Isaiah 53: Chastisement for Our Peace

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 

No deceit was found in his mouth.

 

Chapter Summary.  This is the fourth and most compelling of Isaiah’s servant songs (52:13-53:13).  It contains the LT’s clearest description of the sufferings of Christ.  Isaiah begins with a sharp contrast:  The Servant is valued by God, but rejected by men.  Eager for a powerful ruler, God’s people see no beauty in the carpenter of Galilee despite His good works.  Despised by His own people, Christ was a sufferer, not a conqueror.  His affliction seems to be evidence of God’s displeasure, but His suffering actually is for us, that we might be healed by His wounds.  He remains humble in life and death.  Though innocent, He dies “for the transgression of My people.”  It was God’s intent to crush Him, for Christ is a guilt offering, a substitute paying the price of our sins.  Yet death is not the end.  Beyond the grave “the light of life” awaits the Savior.  He not only rises, but is satisfied that His suffering was not in vain, for by it He “will justify many.”  Vibrant with new life, Christ is raised to glory.  In submitting to God’s will, “He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Key verse.  53:5:  Here is why Christ died.

Personal application.  There is no better passage to use in meditating on the death of Christ.

Key concepts.  Servant, Sacrifice, Cross, Guilt, Justify

It’s not easy to say no to deception.  It’s not easy to straddle between the truth and the deception after God opens our eyes to the truth.  I want to remember today that “Nor was any deceit in His mouth.” 53:9  It takes courage to side with my Savior who is the only way.

 

9  And they made His grave with the wicked– But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

 

No beauty 53:1-3  The values that dominate human culture are far from the values held by God.  What seems beautiful and majestic to most human beings has no attraction for God.  The true beauty of Jesus was His willingness to suffer, and the true majesty was His humility.  Let’s concentrate on making ourselves beautiful – to God.

1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.


The Suffering Servant

 

Amidst a declaration of the Lord’s coming salvation, Isaiah places a portrait of the Suffering Servant.  Despised and rejected, wounded and bruised, this unattractive Servant would know heartache and sorrow.  What was the reason for His suffering?  His life could not be the cause, for He was blameless, speaking only the truth (53:9).  Yet the Servant would be led to prison and then to death for our sins.

Three other passages in Isaiah focus on the Servant and are called the “Servant Songs” (42:1-4, 49:1-6, 50:4-9).  The first song celebrates the Servant as the One who will establish justice for all (42:4).  The second highlights the deliverance that the Servant will provide.  He will restore Israel and become a “light to the Gentiles.”  The third emphasizes the God-given wisdom of the Servant.  All this culminates in the description of the suffering and eath of the Servant in chapter 53, the final “Servant Song.”

Although at times Isaiah refers to the nation Israel as a Servant, the preeminent Servant of the Lord was clearly a unique person, a suffering Messiah yet to come.  New Testament authors such as Matthew understood Jesus’ teaching and preaching as a direct fulfillment of Isaiah 42:1-4 (see Matt. 12:15-21).  Philip used one of the Servant Songs as a starting point for evangelism (53:7,8).  The Ethiopian enuch asked him to explain the passage “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter.”  Philip introduced him to Jesus, the One who was led to death for the sins of all humanity.


53 1  Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2  For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3  He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

4  Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6  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. 7  He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8  He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9  And they made His grave with the wicked– But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

10  Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. 11  He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12  Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

 

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