Our Suffering Savior – Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12
The prophecy of Isaiah in the 15 verses cited above provides a vivid portrayal of a coming individual who would suffer tremendously but ultimately be glorified by God Himself. At the giving of the prophecy, the inhabitants of Judah could not envision the identity, or the mission of the individual portrayed. Today, New Testament believers readily identify the individual of this fourth Servant Song as Jesus Christ and comprehend the purpose of His mission.
The closing three verses of chapter 52 provides what appears to be contrasting information about this Servant of God. Although noting that the Servant would act wisely and be exalted, it is also noted that His appearance would be so marred and disfigured that many would find it appalling to look upon Him. Similarly, His sprinkling of nations speaks to His atoning work as a High Priest, which would startle the Kings of nations as their previous ignorance of Christ's mission would be replaced with a new perception and understanding.
The opening six verses of chapter 53 convey the message that there was little that would draw humanity unto Jesus Christ but notes that His purpose in coming was for the benefit of all humanity. There was no physical beauty or majestic status that attracted others to Him for He was hated, despised, and suffered ignominiously at the hands of men surmising that His suffering was the punishment of a just God. However, His suffering was substitutionary for the sinfulness of humanity. He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities and the chastisement of our peace was laid upon Him.
The closing six verses of chapter 53 portrays a Suffering Servant who willingly endured an unjust judgment and an undeserved tragic death for the purpose of bringing salvation to humanity. Amid unjust accusations before the Sanhedrin council and civil authorities (Herod and Pilate), He opened not His mouth in defense of Himself. Although He was crucified between two sinners, God purposed that His burial would be in the tomb owned by a rich man. From the tomb of His burial, he would arise in majestic splendor having borne the iniquities of sinful humanity and re-established fellowship with God for all who would believe in and accept His atoning sacrifice.
No greater love can be exemplified than that of Jesus’ sacrificial death. The unjust and tragic suffering of God’s Only Begotten Son should not just encourage us to worship, but also to live missionally to bring salvation to others. Living missionally for God will undoubtedly require us to suffer in this life. Does your love for others give you a willingness and strength to suffer for the benefit of others?