Today’s Reading: Isa 52:1–54:17, Luke 20:41–21:24, Job 12:1–12
Today’s Theme: The Suffering Servant.
Today’s theme is about God’s suffering servant, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Isaiah 53 is one of the most striking prophecies about Jesus and it lays out quite clearly, the substitutionary nature of the suffering and atonement accomplished by Christ. We will explore this chapter in particular and look at how God was sovereign, even over the suffering of Jesus and is sovereign over our suffering too, in our NT and Job readings.
Good News: The King Reigns
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Isaiah 52:7 (ESV)
This verse gets to the heart of what the Gospel is, it is a declaration of victory, God has won. We are His messengers, bringing this good news of the king’s victory over the enemy, and the establishment of His kingdom, rulership, lordship and reign.
The good news spoken of here is one of peace, happiness and salvation. All these are possible because one of the key messages of the Gospel is that God is King, and He actively reigns… Good News; the devil is not in charge and is not on the throne, God is, which means we can confidently put our trust in Him and find peace, true happiness and eternal salvation.
Those who hear, are called upon to respond in worship to the King’s good news, which we have been commissioned to publish.
Jesus disfigured for us
As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. Isaiah 52:14–15 (ESV)
The Hebrew word “mišhat” translated as ‘marred’ is only used once in the whole bible. It means the terrible disfigurement or distortion of a person’s appearance, to be inhumanly deformed, implying ugliness and the resulting repulsion.
This word is used to describe the suffering servant, the Messiah, Jesus’ appearance after being beaten and mauled by the blood thirsty soldiers and crowd, at His trial and crucifixion.
From this disfigurement, He will sprinkle many. The many are His elect from every nation, He hallows us to God through the sprinkling of His blood.
The reference to the kings mouths being shut is possibly a veiled reference to the principalities and powers of darkness being triumphed over and their accusing mouths are stopped. They are shocked by the sacrifice and victory of God’s servant, Jesus.
Through His humiliation, He put the powers of darkness to shame, as we read in Colossians 2:15 “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”
Jesus rejected for us
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:3 (ESV)
Jesus, God’s servant and Messiah, was rejected and despised by those He came to save, so much so that He was delivered up to suffering and death.
Men cannot look at God’s servant without having to look at themselves and so avoid looking at Him. The people did this when Jesus walked the earth and people still do it today.
Instead of facing Jesus and so having to deal with our sin, we turn our faces away, hoping He will go away, but He stands. He is God’s loudest message to the entire world, not as a conquering king but a suffering servant, showing God’s mercy, grace and magnanimity to undeserving man.
Men are called to look square in the eyes of Jesus, facing His life, words and sacrifice and respond in truth. Look into the eyes of the man of sorrows today, you will either run or bow in repentance and worship.
Jesus walked the earth, grieved at sin and death, conscious of the weight of His mission. We should have the same perspective as His disciples.
Jesus carried our sorrows
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. Isaiah 53:4 (ESV)
This whole chapter is the high ground of the OT and has been described as the 5th Gospel, or the Gospel according to Isaiah.
This is a powerful truth for us to remember, Jesus has carried the weight of our griefs and sorrows, this is why He said my yoke is easy and burden is light and that we would find rest for our souls in Him.
Jesus stood as a substitutionary sacrifice for us, suffering in our place, carrying our sin, Jesus suffered for us as His elect people.
Read this a few times today and give thanks to God for the sacrifice Jesus made, to bring God glory and save you. We no longer have to live in the sorrow and decay of sin, we can live in joy and freedom today.
Jesus crushed for us
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)
Man always tries to play down the seriousness of sin, our mistakes and shortcomings, but consider all that Jesus went through at God’s command because of our sins and you will see that sin is no small thing. God takes it very seriously, so seriously that He gave His only Son.
Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, this points directly to the piercing of crucifixion. Jesus was crushed for our moral depravity. Stop and consider that for a moment, Jesus took our place on the cross, we should have suffered and died for sin, but He suffered in our place.
God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus, so that we could come to God in peace. Through Jesus’ wounds on the cross, we are healed from the spiritual sickness of sin (we can stand on this for physical healing as we pray too).
Jesus accomplished so much for His elect people, through His substitutionary suffering and death on the cross. Take time to think about this today, look at the words used here and pause to think and worship God.
Jesus like a sacrificial lamb for us
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. Isaiah 53:7 (ESV)
Jesus was the fulfilment of all the temple sacrifices, He is our Passover lamb.
If Jesus was able to do this in His true innocence and holiness, then how much more should I be able to be silent before accusers.
Jesus perfectly fulfilled this prophecy, in submission and obedience to His Father.
Jesus buried for us
And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Isaiah 53:9 (ESV)
Jesus was put to death between two robbers, in Matthew 27:38 and buried in the tomb of the rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, in Matthew 27:57–60, perfectly fulfilling this prophecy.
Jesus was buried for our sin but rose from the dead victoriously after three days.
Jesus died for God
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:10 (ESV)
We think of ourselves as the reason Jesus went to the cross, when in fact there was a greater, primary reason that Jesus went to the cross; His love for His Father, over and above His love for us.
The cross was no disaster or tragedy, it was the Father’s plan to redeem an elected people from all nations of the earth.
God had our salvation in mind, this is why it was God’s will to crush His servant Jesus for us, making a full and final payment for our sin.
God has been satisfied
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11 (ESV)
God is satisfied with the sacrifice Jesus has made, making God’s many elect people righteous before God.
You cannot do anything to make God more satisfied, so rejoice in the free and full salvation that has been purchased for you.
God stands over the enemy
Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; Isaiah 54:16 (ESV)
God reminds us of the totality of His sovereignty in light of the last statement, that there are those who will stir up strife and He did not send them. This is not a contradiction but clarification of the nature of God’s sovereignty. Basically, He does not force the hand of man, but He made man and has authority over man.
Our heritage and that of Israel in particular, is one of great security. No weapon that the enemy devises will prevail against us. With God’s help, we will boldly refute those who stand against God’s purposes.
We are called to suffering
This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. Luke 21:13–15 (ESV)
Jesus warns us of the persecution we will need to endure as His disciples. Like Him, the suffering servant, we will have to endure suffering but He encourages us that He has given us the grace and Spirit of God, to endure and be witness for Him.
He calls us to persevere in Him, assuring us that we will never ultimately perish because we are secure in Him.
God is in control
Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? Job 12:9 (ESV)
Job understands that this is not the devil, he has a far better understanding of the sovereignty of God than his friends. He knows good and bad all come from God, who is ultimately in control and he makes a point by saying, ask any living creature… they all know God is king.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.