The Suffering Servant

Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
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.Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
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.Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

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.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
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.

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.

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.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)

I just finished reading the about the crucifixion of Christ in all four gospels but for me, nothing puts Good Friday into perspective for me like this passage. I love how through Isaiah God gave us a compact sermon on the power and efficiency of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary and how he gave it about 700 years before Christ was even born! There is so much that I would love to say about this passage and about the gospel in general but for the most part, Isaiah makes it very plain and I would just be redundant so I’ll try to be brief.

What stands out to me when reading this passage is the kind of language used, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah uses words that are nothing short of gut-wrenching. Reading this should evoke a lot of emotion after meditating about about the exchange of transgression and iniquity for peace and healing- the best, most lopsided trade of all time. Well, for us anyway.

I can’t help but get choked up reading about a man who had done no wrong, who committed no crime but was killed with as much fervor and conviction as the most heinous felon and he endured until the end with meekness and humility. Yet, still we have to read that ” he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Have I bummed you out yet? That’s not my intent. Not exactly. Keep in mind all this to “make many to be accounted righteous” and to “make intercession for the transgressors”. Yes believer, the righteousness that God sees when he looks at you came at a price and no, it’s not your own. Recognize that the word is “accounted” righteous because although in actuality we are still sinful, because of Christ’s intercession for sin, when God looks at believers he sees Christ’s righteousness in your place. Also keep in mind that “…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.”

And hey, Sunday is coming…


2 Responses to The Suffering Servant

  1. Laurie Mathers says:

    Thanks for the post. I’d totally forgotten about it being Good Friday and no mention was made of it at all during our ladies’ study. Interestingly enough, however, here’s the quote from D.A. Carson that I ended my talk with: “There is a certain kind of maturity that can be attained only through the discipline of suffering. ‘During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered, and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him’ (Heb 5:7-9). The idea is not that Jesus was disobedient before he suffered, but that in his incarnate state he too had to learn lessons of obedience, levels of obedience, that could only be attained through suffering. In this sense he grew to ‘perfection’; not that he was morally imperfect before his suffering, but that the fullness, the perfection of his identity with the human race and of his human, temporal obedience to his heavenly Father could be attained only through the fires of suffering. This ‘perfection’ he achieved, not only with the result that ‘he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.’ but also with the result that he is able ‘to sympathize with our weaknesses’ since he ‘has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin’ (Heb 4:15). If even Jesus ‘learned obedience from what he suffered,’ what ghastly misapprehension is it – or arrogance! That assumes we whould be exempt?”
    (quoted from How Long O Lord)

    As Christians we are “always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body”. (See 2 Cor. 4) So for us every day is Good Friday AND Easter!

    Will you be in Woodland for Easter?

  2. bryangumpy says:

    I’ll be in Chico and Woodland that day.

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