere man was ever

      capable, that it can only refer to the unique Man — the God-Man —

      Christ

 

 

v. 2 – “For he shall grow up-  rather, now he grew up -the verbs are,

all of them, in the past, or completed tense, until ver. 7, and are to be

regarded as “perfects of prophetic certitude.” As Mr. Cheyne remarks, “All

has been finished before the foundations of the world in the Divine

counsels.” (Revelation 13:8 – “the book of life of the Lamb slain before

the foundation of the world” - Before Him; i.e. “before Jehovah”under

the fostering care of Jehovah (comp.Luke 2:40, 52). God the Father had His eye

ever fixed upon the Son with watchfulness and tenderness and love.

 

“He hath no form nor comeliness” - rather, he had no form nor majesty.

It is scarcely the prophet’s intention to describe the personal appearance of

our Lord. What he means is that “the Servant” would have no splendid

surroundings, no regal pomp nor splendor - nothing about Him to attract men’s

eyes, or make them think Him anything extraordinary. It is impossible to

suppose that there was not in His appearance something of winning grace and

quiet majesty. but it was of a kind that was not adapted to draw the gaze of the

 multitude – “and when we shall see Him” – “no beauty that we should desire

Him  - literally, no sightliness; i.e. nothing to attract the eye or arrest it. The

spiritual beauties of holy and sweet expression and majestic calm could

only have been spiritually discerned.

 

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v. 3 - "He is despised and rejected of men” – Men’s contempt

            was shown in the little attention which they paid to His

            teachings and in their treatment of Him on the cross!

            From Him they were aloof!

 

“a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" – the sorrows of

Jesus appear on every page of the gospels.

 

"and we hid as it were our faces from him, He was despised and we

esteemed him not" – Men turned their faces from Him when they

met Him, would not see Him, would not recognize Him!

 

Man's contempt today is shown by the uproar over

a cross at a war memorial site in San Diego, CA

being protested by secularists.

 

v. 4a – “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows”

             Christ's sufferings were vicarious (in our place) to save us

            from the consequences of our sins so we could escape

            eternal punishment for them.

 

He is the remedy for all the ills that flesh is heir to.         

 

yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God-  They

who saw Christ suffer, instead of understanding that he was bearing the

sins of others in a mediatorial capacity, imagined that he was suffering at

God’s hands for His own sins. Hence they scoffed at him and reviled Him,

even in His greatest agonies (Matthew 27:39-44). To one only, and him

not one of God’s people, was it given to see the contrary, and to declare

aloud, at the moment of the death, “Certainly this was a righteous Man

(Luke 23:47)

 

v. 5 – “But he was wounded for our transgressions_ This verse

contains four asseverations of the great truth that all Christ’s sufferings

were for us, and constituted the atonement for our sins. The form is varied,

but the truth is one.  Christ was:

 

  • “wounded for our transgressions”(thorns, nails, spear)

 

  • “bruised for our iniquities” – crushed – no stronger expression

      could be found in the Hebrew to denote severity of suffering –

      suffering unto death!

 

  • “the chastisement of our peace was upon Him” – Ephesians 2:15-17

     

  • “with His stripes we are healed” – slapped, hit with a reed,

       judicially scourged which left “stripe marks” on His body.

 

v. 6 – “All we like sheep have gone astray” – the whole human race

            has wandered from the right path and needed atonement and

            redemption.

 

 "the Lord hath laid on Him THE INIQUITY OF US ALL”

 

A perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the

whole world - "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh

away the sin of the world" - John 1:29

 

vs. 7-8 - The Paschal lamb - the lamb of sacrifice - led in silence

            to the altar  - a touching sight

 

“He opened not His mouth” - The contrast of the Servant’s silence

and passivity with men’s ordinary vehemence of self-assertion under ill

usage is most striking. Who was ever silent but He under such extremity of

provocation?  The prophet has often seen the dumb, innocent lamb led in

silence to the altar, to be slain there, and thinks of that touching sight. It was

probably the use of this imagery here which caused the Baptist to term our Lord

the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

 

 

‘He was taken from prison and from judgment-  rather, by

oppression and a judgment was he taken away by violence which cloaked

itself under the formalities of a legal process.”

 

"for the transgression of my people was He stricken"

 

v. 9 – “And He made His grave with the wicked” - rather, they assigned

Him His grave with the wicked. The verb is used impersonally. Those who

condemned Christ to be crucified with two malefactors on the common

execution-ground — “the place of a skull” — meant his grave to be “with

the wicked,” with whom it would naturally have been but for the

interference of Joseph of Arimathaea. Crucified persons were buried with

their crosses near the scene of their crucifixion by the Romans – “and with

the rich in his death” - or, and (He was) with a rich one after His death. In

the preceding clause, the word translated “the wicked” is plural, but in the

present, the word translated “the rich” is singular. The expression

translated “in His death” means “when He was dead,” “after death” The words

have a singularly exact fulfilment in the interment of our Lord

(Matthew 27:57-60).

 

"because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit  in His mouth”

 

Christ did no wrong and as no other man was ever without sin,

it follows that the Servant of the present passage must be Jesus Christ,

The Son of God!

 

vs. 10 - "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him" - the sufferings

of Christ proceeded from the "determinate counsel and

foreknowledge of God"  - Acts 2:23

 

It pleased God  to see the Son's self-sacrifice and He

witnessed with joy man's redemption and deliverance

effected  thereby!

 

"He hath put Him to grief"

 

 

The Divine Servant - a Sin Offering!

 

"when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin" -It is proposed

(Ewald, Cheyne), by the alteration of a letter, to make the passage run thus:

“When He shall make His soul an offering,” etc., and argued that “He who

offers the Servant’s life as a sacrifice must be the Servant Himself, and

not Jehovah”. No doubt the Servant did offer His own life (Matthew 20:28,”

He gave His soul a ransom for many”); but that fact does not preclude the

possibility of the Father having also offered it. “Believest thou not,” said our

Lord to Philip, “that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I

speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me,

He doeth the works” (John 14:10). This perienchoresis, as the ancient

theologians called it, makes it possible to predicate of the Father almost all

the actions which can be predicated of the Son — all, in fact, excepting

those which belong to the Son’s humanity, or which involve obedience and

subordination. As the Father had “laid on Christ the iniquity of us all” (v.

6), as He had “bruised Him and put Him to grief,” so He might be said to

havemade His soul an offering for sin.” All was settled in the Divine

counsels from all eternity, and when the ideal became the actual, God the

Father wrought with God the Son to effectuate it. “Offerings for sin,” or

guilt offerings,” were distinct from “sin offerings.” The object of the

former was “satisfaction,” of the latter “expiation.” The Servant of Jehovah

was, however, to be both. “As in ver. 5 the Divine Servant is represented

as a Sin Offering, His death being an expiation, so here He is described as a

Guilt Offering, His death being a satisfaction.

 

 

"He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days” - A seeming contradiction

to the statement (v. 8) that He should be “cut off” out of the land of the living;

and the more surprising because His death is made the condition of this

long life: “When thou shalt make His soul an offering [or, ‘sacrifice’] for

sin,” then “He shall prolong his days.” But the resurrection of Christ, and

His entrance upon an immortal life (Romans 6:9), after offering Himself

as a Sacrifice upon the cross, exactly meets the difficulty and solves the

riddle (comp.Revelation 1:18).

 

‘the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand" – THE PLEASURE

OF THE LORD IS GOD’S ULTIMATE AIM AND END WITH RESPECT

TO HIS UNIVERSE!

 

 

"He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth" 

- ch. 42:4

 

 

v. 11 - "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied"

 

"by His knowledge shall my righteous Servant justify many"

 

"He shall bear their iniquities" - rather, and their iniquities He Himself

shall bear.. There are two main things which Christ does for His people  -

He makes them righteous by infusing into them of His own righteousness;

and He bears the burden of their iniquities, taking them upon Himself, ,and

by His perpetual intercession obtaining God’s forgiveness of them.

 

The Book of Hebrews says “when He had by Himself purged our sins,

sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high……He ever liveth

to make intercession for them (us)” – Hebrews 1:3, 7:25

 

v. 12 – “He poured out His soul unto death” - Christ not only

died for man, but, as it were, “poured out his soul” with His own hand to

the last drop. The expression emphasizes the duration and the voluntariness

of Messiah’s sufferings.

 

"He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors"

 

The future is used, with vau conversive, instead of the preterite, to mark that the act,

though begun in the past, is inchoate only, and not completed. The “intercession

for transgressors” was begun upon the cross with the compassionate

words, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke

23:34). But it has continued ever since, and will continue until the last day

(Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).

 

"Christ....is risen again, who is even at the right

hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us"

                                    Rom. 8:34

 

“He ever liveth to make intercession for them (us)”

 

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Materials are reproduced by permission."

 

 

 

                                                IN SUMMARY

 

The Vicarious (Substitutionary) Character of Messiah’s Sufferings is the

Direct Subject of Seven Distinct Assertions in Chapter 53:

 

  • He hath borne our griefs;” (v. 4)
  • “He hath “carried our sorrows;” (v. 4)
  • “He was wounded for our transgressions;  (v. 5)
  • “He was bruised for our iniquities;” (v. 5)
  • “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him;” (v. 5)
  • “For the transgression of my people was he stricken” (v. 8).

 

It is Indirectly Implied in Four Others:

  • “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all;” (v. 6)
  • Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin;” (v. 10)
  • “He shall bear their iniquities;” (v. 11)
  • “He bare the sins of many” (vs. 6, 10-12).

 

“THANKS BE UNTO GOD FOR HIS UNSPEAKABLE GIFT”

                                                                        II Corinthians 9:15