The Coming Servant, Part 4: Isaiah 52.13-53.12 (3)
Pray Psalm 34.17, 18.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Read Isaiah 53.4-6.
1. What does the suffering Servant accomplish for us?
2. Why was His suffering necessary?
Now Isaiah hands us another spyglass, and begins to pull it out. Looking through it unopened, we see the record of prophetic utterances which have fallen on the deaf ears of a people (v. 1). Surely, they have gone so far astray from the Word of their Shepherd, that they can no longer hear His voice, or no longer regard it as important (v. 6).
Pull the glass out further and we see the Servant in His coming, an ordinary Man of the people, with no great beauty or stature to impress (v. 2).
And yet, as we pull the glass out to another length, we see this Servant bloodied and beaten, disfigured and suffering, and the people turning their faces away from Him, as one despised and rejected (v. 3).
Pull it out again, and we are astonished and broken to discover the “Why?” of this savagery. His bruises are ourfault (v. 4). His sorrows are the sorrows weshould be experiencing, but do not (v. 4). God Himself has ordained the striking and afflicting of this good Servant, that He might be bruised and wounded with many stripes because of ourtransgressions and iniquities (vv. 4, 5), so that we, through His suffering, might know peace and healing (v. 5).
Do not fail to miss the fact that Isaiah does not say youand yourin these verses. Like Daniel in Daniel 9, he includes himself – and us, who read these words – among the guilty for whom the Servant suffers.
Thus, what we see in the first length of our spyglass – our wandering and clinging to our own way – leads to what we see in its fullest extent – a Servant sent by God as a new covenant, to bear His wrath against us, carry our sins away in His own body, and bring us the promised healing and peace of the Lord.
1. Why is this spyglass analogy a good way of looking at these verses?
2. These verses describe the passive obedience of Christ, as He accepts the Lord’s wrath against our sins. Why is this part of Christ’s obedience as important as His active obedience, in which He perfectly kept the Law of God? How do we benefit from both aspects of Christ’s obedience?
3. In what sense are we “healed” by Christ’s suffering? What is the nature of the “peace” we realize because of Him?
He bore the sum of human evils and every form of transgression, as well as their recompense and punishment. And as if he were our debtor, the only-begotten Word of God, coming into the world alongside us, fulfilled every law and all righteousness and did not stumble over sin but received it willingly so as to change our punishment into peace and harmony. For undergoing temptation he carried our rebukes and punishments, and by faith we make our own his sufferings, and dying together with him we are saved by grace. He was not delivered by force but as an act of obedience. Theodore of Heraclea (d. ca. 355 AD), Fragments on Isaiah
Lord, You suffered that I might be healed and know Your peace. Heal me today of everything that…
Pray Psalm 34.
Give thanks to God Who hears our prayers, feeds us by His goodness, sends His angels to encamp around us, and gave His Son Who, though not a bone of His body was broken, bore our sins away.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 34.1-3, 8, 9, 18, 19, 20 (Alleluia [Lowe]: Might God, While Angels Bless You!)
I will bless the Lord at all times; I shall praise Him evermore!
My soul makes its boast in Jesus – Him we gladly all adore!
Magnify the Name of Jesus! Let us lift His Name in praise!
Taste and see how good is Jesus; blessed are all who in Him hide.
None shall lack for any blessing who in Christ will e’er confide.
When for help we cry to Jesus, He will save, for He is near.
He delivers us from trouble, for He holds us ever dear.
See the Righteous as He suffers: God will save Him from His pains.
All His bones He keeps through suff’ring, every one, intact remains.
T. M. Moore
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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).