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The Lord Jesus is after our hearts. Come to him today just as you are.


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Bible passage Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12


The Suffering and Glory of the Servant
 13 See, my servant will act wisely;
       he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.

 14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him—
       his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man
       and his form marred beyond human likeness—

 15 so will he sprinkle many nations,
       and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
       For what they were not told, they will see,
       and what they have not heard, they will understand.

Isaiah 53

 1 Who has believed our message
       and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
       and like a root out of dry ground.
       He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
       nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

 3 He was despised and rejected by men,
       a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
       Like one from whom men hide their faces
       he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 4 Surely he took up our infirmities
       and carried our sorrows,
       yet we considered him stricken by God,
       smitten by him, and afflicted.

 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
       he was crushed for our iniquities;
       the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
       and by his wounds we are healed.

 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
       each of us has turned to his own way;
       and the LORD has laid on him
       the iniquity of us all.

 7 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 her shearers is silent,
       so he did not open his mouth.

 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
       And who can speak of his descendants?
       For he was cut off from the land of the living;
       for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
       and with the rich in his death,
       though he had done no violence,
       nor was any deceit in his mouth.

 10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
       and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
       he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
       and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

 11 After the suffering of his soul,
       he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
       by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
       and he will bear their iniquities.

 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
       and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
       because he poured out his life unto death,
       and was numbered with the transgressors.
       For he bore the sin of many,
       and made intercession for the transgressors.



New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


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Righteous suffering
It’s not difficult to see how 52:13–15 was fulfilled in all that happened to God’s ultimate servant, Jesus. He will ‘act wisely’ and ‘sprinkle many nations’. As a result he will be ‘raised and lifted up and highly exalted’ and the world’s leaders will be amazed at him. But how will all this come about? Who can believe such an incredible story?

This righteous one suffered so greatly, not for his own sins but for ours. Deeper than all his physical and psychological sufferings was the fact ‘the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all’ (v 6). ‘By his wounds we are healed’ (v 5; see 1 Peter 2:24).

Free justification
Despite all the oppression he experienced, he would not shrink back but allowed himself to be abysmally mistreated. Meekly he would take the punishment which we, not he, deserved (vs 7–9). All this would be ‘the Lord’s will’. After becoming ‘an offering for sin’ he will be raised from death and ‘the will of God will prosper in his hand’ (v 10). As a result of the servant’s sacrifice, ‘many’ will be justified (v 11; see Mark 10:45).

How great the Lord Jesus is! Though he was innocent he was willing to be counted among the law-breakers. He even prayed for them on the cross (Luke 23:34), and still in heaven he intercedes for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).


Respond


How will you respond to him? ‘Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all’ (Isaac Watts).

Andrew Clark


Deeper Bible study


‘What thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain: / Mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain.’1

We approach this fourth servant song with reverent awe. Sin had severely wounded Israel, as the exile demonstrated. How were her wounds to be healed? CS Lewis observed that it is a ‘strange illusion that mere time cancels sin’2. The exile alone wasn’t an adequate answer: something deeper was needed. Ironically, the healing of Israel’s wounds comes through the servant-healer himself being wounded (53:6).

Who was this servant? Jeremiah, or Israel herself? Whoever was the immediate historical reference, the early Christians saw that only Jesus truly matched what is said about him (Eg Acts 8:32–35; 1 Pet 2:21–25). The servant’s ultimate position was one of exaltation (52:13,15; 53:12) but the way to it was through suffering. People were puzzled by him and treated him as an embarrassing reject (52:14; 53:1–3). Seeing his suffering, they assumed God had cursed him. They were right; but failed to see that his suffering had been caused by other people’s sins, not his own (53:4–6), since he’d led a blameless life (53:9). His death was simultaneously a result of his own voluntary submission (53:7) and of God’s plan to overcome sin (53:10). The Father and Son worked in harmony to secure this atonement. His voluntary, violent death was indeed an expression of God’s curse, but the result of our sin, not his. The first sign that something surprising would follow his death came when he, a nonentity, was buried in a rich man’s grave. Isaiah 53 stops short of prophesying Jesus’ personal resurrection, but it builds on the Jewish belief in a general resurrection to come (53:10–12). Death was not the final word, but life.

Earlier, Isaiah said Israel was to be liberated from Babylon because ‘her sin has been paid for’ (Isaiah 40:2). Chapter 53 tells us who paid for it – and how.

Derek Tidball

 

1 Attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, ‘O sacred head!’
2 The Problem of Pain, Fontana, 1961, p49


Background: Servant King


Who is the servant?

In Isaiah there are four poems known as the servant songs because they feature the servant of the Lord. The servant is a puzzling figure, sometimes seeming to be an individual, sometimes the nation of Israel, sometimes present, sometimes future.

No doubt there was an individual at the time who fitted the description. Certainly Israel as a nation was called to be God’s servant. But only Jesus fulfils all that Israel was intended to be. He fits the description of the servant perfectly.

Isaiah 53 in the New Testament

● The clearest reference is Philip’s explanation to the Ethiopian official that Isaiah 53:7,8 refers to Jesus.

● In Luke 22:37 Jesus quotes Isaiah 53:12 as a description of himself.

● Paul quotes Isaiah 53:1 in Romans 10:16 and Isaiah 52:15 in Romans 15:21.

● Matthew (Matthew 8:17) sees Jesus’ healings as a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4.

● John (John 12:38) comments that Isaiah 53:1 is fulfilled in the unbelief of the Jewish leaders.

● In 1 Peter 2:24,25 there are several quotes from and allusions to Isaiah 53.

● There are many other allusions to Isaiah 53.

● Often it seems that the language of the New Testament has been influenced by Isaiah 53.

Understanding Jesus and salvation

For both Jesus and his early followers Isaiah 52:12 – 53:13 was key. Through it Jesus understood the nature of his calling. The early Christians believed that it had a direct fulfilment in Jesus. It explained how he, as the servant of God, had suffered for them, died for their sin and had emerged victorious.

Bible in a year


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Proverbs 19,20

1 Thessalonians 2
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All for me


A poem written by Naomi Wilkinson about the suffering servant.

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Audio


The Servant King
Graham Kendrick
© 1983 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com



Salvation belongs to our God
Adrian howard and Pat Turner
Copyright © 1985 Restoration Music Ltd/Sovereign Music UK
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com




Comments
  • Rachael Hampton | Wednesday, 16 August 2017

    Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses weaknesses and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains of punishment v4 Amp. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities, the chastisement - needful to obtain - peace and wellbeing for us was upon Him, and with the stripes that wounded Him we are healed and made whole. V5 Amp. Not just forgiven and made worthy to live in the Father's presence (v15). but made whole! Body, soul and spirit, all redeemed from the curse of sin and satan's power. Bought back, at an Indescribable price. A wondrous story indeed we have to rejoice over, and tell.

  • Rachael Hampton | Thursday, 17 August 2017

    Indeed it is Keith. That's a great prayer of affirmation David. Thank you. Thought you would enjoy that loved old song Ruth. Thank you Ray and Elly, that has helped me to see the 'for nothing' differently. Carol, praying that you can leave the future where it is, and enjoy every moment of your holiday. Blessings and prayers to all.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 17 August 2017

    1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? Good question. I want my faith to soak up the truth written in the Word for it is power unto salvation, self worth, significance and security. Faith comes from hearing 'speak Lord your servant is listening'

  • Angela Munday | Thursday, 17 August 2017

    "My servant will act wisely." ( verse 13 ) There comes a special time when we look and see; our hearts know the truth. God's love for His people offers them Himself, mistreated and suffering but victorious......."For what they were not told they will see and what they have not heard they will understand." (verse15)

  • Derek Forster | Thursday, 17 August 2017

    Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heav’n to earth come down; Fix in us Thy humble dwelling; All thy faithful mercies crown. Jesus, Thou art all compassion, Pure, unbounded love Thou art; Visit us with Thy salvation; Enter ev’ry trembling heart Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit, Into ev’ry troubled breast! Let us all in Thee inherit, Let us find the promised rest; Take away our bent to sinning; Alpha and Omega be; End of faith, as its beginning, Set our hearts at liberty. Come, Almighty to deliver, Let us all Thy grace receive; Suddenly return, and never, Nevermore Thy temples leave. Thee we would be always blessing, Serve Thee as Thy host above, Pray, and praise Thee without ceasing, Glory in Thy perfect love.

  • Ruth Lewis | Thursday, 17 August 2017

    KEITH, I enjoyed the words to that Worship song and all of the comments!!!

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