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The Suffering Sorrowful Servant

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Introduction

[pray]
Father God in Heaven, we praise You and welcome You into our presence. Our One Desire is that You may be glorified in this place today. Father we ask that you forgive our sins against You and against Your Son. Father please show us where we forsake you daily and lead us into repentance. God I ask that you would give me clarity of mind, precision of speech, and a heart for your people who are gathered here today. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
When we think of Old Testament prophecy regarding the Messiah, Bible scholars turn first to . But the song, written by the prophet Isaiah, actually starts at the end of . So I’ve added a point to your outline. This song is a beautiful tribute to the Messiah and it points directly at Jesus Christ and carries us to the Passion of the Christ at Mount Calvary.
The messianic interpretation of was held by Jewish rabbis till the twel

O. He was a Shocking Servant -

This song references the “servant,” whom we interpret to be Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 52:13–15 NASB95
13 Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men. 15 Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand.
We see several things that are surprising about the Messiah here:

His Exaltation

He is highly exalted (v 13), which was surprising to the Pharisees. Even after His death, the Servant was lifted up very high (so says the text). The Pharisees expected a humiliating defeat that would put an end to the rebel from Nazareth. But God saw a great victory taking place. He was raised from the dead. He ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father. He was given great authority.

His Appearance

His appearance (v 14) at His crucifixion was surprising. When the movie, The Passion of the Christ, came out it was given an R rating because of the bloody depictions of our Lord. Many parents refrained from showing it to their young children, and rightly so, because of the graphic depictions of the bruised and bloodied Jesus Christ. I won’t go into graphic detail of this account—even the Gospel writers could not go into great detail—but accounts say that Jesus didn’t even look human by the time they were done with Him on that Friday. The people in the crowd could not even bear to look at Him.

His Message Left Kings Speechless

Paul interpreted this section to point to the gospel message:
Romans 15:20–21 NASB95
20 And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; 21 but as it is written, They who had no news of Him shall see, And they who have not heard shall understand.”
And this gospel message was spread to the Gentiles (aka “they who had no news of him nor had heard”).
The word “sprinkle” here can refer a splash of water, but in some cases it can be translated as “startle” just like you get when you get a splash of water in the face. The connection here is to the sprinkling of the blood, as we see when the blood of the sacrifice is sprinkled on the seat of atonement and sins are forgiven.
1 Peter 1:1–2 NASB95
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
Isaiah 52:15 NASB95
15 Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand.
The word “sprinkle” here can refer a splash of water, but in some cases it can be translated as “startle” just like you get when you get a splash of water in the face. The connection here is to the sprinkling of the blood, as we see when the blood of the sacrifice is sprinkled on the seat of atonement and sins are forgiven.
Since when is the servant considered prosperous? When is the servant exalted and lifted up?
While Jesus startled princes and paupers alike, His message of forgiveness and free access to God is the most shocking message of all time.

I. He was a Man of Sorrows -

Isaiah 53:1–3 NASB95
1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
It is interesting here that this chapter begins with the “arm of the Lord” (v 1) which indicates something powerful and mighty. It immediately moves to the image of the tender shoot growing up in parched ground (v 2). What more tenuous a position could you point to? This is an image of humiliation and weakness. It points to the humanity of Jesus.
Psalm 8:3 NASB95
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
God Used His Hand
Exodus 13:3 NASB95
3 Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the Lord brought you out from this place. And nothing leavened shall be eaten.
God Used His Strong Arm
But in order to save a world full of lost sinners it took His mighty arm.
Romans 1:16 NASB95
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Yet sinners still refuse to believe
John 12:37–40 NASB95
37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.”
John 12:37 NASB95
37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.

The Sorrowful Servant

As I said, the “servant” in this passage is Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah. But why is He sorrowful?
How did people treat servants? They despised Him and put a cheap price on His head. They were waiting for a king, not a servant with no prestige or power. They counted Him for little to nothing. They rejected Him.
Certainly Jesus felt pain in His humanity. Just like all of us, he felt physical pain and emotional pain.
Mark 9:12 NASB95
12 And He said to them, “Elijah does first come and restore all things. And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt?
Israel was both politically and spiritually dry ground when Jesus was born. This tender “root of Jesse” came up in a dry and parched land that was far from God. The Jewish people hoped for a Messiah that would assume the throne of David, son of Jesse. And that will still come to pass. Paul referred to this prophecy in when He pointed to Christ as the “root of Jesse.”
Romans 15:12 NASB95
12 Again Isaiah says, There shall come the root of Jesse, And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, In Him shall the Gentiles hope.”
Romans 15:8–13 NASB95
8 For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, 9 and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles, And I will sing to Your name.” 10 Again he says, Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.” 11 And again, Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, And let all the peoples praise Him.” 12 Again Isaiah says, There shall come the root of Jesse, And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, In Him shall the Gentiles hope.” 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus himself claims this title in ...
Romans 15:
Revelation 22:16 NASB95
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
Certainly the servant, Jesus, witnessed a lot of pain and heartache as His people lived under the oppression of the Roman empire, all while rejecting their God and their Messiah. This certainly caused the Servant much sorrow.
Certainly the servant, Jesus, witnessed a lot of pain and heartache as His people lived under the oppression of the Roman empire, all while rejecting their God and their Messiah.

II. He was Smitten of God - vv 4-6

Isaiah 53:4–6 NASB95
4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

Smitten of God

Smitten is not a word that we use often in today’s language, except perhaps in the context of love. The word “smitten” is actually a derivative of the word smite (I know that helps, right?). “Smitten of God” means that He was struck down by God.

Why Would God Punish the Servant?

The passage makes it clear this this is because of our sin...
He was pierced for our transgressions, which is for our breaking of God’s laws.
He was crushed for our iniquities, which means that we stand guilty before God.
He was scourged, but it brought us healing—not physical healing but spiritual healing and righteousness in God’s eyes.
1 Peter 2:24 NASB95
24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
1 Peter 2:25 NASB95
25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
Because the servant died—Jesus died on the cross in the most horrible way imaginable—so that “the iniquity of us all [would] fall on Him”—that is to say “on the servant.”
Matthew 8:14–17 NASB95
14 When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. 16 When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.”
Matthew 8:17 NASB95
17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.”
John 1:29 NASB95
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
1 Peter 2:24 NASB95
24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
1 Peter 2:25 NASB95
25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
III. He was Silent Before His Oppressors - vv 7-9
John 1:29

III. He was Silent Before His Oppressors - vv 7-9

Isaiah 53:7–9 NASB95
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? 9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
This section focuses on Jesus’ silence before the court officials.

His Silence Before His Accusers

Jesus was not guilty. He had no sin for which He was responsible.
Matthew 27:12 NASB95
12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer.
Mark 15:4–5 NASB95
4 Then Pilate questioned Him again, saying, “Do You not answer? See how many charges they bring against You!” 5 But Jesus made no further answer; so Pilate was amazed.
The trial that Jesus endured was an illegal conviction. He had no sin in Him and had done nothing wrong. The religious leaders of His day turned to false witnesses and lies in order to convict Him and condemn Him to death. But He never made an appeal or even an excuse for Himself. Because He took our sin, He had no defense that could preserve Him from the torture that was to come.
When He was being arrested at the Garden of Gethsemane...
John 18:11 NASB95
11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”
Like a Lamb to Slaughter
Acts 8:32–33 NASB95
32 Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: He was led as a sheep to slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He does not open His mouth. 33In humiliation His judgment was taken away; Who will relate His generation? For His life is removed from the earth.”
The phrase that refers to the sheep going silently
1 John 3:5 NASB95
5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

IV. He was Satisfied in His Anguish - vv 10-12

This section actually flips to God’s point of view rather than the Servant’s...
Isaiah 53:10
Isaiah 53:10–12 NASB95
10 But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. 11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.
Yes the Servant’s death was at the hands of evil men, and they will bear the punishment for their own sin. But the death of Jesus Christ was pre-determined by God...
Acts 2:22–23 NASB95
22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
But the story is not yet over...
Acts 2:24 NASB95
24 “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
Acts 2:25 NASB95
25 “For David says of Him, ‘I saw the Lord always in my presence; For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken.
Jesus was not a martyr, to be mourned forever. His death served a mighty purpose. It served to preserve lives.
And Jesus’ days were not cut short, they were prolonged by His resurrection.
Probably the most shocking fact of the Gospel message is that God would love sinners so much to send His only Son to willingly die a tortuous death on a Roman cross that we might be able to enter freely into His presence without fear of retribution for our sinful lives...
Romans 5:19 NASB95
19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Luke 23:33–34 NASB95
33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
The death of Jesus Christ satisfied the Law that God had established. The penalty for sin HAD to be payed, and the penalty was death...
Romans 3:23 NASB95
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23 NASB95
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The theological term for this is propitiation. It means that “a sacrifice must be made to placate an angry God.”
Sin offends God’s holiness and it violates the law that He laid down. The entire sacrificial system of the Old Testament was built upon propitiation and atonement.
God is also a just God. He is the judge and He must judge sinners.
But God loves those sinners as well. He wants to forgive them. But just wiping away their sins without a price paid, would not satisfy His need for justice.
He solved this conundrum by satisfying the law Himself, with the sacrifice of His own Son.
When we accept Jesus and make Him the Lord of our lives, we obtain justification… This means that God never again keeps a record of our sin. All of our sin has been forgiven if we have accepted and believed upon the name of the Son, Jesus Christ.
Rom 4:
Romans 4:7–8 NASB95
7Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. 8Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”

Conclusion

Romans 4:1–8 NASB95
1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. 8Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”
This is the great Scandal of the Gospel, as Pastor David Platt calls it. “God accepts unacceptable people." God takes shameful people and rebels and guilty people and sinners and He wipes the slate clean. He removes ALL of their sin.
There is a misconception in the world today. There are people walking around who love and respect God. They might even pray to God, but they have never accepted His Son. Why? Because they know that they don’t have it all together. They look at God and know He is good and they look at themselves and know that they are bad. These people think that they aren’t good enough to accept God’s offer. They continue in their lives without repenting of their sin, without taking Jesus as their Lord, without making any change at all because they are afraid of God’s judgment.
But these people don’t know about the scandal of the Gospel. They don’t know that God can take their shame and remove from their account. They don’t know that God doesn’t expect them to have it all together before they come to His throne. They don’t have to come to Him clean in order to get His attention, but come to Him dirty to be made clean.
There is nothing that we can do to make ourselves right before God. The good news is that it is not up to us. The truly Good News is that the servant, Jesus Christ, has already done that for us.
All we have to do is say “Yes, Lord, I accept Jesus and make Him the master of my life.”
Have you done that? Have you accepted Jesus Christ and made Him the Lord of your life?
But we must still turn from our sin.
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