People in Isaiah's day didn't believe. Do we?

The Coming Servant, Part 4: Isaiah 52.13-53.12 (2)

Pray Psalm 69.5, 6.

O God, You know my foolishness;
And my sins are not hidden from You.
Let not those who wait for You, O LORD God of hosts, be ashamed because of me;
Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel.

Read Isaiah 53.1-3. 

1. Who is being described here? How is He described?

2. In what sense was He the “Man of sorrows”?

What Isaiah just prophesied in 52.13-15 must have so shocked his hearers that they simply wrote it off as impossible. Or perhaps he was referring to his whole career as a prophet, in which case, he would not have been surprised at the lack of response to his preaching (cf. Is. 6.9, 10).

At any rate, it appears no one was listening. God had certainly revealed His plan through Isaiah, but the revelation had not been received by those who heard it (v. 1). Except this must not deter Isaiah. He was entrusted with the Word of God, and he must continue to proclaim it, whether or not the people were listening.

He begins to describe the coming Servant (v. 2). There would be nothing special in His appearance, nothing in His flesh to make Him stand out above His contemporaries (v. 2). He was from the soil of Israel, the root of Jesse and David – an ordinary-looking Jewish Man.

So why did people despise and reject Him (v. 3)? Not because of His appearance, but because He was sent by God to be a Man of sorrows, to know grief, scorn, rejection, disregard (v. 3), and worse, as we shall see. It would be in this role, as the suffering Servant, that the coming One would accomplish the salvation of God’s people.

Jesus came to earth, to know sorrow, grief, scorn, and the hatred of men. He said that, as the Father had sent Him, He was also sending us (Jn. 20.21). Where do we get off thinking that our lives, as branches of this true Vine, should be without trouble or trial or suffering or sorrow?

1. The people of Israel heard the Word of God which Isaiah was preaching to them. In another sense, however, they were not hearing it at all. Explain. How does this happen?

2. Haggai will refer to the coming Servant as the “Desire of All Nations” (Hag. 2.6, 7). If there was nothing in His appearance to attract us, what makes this Servant so desirable? How can you present Him as desirable to the people in your Personal Mission Field?

3. Why is it important that Jesus came to be the Man of sorrows?

Due to their exceedingly great wickedness, they would not believe in him, as the Lord shows in these words, “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” And afterward, “Hearing you shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see and shall not perceive, for the heart of this people has become desensitized.” Therefore, knowledge was taken from them, because when they saw, they overlooked, and when they heard, they heard nothing at all. Apostolic Constitutions (381-394 AD), Constitutions of the Holy Apostles 5.3.16

O Lord, help me to hear Your Word, so that hearing, I will…

Pray Psalm 69.1-7, 34-36.

Use this as a prayer of confession. Pay careful attention to the places where your confession overlaps with the work of Jesus in bearing our sins. Praise God for the Savior, our Lord Jesus, Who has borne our sins and sorrows, and carried them away as far as the east is from the west.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 69.1-7, 34-36 (Greensleeves: What Child is This?)
“Save Me, O God, deep waters rise and threaten to undo Me! 
No foothold in the mire I find; the floods must soon subdue Me. 
Hear, Lord, My weary cry; My throat is parched, unclear My eye. 
Foes long for Me to die and others’ debts are upon Me.” 

O God, our folly all You know, our wrongs from You are not hidden; 
Let those who in Your mercy go not by our shame be smitten. 
“Let none dishonored be because, O Lord, because of Me! 
You make Me dishonor see; on Me reproach is written.”

Let heav’n and earth now praise You, Lord, the seas and all their creatures, 
For You will save us by Your Word and build Your City’s features. 
There we will with Jesus dwell and know His blessings full and well. 
His glorious Name we’ll tell to every man and creature!

T. M. Moore

How great is the salvation which is ours in Jesus Christ? Download the three installments of our free study, Such a Great Salvation, and learn for yourself (click here).

Forward today’s lesson to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on Isaiah. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link for the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Isaiah’s important message.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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