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The Suffering Servant

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I want to begin with just a little bit of background to the book of Isaiah. Isaiah ministered in Judah after the division of Israel into two nations. He ministered for roughly 60 years from around 740-680 BC. Chs. 1-35 deal with God’s rejection of Israel and their condemnation because of sin. Chs. 36-39 are a kind of interlude dealing with Hezekiah. Chs. 40-66 deal with how Israel will be restored by God and comforted as His promises are fulfilled. are the climax of God’s restoration of Israel. It was Israel’s sin that caused them to be condemned and chastened by God. This sin is dealt with by the one described in our passage. Once that sin is dealt with, reconciliation is possible. It is the method of securing that reconciliation that we will consider on our communion Sunday’s in the coming months. PRAY
In preparing for today I read a commentary by Ray Ortlund. He began this section with some marvelous thoughts. Let me share some of them with you.
Preaching the Word: Isaiah—God Saves Sinners Chapter 39: Guilt, Substitution, Grace

In 1804 Thomas Jefferson took a razor to his New Testament and cut out everything he found incompatible with his rationalism. Only about 10 percent of the text survived the operation. The Christian faith is thoroughly miraculous, and some people choke on that. But they often miss the most outrageous miracle right at the center of the gospel. In Romans 4:5 Paul says that God “justifies the ungodly.” That’s a real problem. Jesus walked on the water—so what? No one is harmed. But when God justifies the ungodly, he upsets the whole moral order of the universe, doesn’t he?

Everybody knows that God punishes bad people and rewards good people. It’s his job. But the gospel disagrees. The gospel says that God justifies the ungodly. What does that mean? It means that God declares guilty people innocent. It means that God treats bad people as if they were good people. That goes beyond the power of miracle. It’s a scandal.

Preaching the Word: Isaiah—God Saves Sinners Chapter 39: Guilt, Substitution, Grace

There’s a reason why we shift the blame. There’s a reason why our problems are always someone else’s fault. There’s a reason why parents blame their children and husbands blame wives and so forth. The reason we continually pass the buck is that we know we can’t bear our own guilt. We want so desperately for others to bear it for us. So we dump it on them, without even noticing what’s happening in our thoughts. This is a major source of tension in our homes and workplaces and churches.

Preaching the Word: Isaiah—God Saves Sinners Chapter 39: Guilt, Substitution, Grace

Every one of us needs a scapegoat. In the gospel Jesus says to us, “I am the willing scapegoat of the world. At my cross, it’s my professional business to be crushed under the unbearable guilt of others. It’s my role to bear away other people’s guilt. That’s what I do, because I love guilty people. If you’ll trust me, here’s the deal. My only guilt will be yours, and your only righteousness will be mine. Is that arrangement acceptable to you? Or will you continue to cope with your guilt by your own devices?”

Preaching the Word: Isaiah—God Saves Sinners Chapter 39: Guilt, Substitution, Grace

God wants to glorify himself by flooding our lives with sin-bearing mercy in Christ. The only barrier to being awash in freshness and joy and release is when we cling to our guilt by clinging to our own righteousness. All our guilt must go to Christ, and all our righteousness must come from Christ. This is God’s way of release for guilty people, and there is no other.

All of us here today are guilty. We are sinners who have no hope and no ability to save ourselves. Yet we read in God’s Word that the penalty for sin has been paid be Jesus Christ! Salvation is freely offered to all who believe.
Today we will remember and celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Through this celebration our hearts will be knit to Christ and our lives will be conformed to His.
In this passage Isaiah presents the suffering servant. He introduces us to Him by presenting three realities. The first is that…

1. The Servant Shall Be Glorified v. 13

In the midst of dealing with how Israel will be reconciled to God, a key player in this drama is introduced. Referred to here as God’s Servant, the passage is clearly Messianic with its references to ruling and exaltation. The servant is said here to deal prudently. “Prudently” is the Hebrew word שׂכל (śakal) meaning to have success; to understand, comprehend. To prosper (thrive) to make steady favorable progress or succeed.
Prudently – שׂכל (śakal)
The idea here is that The Servant, who we believe to be Jesus, will accomplish what He sets out to do. What is that? The reconciliation of Israel to God. However, the nation of Israel didn’t anticipate what is revealed as we continue into ch. 53. The Servant will be an offering for all sin, not just the sin of Israel! He will justify many, will bear their iniquities, and intercede for transgressors! Reconciliation will be accomplished! Not just of Israel, but of all who believe. He truly will deal prudently. He will succeed where the efforts of men have failed. As a result of the reconciliation He will accomplish, the Servant will be exalted, extolled, and lifted high.
This is a very Hebrew expression. Where Greek is a technical language perfectly suited to convey the subtle distinctions in theology, Hebrew is a poetic language perfectly suited to convey narratives. One of the devices used in Hebrew is repetition. We see a little bit of that here. “Exalted” is the Hebrew word רום (ruwm) meaning to bring aloft, raise up, lift up, lift high, erect. To be high.
Exalted – רום (ruwm)
Extolled” is the Hebrew word נשׂא (naśaʾ) meaning to carry; to lift, lift up; to raise; to raise high; to exalt. To be lifted up v. — to be taken and lifted upward.
Extolled – נשׂא (naśaʾ)
While it is a different Greek word, “very high” is essentially the same idea as “exalted”. The difference is that exalted is the place that one is lifted to while “high” is the position.
The Servant will not be exalted for a mere moment. His exaltation will be permanent!
The NT reveals that Jesus is exalted, He will be extolled, and He is very high! Peter speaks of this in the very first church age message. , turn there please.
Acts 2:33–36 NKJV
Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’ “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
The Servant has been exalted! He is seated at the right hand of the Father! When Peter wrote his first epistle he phrased it this way, (S).
1 Peter 3:22 NKJV
who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
This is His current position. In Paul declares the future of The Servant. Turn there please.
Philippians 2:9–11 NKJV
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
He is exalted. He is high. He will be extolled. Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess! Glory with me in this revelation of our Jesus! High and lifted up! Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! The whole earth is filled with His glory! Worthy is the Lamb to receive honor, and power, and glory!
Sing with me, “Be Unto Your Name”.
To a Jewish reader, the exaltation of the Servant is not anything earth shattering. Their expectation was for the Messiah to come on the scene and conquer everyone, sit on David’s throne, and rule the world. Obviously, this would require His exaltation. It is the next verses that begin to challenge the thinking of Isaiah’s day and on into the time of Christ. Isaiah next speaks of how…

2. The Servant Shall Be Brutalized v. 14

This is where confusion begins for those in Isaiah’s time and even in the time of Christ. “Astonished” is the Greek word שׁמם (šhamem) meaning to tremble, cause to tremble. To be appalled (fear), to be in a state of being struck with dread, fear, or consternation.
Astonished – שׁמם (šhamem)
There seem to be two ideas present here. First, Jesus did not come in the way they expected. The spiritual elite of Jesus’ day were appalled that He would come in the lowly estate He did. They expected a conqueror on a white horse, not a baby in a manger. He will indeed ride in as a conqueror at His second coming, but the infinite first became an infant. The second idea here is that Their disillusionment at how Jesus came is partially what led to His horrific mistreatment. This disfigurement He endured also left them astonished when all was said and done. Isaiah’s description is very clear.
Isaiah’s description is very clear. The Servant would be more marred than anyone ever! Imagine the confusion of those expecting a Messiah to free them from oppression. The Servant will be marred? Isn’t He supposed to conquer? “Marred” is the Hebrew word מִשְׁחַת (miš·ḥǎṯ) meaning deformed; disfigurement. An appearance that has been spoiled or is misshapen.
The Servant would be more marred than anyone ever!
Imagine the confusion of those expecting a Messiah to free them from oppression. The Servant will be marred? Isn’t He supposed to conquer? “Marred” is the Hebrew word מִשְׁחַת (miš·ḥǎṯ) meaning deformed; disfigurement. An appearance that has been spoiled or is misshapen.
Marred – מִשְׁחַת (miš·ḥǎṯ)
The Servant will be marred? Isn’t He supposed to conquer?
Jesus was so abused that His appearance was disfigured and deformed! More than any man! The torture He endured was more extreme than anything that has ever been faced! Alec Motyer writes
Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary i. The Triumph of the Servant (52:13–53:12)

The Servant’s sufferings brought such a disfigurement that those who saw said not only, ‘Is this he?’ but ‘Is this human?’

When we read the accounts in the Gospels, there is little wonder that He was so deformed from His abuse. The mistreatment began after his appearance before the High Priest. Turn to .
Matthew 26:64–67 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.” Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands,
Mark records that after the trial before Pilate, the soldiers scourged him. Turn to .
Mark 15:15–20 NKJV
So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified. Then the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Praetorium, and they called together the whole garrison. And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him. And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.
Luke and John record these same actions. prophesied some of this mistreatment (S).
Struck Him.
Spit on Him.
Isaiah 50:6 NKJV
I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
They struck Him. They spit on Him. They ripped out His beard. They crowned Him with thorns. They mocked Him. They scourged Him. They crucified Him. Oh beloved, marvel with me at the God of all eternity humbling Himself to bear the abuse of His creatures all so that He might reconcile them to the Father. There He stood! The One who formed everything with His Words! The One who spoke time itself into existence! Suffering for my sake and yours. Allowing His body to be brutalized because that’s what was necessary to bring us to Himself.
#67 “The Love Of God” v. 1
Scourged Him.
Part of the reason He was treated so abominably is that He was not what they expected the Messiah to look like! They marred Him more than any many because He was meek and lowly and had no beauty to desire Him. That is going to change. Isaiah goes on to state that…
Part of the reason He was treated so abominably is that He was not what they expected the Messiah to look like! They marred Him more than any many because He was meek and lowly and had no beauty to desire Him. That is going to change. Isaiah goes on to state that…

3. The Servant Shall Be Recognized v. 15

“Sprinkle” is an interesting word. It is most commonly associated with the sprinkling of blood in the sacrificial system. Through the sprinkling of blood the object sprinkled was sanctified. I believe this to be a reference to salvation. Through the shedding of The Servant’s blood people from every tongue, tribe, and nation will be saved! Some translations have “startle” here. Both are legitimate translations of the Hebrew here. Both are true. Nations will be startled by Christ. Startled at His love, startled at His acceptance, startled at the salvation He freely offers! To broaden this just a little bit we could put it this way. There are no people groups, no countries, no times, and no circumstances that are not impacted by Jesus Christ! His blood has a universal reach. Not that all will be saved, but that all are either redeemed or condemned through the blood of Jesus.
Isaiah continues. Kings will be silenced because of Christ! There is nothing they can say in their own defense!
Jesus has paid it all, there is nothing more to be said, nothing more to be done!
We are called to simply believe in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross. The wording of this verse reminds me of (S).
Romans 3:19–20 NKJV
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
The blood of Christ shuts us up. It removes our ability to think we can make it on our own. Christ must be recognized for who He is! We must lay aside our own efforts and our own ideas. The details unrevealed to these kings will be seen and pondered. “Consider” is the Hebrew word בין (biyn) meaning to understand, see; to pay attention, consider, teach, examine. To understand (cognitive) v. — to perceive (an idea or situation) mentally.
Is the “so” here attached to the “so” in v. 14? If that is the case, the point would be that as they marred Him over their astonishment, His sprinkling of the nations will astonish as well?
Consider – בין (biyn)
Sprinkle = Save.
To quote Alec Motyer again
Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary i. The Triumph of the Servant (52:13–53:12)

New truth has come to them, formerly untold, unheard before, but now seen and understood. The next three stanzas of the poem explain what it is.

Startle = Lowly estate.
Though kings and rulers shut their mouths at Christ’s trial’s, they will one day consider all that he has done. Everything they will consider is laid out in ch. 53. In the apostle Paul applies this quote directly to the gospel (S).
Shut mouths because have nothing to say in own defense once His work is done.
Romans 15:20–21 NKJV
And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, but as it is written: “To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand.”
The details unrevealed will be seen.
We are called to preach the gospel to all! As ambassadors for Jesus Christ it is our responsibility to share the gospel to the nations and kings causing them to see and consider the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah! The blood of Jesus Christ has universal reach. All who believe will be saved!
#530 “Saved, Saved!” v. 2
Turn with me to . This is a time for believers to remember the price that was paid. To be reminded of the penalty of sin. Taking part of communion does not save you. This is simply a way for us to be reminded of what Christ has done. If you know the Lord as savior this morning, please join us in bread and juice as we remember Jesus Christ. These are only symbols, they represent the body and blood of our Savior. Examination – verses 26-32


What was unrevealed will be pondered.
The Bread (His Body) vv. 23-24 #531 “Satisfied” (Chorus Only)
Hallelujah I have found Him Whom my soul so long has craved Jesus satisfies my longings Thro' His blood I now am saved
The Cup (His Blood) v. 25 #338 “At Calvary” (Chorus Only)
The Cup (His Blood) v. 25 #338 “At Calvary” (Chorus Only)
Mercy there was great and grace was free Pardon there was multiplied to me There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary


Why? That is the question we must ask. Why did the Servant suffer these things? Why did He endure the Cross? Why did He allow Himself to be marred to the point you couldn’t even identify Him as human? Why did He then cleanse the sin of those who had done this? Why?
This is the only question that truly matters! Why? has the answer (S).
Preaching the Word: Isaiah—God Saves Sinners He Was Repulsive but Redemptive

One solitary man, abandoned, ground into the dirt under our heel, giving to us in return life-transforming purity—it’s the only way lepers like us are healed. Before him we are left in speechless wonder.

Colossians 1:21–22 NKJV
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—
The reconciliation of sinners to Himself. That is why the Servant endured all this. “That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
This will be endured for our sake.
Have you trusted Him?
Are we daily rejoicing in the God of our salvation?
This week:
Meditate with me on the reality that the God of all eternity bore our sin on the Cross to reconcile us to Himself.
Then, ask ourselves, how should we live in light of this sacrifice?
“The Power Of The Cross” vv. 1, 4
Oh to see the dawn of the darkest day Christ on the road to Calvary Tried by sinful men torn and beaten then Nailed to a cross of wood

Chorus 1

This the pow'r of the cross Christ became sin for us Took the blame bore the wrath We stand forgiven at the cross
Oh to see my name written in the wounds For through Your suff'ring I am free Death is crushed to death life is mine to live Won through Your selfless love

Chorus 2

This the pow'r of the cross Son of God slain for us What a love what a cost We stand forgiven at the cross
Isaiah 52:13–53:12 NKJV
Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider. Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 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. 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. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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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