The suffering servant of the LORD

Isaiah 49:1-26   The author of the Book of Isaiah announces the calling of the LORD’s servant, who will bring the people of Israel and Judah back to the LORD: "Before I was born, the LORD called me to serve him... He told me, 'Israel, you are my servant. I will show my glory through you." (Isaiah 49:1-3)

Isaiah 50:1-11   In contrast to Israel’s evil ways, Isaiah says the LORD’s servant is obedient to God. "The Lord GOD helps me learn, and I have not turned against him nor stopped following him." (Isaiah 50:5)

Isaiah 51:1-23   God’s people will receive everlasting salvation (see Isaiah 51:8). “The people the LORD has freed will return and enter Jerusalem with joy. Their happiness will last for ever.” (Isaiah 51:11)


Jerusalem - Tower of Phasael (EdoM)

“The people the LORD has freed will return and enter Jerusalem."  (Isaiah 51:11)  (EdoM)


And God’s wrath will be removed forever: "The punishment I gave you is like a cup of wine. You drank it and could not walk straight. But I am taking that cup of my anger away from you, and you will never be punished by my anger again." (Isaiah 51:22)

Isaiah 52:1-12   Jerusalem will be a place of splendour once again. “How beautiful is the person who comes over the mountains to bring good news, who announces peace and brings good news, who announces salvation and says to Jerusalem, 'Your God is King'." (Isaiah 52:7)

Isaiah 52:13-15   But this will only be achieved by the suffering of God’s servant. “Many people were shocked when they saw him. His appearance was so changed that he did not look like a man... they could barely tell he was human. But now he will surprise many nations. Kings will be amazed and shut their mouths. They will see things they had not been told about him, and they will understand things they had not heard.” (Isaiah 52:14-15)


The Suffering Servant

In Isaiah Chapter 53, the author describes God’s ‘suffering servant’  - the man who would bear on himself the suffering of all mankind:

The LORD’s servant would be meek. He would grow up like a tender shoot taking root in dry ground. “He had no special beauty or form to make us notice him; there was nothing in his appearance to make us desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2)

He would suffer. “He was hated and rejected by people. He had much pain and suffering.” (Isaiah 53:3) “But he took our suffering on him and felt our pain for us.” (Isaiah 53:4)

He would be punished because of the wrongdoing of others. “But he was wounded for the wrong we did; he was crushed for the evil we did. The punishment, which made us well, was given to him, and we are healed because of his wounds” (Isaiah 53:5)

He would bear the punishment for mankind’s sin. “We all have wandered away like sheep; each of us has gone his own way. But the LORD has put on him the punishment for all the evil we have done.” (Isaiah 53:6)


The LORD has laid the punishment on him

"The LORD has put on him the punishment for all the evil we have done.” (Isaiah 53:6)


He would be killed because of the sinful nature of mankind. “He was like a lamb being led to be killed”, but “He was quiet, as a sheep is quiet while its wool is being cut; he never opened his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7) “Men took him away roughly and unfairly... He was put to death; he was punished for the sins of my people.” (Isaiah 53:8)

He would be buried among the rich and the evil. “He was buried with wicked men, and he died with the rich. He had done nothing wrong, and he had never lied.” (Isaiah 53:9)

His death would be like a sacrificial offering. "But it was the LORD who decided to crush him and make him suffer. The LORD made his life a penalty offering." (Isaiah 53:10)

He would achieve the forgiveness of mankind. “My good servant will make many people right with God; he will carry away their sins... He willingly gave his life and was treated like a criminal.But he carried away the sins of many people and asked forgiveness for those who sinned.” (Isaiah 53:11-12)

In the New Testament, the gospel writers proclaim that the role of the ‘suffering servant’ foretold in the Book of Isaiah was fulfilled by Jesus Christ, who suffered a brutal and sacrificial death to secure God’s forgiveness for the wrongdoings of many others (see Matthew 16:21, Luke 18:31-33, 24:25-27 & John 1:29).

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