Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the Isaiah passage read by the Ethiopian Eunuch which details the sufferings of the Messiah and their purpose in God's plan of salvation.
[Prayer] Father we turn to thee with thanksgiving for the goodness that thou has shown to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. And we pray that thou will be with us in our studies tonight in this hour, and Lord bless in the studies that follow as well. We commit the evening to thee and pray that it may all renown to thy glory through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
[Message] Tonight we are turning to Isaiah chapter 52 verse 13 through chapter 53 verse 12 and considering the climatic servant of Jehovah passage, and if you’ve been following along with us you’ve notice that since Isaiah forty-two we’ve been looking at passages that set forth the ministry of the suffering servant of Jehovah chapter forty-two, chapter forty-nine, chapter fifty, and then this great section 52:13 through 53:12; for these fifteen verses go together, these are the four outstanding servant of Jehovah passages. It is the opinion of some that chapter sixty-one also ought to be included in the suffering servant of Jehovah prophecies, but since there is difference of opinion over it we will confine our use of the term of suffering servant of Jehovah to these four Psalms as they have been called forty-two, forty-nine, fifty and primarily chapter fifty-three.
Kyle Yates who was for many years professor of biblical Hebrew in Baptist theological seminaries in the South and also in his later years the minister of the Second Baptist Church of the City of Houston, one of the large churches of that city, has referred to this section as the Mount Everest of Messianic prophesies. And on the basis of its large use of the old testament that’s not a bad reference to this particular section, because it would take us a considerable period of our time tonight to look at the places in the New Testament and read them which are references to Isaiah fifty-three. Even direct references and quotations and sections of Isaiah fifty-three or allusions to some parts of this great prophecy. Just to mention a couple of them in order to remind you of them you know that the apostle John after he has set forth the ministry of our Lord in his signs and has reached something of a climax in chapter twelve and then turns to teach the apostles in light of the fact that Israel has rejected him and that he’s going to right hand for the Father. The apostle uses Isaiah chapter 53 in order to set forth the climactic rejection of the lord Jesus Christ by Israel.
Listen for example to John chapter 12 verse 37 and verse 38: “But though he had done so many signs before them, (the apostle says) yet they believe not on him that the saying of Isaiah the Prophet might be fulfilled which he speak, ‘Lord who hath believed our report and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?’” And so John attests the unbelief of the nation by referring to Isaiah chapter 53 and verse 1. He goes on the say, “Therefore they could not believe because that Esaias saith again, ‘he hath blinded there eyes and hardened their heart’”. Now, that of course, is a reference to Isaiah chapter 6. So the apostle John thinks that this section in Isaiah chapter 53 is a section that explains Israel’s rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ and his ministry when he was there in the flesh. Then perhaps if you will remember too that when Philip was called to go out into the desert.
My voice is changing. [Laugher] I think it’s because I’m getting to that stage in life where I’m going back to my childhood voice every now and then so don’t mind. It’s no telling how I will be speaking before long.
Anyway, Acts chapter 8 remember Philip is by the Holy Spirit is asked to minister the word to the Ethiopian? And when Philip draws along side the chariot of the Ethiopian he was returning from Jerusalem and he was reading Esaias the prophet and in verse 29 acts chapter 8 we read:
“Then the Spirit said unto Philip go near and join thyself unto the chariot and Philip ran thither to his and heard him read the prophet Esaias and said, understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, how can I, except some man guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, he was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth.”
[Message] And I’m sure you recognize that as coming from Isaiah chapter 53 and verse 7 and verse 8. So Isaiah and Isaiah chapter 53 is one of the important Messianic passages of the Old Testament. And in fact, this chapter is one of the reasons why the prophet has been called the fifth evangelist.
Mr. Spurgeon use to say if the man of Nazareth, the Son of God, be not right visible in these verses they are dark as midnight itself. So tonight rather than dealing with the five strophes, for there are five strophes in five messages, you can get an exposition of the five strophes, in five messages, in our tape ministry if you’re interested. I’d like to take all of the prophecy of the suffering servant of Jehovah tonight in now forty minutes.
There are five stanzas in this prophecy and it’s helpful to remember that because it will enable you to follow the train of thought that much better. And furthermore, each one of these strophes or poetic divisions for it is a poem, Hebrew poetry. Each of these division is composed of three verses apiece, chapter 52 verses 13, 14 and 15; and then chapter 53:1-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. And probably you may have noticed this that as this prophecy unfolds and as these strophes are written by the prophet in his Hebrew poetic from these strophes increase in size and content. Notice the lengthy material contained in verse ten, eleven and twelve. Just take a look at the number of lines you your bible to record this last strophe. It’s almost as if the thought as it sweeps on towards its climax becomes fuller and there is an almost irresistible volume of truth that the prophet pours out as he unfolds the ministry of the suffering servant of Jehovah.
And one other thing may help you in reading this great prophecy. It really is probably the greatest prophecy of the Old Testament. Another thing that will help you is to just bear in mind the fact that the first clause of each one of these strophes is something of a summary of the content of each of the strophes. For example, in verse 13 of chapter 52 we read: “Behold my servant shall deal prudently.” And the rest of that strophe is an exposition of the wise dealing of the suffering servant of Jehovah.
And then in chapter 53 verse 1-3 in the second strophe the first statement is and it’s in the form of a question really, “Who hath believed our report?” And so if the suffering servant successful is the them of the first strophe this one is the suffering servant misunderstood. And then in verse four through verse six the first few words are “Surely he hath born our grief’s.” And the ideal of substitution becomes very prominent here and so the suffering Messiah or servant substitutionary is the theme of the third strophe.
In verse 7, we read: “He was oppressed and he was afflicted yet he opened not his mouth.” Stressing the submissiveness of the servant and that’s the theme of the fourth of the strophes, the suffering servant submissive.
And finally, and it’s a little difficult to decide upon the right way to title this last one. If you hit upon something better than my title for it I would appreciate it and I will be glad to change mine because my title is not inspired. Almost so but not really inspired.
The last three verses, the last strophe, set forth the suffering Messiah as purposed or foreordained by God and we read in verse ten in the theme statement, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him.”
So with this in mind as a brief introduction, let’s turn to these five strophes now, and we’ll look first to Paul at stanza one or strophe one, the suffering Messiah successful. Nietzsche the great German philosopher once said success has always been a great liar; he said that in his book, The Genealogy of Morals. Well, that is both true and false of our Lord Jesus Christ if of course, you base his success upon outward things then by the world’s standards he was very unsuccessful because he was crucified. Very few people responded to his teaching, relatively speaking. He actually preached to hundreds and hundreds perhaps thousands but he left a very small company of believers when the died. In fact, he called them the little flock. The Apostle Paul makes reference to five hundred to whom he appeared. A relatively small number. A little bit less than the number that appears at Believers Chapel on Sunday morning so it was not a great, what shall I say a great outpouring of the blessing of God upon the ministry of our Lord as far as numbers were concerned. But, on the other hand, he was extremely successful because out of the ministry that he performed though unrecognized and unappreciated by the great mass of the people, have come down through years the salvation of all of the saints of God, and upon it was based the salvation of all of the saints of Old Testament time; and in fact, when the great multitudes enter heaven from every tribe, kindred, tongue, and nation a great multitude that no man can number it will all be traceable to the ministry the Lord Jesus performed in those few years that he was here upon the earth. This success of his is related to his resurrection, to his ascension, and to his session; and it is unfolded in the stages of humiliation, his earthly ministry, and his First Advent and then his exaltation at his second advent.
There is also incidentally a remarkable parallel between the five strophes and the five offerings of the book of Leviticus. Remember those offerings? If you begin reading the book of Leviticus in the first chapter you have the burnt offering which sets him forth as an obedient servant. And then the meal offering which looks primarily at his character the perfect meal. Then the peace offering which looks at the reconciliation that the offering provides. Then the sin offering and finally the trespass offering also an aspect of the sin offering so these five offerings suggest the same themes that we find here in the five strophes of Isaiah chapter 53. If that is true, then this is the burnt offering and we’re not surprised then to find that characteristic of the Lord Jesus Christ is his perfect obedience.
Now, looking at the verses and let me read the three verses beginning with verse 13 of chapter 52:
“Behold my servant shall deal prudently he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man and his form more than the son’s of men: so shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them they shall see; and that which they have not heard shall they consider.”
[Message] Now, I’d like in just a brief time that we have to center attention on just a couple of points. Notice the second part of verse 13: “He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.” Those three words in the Hebrew text are words that are very suitable for the resurrection, for the ascension, and for the session of our Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t have time to talk about he philology of it you’ll just have to take my word for it. This expression, he shall be exalted, he shall be extolled or lifted up, and he shall be very high; beautifully comport with resurrection, ascension, and session at the right hand of the Father. Literally, those words mean he shall be raised, he shall be lifted up, and he shall be very high. And so the ideal of resurrection, ascension, and session at the right hand of the Father may well be conveyed by those three verbs.
Incidentally, Hebrew scholars have debated this and a number of well known ones have insisted that that is absolutely the point of the prophet, he is seeking to show his exaltation and in his resurrection, and ascension, and session we have that; and those are things that were characteristic of his first coming.
Then the remainder of this strophe refers to his success related to his second coming. And the word “as” in verse 14 is related to the word “so” in verse 15. “Just as many were astonished at thee (and now the next words are something of a parenthesis) his visage was so marred more than any man and his form more than the sons of men.” Reflective perhaps of the personal physical sufferings that our Lord endured. So just as many were astonished at thee in the first coming so shall he sprinkle many nations, kings shall shut their mouths at him, they shall be astonished at his second coming for that which hath not been told them they shall see and that which they have not heard shall they consider. So just as men were astonished at his first coming so shall they be astonished at his second coming by the fact that at the second coming he will come from heaven and establish order upon the face of the earth.
Now, there’s one final little point some of you may have some versions such as the Revised Standard Version or perhaps another version. And instead of sprinkle in verse 15 you have in your text startled or perhaps if you have a version that says sprinkle you have a marginal not that says startled. In the Septuagint or the Greek translation of the Old Testament made long before the time of our Lord the word in the Greek text is startled. And that, many feel is the meaning of the Hebrew word here too. I have a bit of question about that I think that probably sprinkle is correct, the other may be correct. But if the other is startled, I mean if the meaning is startle, then of course, we have an interesting comparison, just as many were astonished at thee in the first coming so shall he startle many nations in his second coming. Then men shall finally see what the Lord Jesus Christ really is in his person and in his work. So the first three verses then of the five strophes chapter 52 verse 13 chapter 53 verse 15 so Elder Pryor can catch up with us, those have to do with Messiah successful.
Now, let’s turn to the second strophe verse 1 through verse 3 of chapter 53, here we have the suffering servant or the suffering Messiah misunderstood. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote an essay on self-reliance. If I remember correctly that was one of the essays I had to read in high school, it didn’t mean a thing to me then. And don’t think for one moment that I remember this statement that he made from my days in high school, I don’t. Since then I have read it, however, he said in that essay on self-reliance, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” Well, that was true of our Lord, I’m sure, however that’s not the only quality of greatness to be misunderstood. Many people are properly misunderstood, they cannot say a sentence straight and so therefore they’re misunderstood. But he was speaking about he fact that great men generally have thoughts that are above the understanding of us who are common people.
Well, it certainly was true of our Lord his message was not understood for the simple reason that men are sinners and their minds are blinded their wills are rebellious against God and their emotions are corrupt. Or to put it in other words, doctrinally we are depraved. And because we are depraved we cannot understand divine truth.
Notice, verse 53 and let me read these three verses first:
“Who hath believed our report and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground he hath no form or comeliness and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief and we hid as it were our faces from him. He was despised and we esteemed him not.”
[Message] Who hath believed our report and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
Now, there is one thing that we must understand here if we are to understand everything in this prophecy and it is this: This is the language of people who have understood their mistake. Notice, how it is put, who believed our report, to whom was the arm of the Lord revealed? He was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief; we hid as it were our faces from him. So in other words if you just looked at these words as they are in the Authorized Version, you would realize that this is a confession of a people who knew something about him but did not respond properly when they had an opportunity. This becomes even more evident when you look at this in the Hebrew text. All of the verbs from about verse two through verse nine are in past time and if you have very literal version of the book of Isaiah you will discover that the Hebrew scholars have generally speaking rendered these verbs in past time. He grew up before him as a tender plant as a root out of dry ground, he had no form nor comeliness and when we saw him there was no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected of men a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief and we hid as it were or faces from him he was despised and we esteemed him not. So here is a people who is through the prophet expressing their faith now in him but confessing the fact that they did not have faith in him when they saw him, therefore, these words in Isaiah chapter 53 are the confession of redeemed people.
Now, since they’re looking back at the time that he was here, it’s most likely that they are looking back from the time of the future when they have had a chance to see all of the things that have happened with reference to him; and they are making confession at his second advent of how they had treated him in his first advent. In other words, it’s the confession of the future redeemed remnant of the nation as they lament their rejection of him in his first coming now that they’ve come to understand really who he is and what he did when he was here.
Now, we know in Zechariah chapter 12 and verse 10 the prophet Zechariah speaking if this same servant of Jehovah says in the tenth verse of the twelfth chapter:
“I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplications (that’s efficacious grace) in the future I will pour upon them the spirit of grace and supplications and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for him.”
[Message] Now, you often wonder; well, what will they say when they realize what they have done? Think of it, the nation as a nation. Zechariah says in another place, a nation is born again in a day. So what will they say when they realize what they did as a nation at his first coming. Well, I just suggest to you, it’s only a suggestion that what they will say is what they are saying here through the prophet Isaiah. In other words, Isaiah 53 is the lament of the generation that shall be alive when our Lord comes and is transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit at his second advent, and we are reading the confession then of the remnant of the future.
Now, having said that and only made that suggestion I’d like for you to think about it and ponder it as you read it. I’ve read this chapter now for many many hears and I am still convinced that that is the best explanation of the meaning of these verses. But let’s notice one or two principles before we go on. Notice, who hath believed our report and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? Now, there is a great deal of emphasis to be placed upon that word revealed. It let’s us know this important fact, the plainest teaching, the most earnest delivery of the truth of God in the Holy Spirit; as our Lord did, for he gave the plainest teaching; no one ever gave the gospel more plainly and accurately than he; no one ever gave it in the proper spirit in which it should be given more than he; is not sufficient for the understanding of depraved me. To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? In other words, the activity of the Holy Spirit is needed; it’s not simply the word of God, but it is the word of God as wielded by the Holy Spirit that leads to understanding.
So right here they’re confessing the depravity of human nature and they’re confessing also of the necessity of the illumination of the Holy Spirit. And the prior illumination of the Holy Spirit, in other words, they are confessing their faith Calvinistically. Now, that word is not in the chapter of course, you understand Calvinistically, but it’s just written there as plain as you can see in my bible because it says that salvation begins with God. The Spirit of grace and supplications is poured out upon them they, see the Lord Jesus Christ, they also see the things that they rejected in his teaching previously and by the grace of God they’ve come to understand. We cannot understand until the arm of the Lord has revealed the truth to us.
Now, then the third stanza follows in verse 4 though verse 6 and here the stress rest upon the suffering servant in his substitutionary work. And notice the emphasis upon these verses upon, our, we, us. Ten times I counted references made to the first person plural, our, we, us. So our prophet giving the words of the remnant of the future is laying great stress upon the fact that they have come to understand his substitutionary atonement; they see that now. The climax is verse 6: “All we like sheep have gone astray and every one to his own way and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Now, they are talking about activity of the Lord Jesus Christ as t he substitutionary sacrifice. Substitutionary sacrifice is the greatest evidence of all for the special application of the atonement of the Lord Jesus. He died for the people of God; us, our, we, and his ministry is in its effectuality limited to them. Sufficient for the sins of the world; efficient for the elect and they confess that. And this great figure laid on him the iniquity of us all should not be passed by without comment. That’s one of the strongest figures in Hebrew. It really means something like caused to fall upon. Verse 6: “The Lord has caused to fall upon him the iniquity of us all.” It’s the word that was used in 2 Samuel chapter 1 and verse 15 when a man falls upon another man to slay him. That’s the same word; causes to fall upon him the iniquity of us all. So it’s not a mild figure it’s a violent figure and all of the dark clouds, and the lightning flashes and the thunder claps are brought together in one concentrated tempest of judgment on the Lord Jesus Christ himself as he becomes the substitutionary sacrifice for the people of God. And at the moment when he cried out, “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me that was the moment that he became the substitutionary sacrifice for my sin. Hallelujah, for my sin hallelujah he gave himself for it. Therefore, heaven has no further ground upon which it may punish me. My sins have been born in my substitute and I am free, I have the forgiveness of sins, justification of life, a member of the family of God and all of the blessings that go along with that.
Jay Gresham Machen was one of the great theologians of the last generation. He had some interesting words to say about the cross of Christ and the necessity of preaching the biblical doctrine of the cross. He comments on the fact that there are lots of hymns of the cross for example: “Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee, e’en though it be a cross that raiseth me.” Machen says that’s a perfectly good hymn it means that our trials may be a discipline to bring us nearer to God the thoughts not opposed to Christianity it’s found in the New Testament, we are to take up our cross and follow him. But he says the cross here is not Christ’s cross it’s the believer’s cross. And he goes on to say it’s sad of course, that those who were on the Titanic only had this hymn of the cross to reflect upon, because it’s not Christ’s cross but it’s the believer’s cross that is expressed by that hymn. He said there’s really a better hymn, and this one is: “In the cross of Christ I glory towering o’er the wrecks of time all the light of sacred story gathers round it’s head sublime. He said that’s certainly better to have a hymn like that, because here it’s not our cross it’s the cross of Christ that we are singing about. And incidentally he doesn’t say this, but as you may know this hymn was written by a Unitarian and not a Christian at all. “In the cross of Christ I glory,” magnificent thought, “all the light of sacred story all around its head sublime.” Even Unitarians can mouth things that are true even though they don’t understand the fullness of the truth contained in it. But Machen said in words I think that are very very good; he said, “In this hymn, the cross is celebrated but it’s not understood.” Celebrated but not understood.
There are lots of people who wear crosses around their neck and if you ask them what does that cross mean? They can not really give you any kind of doctrine at all. They don’t really know what it means. It’s a sentimental momental that they hang around their necks that doesn’t save anyone of course.
It always reminds me of people who say about he atonement it’s not so important that we have a theory of the atonement as that we understand that there is the fact of the atonement. Well, of course, if that’s all you have its good to know that there is the atonement as a fact. But to know that atonement is a fact it’s not necessary to have the benefits of the atonement. I like what Warfield said, he said, “What after all is peculiar to Christianity? It’s not the religious sentiment in it’s working but its message of salvation – in a word its doctrine. To be indifferent to doctrine is thus but another way of saying say we are indifferent to Christianity. A fact, without doctrine is simply a fact not understood.” Let me say it again, a fact without doctrine is simply a fact not understood. It’s not enough for us to say there has been an atonement made, but we need to understand the atonement.
Christianity consists not merely in Jesus Christ, but in the Jesus Christ that the apostles give to us in their writings. That’s why we stress doctrine. We really don’t have Christ until we understand him. It’s not enough to say that Jesus Christ is a fact of history or that there is an atonement but we need to understand Christ in the way that the apostles preached him and we need to understand the atonement in the way in which it is explained in the Holy Scriptures.
So all we like sheep have gone astray we’ve turned everyone to his own way and the Lord hath caused to light upon him the iniquity of us all. Magnificent thought substitutionary atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no greater word expressive of the truth than substitution. That’s why Arminians don’t like the term substitution because it strikes at the heart of all of their teaching. Because what they teach is that he offered a substitutionary atonement that does not really substitute for people and so they tend to avoid the term. Read Arminian theologies and you will see it. It’s better of course, to talk about it even if you don’t understand it. A number of people do. But it’s much better to talk about it and understand it and I hope that you understand it.
Now, the fourth stanza is the suffering servant submission, verse 7 through verse 9, let’s read these verses:
“He was oppressed and he was afflicted yet he opened not his mouth he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearer’s is done so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment and who shall declare his generation for he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people was he stricken and he made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death.”
Now, this word “because” I don’t know how it’s rendered it the New American Standard Bible I did not look it up again this afternoon as I was thinking about this message, but this word translated “because” here probably should be rendered by “although” so we’ll render it that way. “He made his grave with the wicked but yet he was with the rich in his death, although he had done no violence neither was any deceit in his mouth.”
This is the triumph of silence. You notice how our Lord reacts? He was oppressed, he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. Now, do you think that’s human? That’s almost unlike humanity. Think of the Old Testament. Think of David. Take David the great writer of the Psalms of the Old Testament. Did David act like the greater than David? He was oppressed, he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth? No. David complained and complained about his enemies, his adversaries, and those that were persecuting him. Read about the prophets, Jeremiah, the rest of the prophets, they talk about the way they’re treated and they complain, they keep complaining. Read them, the Old Testament is full of the complaints of godly men. Now, I don’t say that they should not be recorded in Holy Scripture I just say that in the case of our Lord we have something higher. We have an individual who was mistreated, who was persecuted, who had adversaries galore and who had one who sat at the table with him and took of the food and then betrayed him. Having lived with him, listened to him had the Lord Jesus minister to him for three years and then in one of the most diabolical acts of human history betrayed him to the rulers and leaders in Israel.
But does our Lord complain? No; he doesn’t complain. He states the facts, he says one of you sitting at this table with me shall betray me and he said the Son of Man goes as it stands written concerning him, but woe to that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed. But here is not complaint to men. That which could be called a complaint is the statement that he makes on the cross to my mind is a word out of his human nature asking for explanation. “My God, my God why hast though forsaken me.” And it’s evident that if we compare that with Gethsemane, “Oh may Father if it be possible let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” That he was submissive even then, as Peter writes in 1 Peter chapter 2, he delivered himself over to him that judgeth righteously, the suffering servant submissive.
And finally, now in the last three verses the last strophe we have these words: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him he has put him to grief when though shall 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 is not a frustrated deity. Do we see that? He is not a frustrated deity. And in that we have the difference between the sovereign grace of God and all of those systems of theology that limit the sovereign grace of God.
“He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand he shall see of the travail of his soul and he shall be satisfied. By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore, because of what he has done I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors and he bear the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.”
One can see from this that this is designed to answer the question that might have arisen in the minds of people. The servant has died a premature and violent death; did not his Father finally forsake him? One could easily see how that might arise in connection with our Lord. That must have played with the minds of the Emmaus disciples for as they made their way from Jerusalem out to Emmaus they were saying things like: “We hoped that it should have been him who would redeemed Israel.” They were discourage they were defeated. As I’ve often said the greatest discouragement that a man can have in the Christian faith is discouragement with Jesus Christ. And they had a good case of it. And so it would be natural for them to say: “God finally deserted, our head, Jesus of Nazareth.” And this part of the prophecy is designed to show that that is not true. It pleased the Lord to bruise him. This was a foreordained work of the suffering servant of Jehovah as the servant prayed in the words of Psalm 22, “Though hast brought me into the dust of death.” verse 15 of Psalm 22 that great Messianic Psalm.
So the death of Jesus Christ was a voluntary death on his part, it was a death that was produced by the enemies of the Lord and satan who cooperated; but ultimately it was the good pleasure of the Father that the Son should give himself an atoning sacrifice, in order that the people of God might be ready. An eternal covenant of redemption was being ratified in the blood of Christ when the Lord Jesus Christ suffered.
That last expression made intercession for the transgressors is probably a reference to Luke chapter 23 and verse 34; we don’t have time to talk about it. I’d like for you simply to note that in verse 11 we read: “He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied and by his knowledge (or by the knowledge of him) shall by righteous servant justify many.” So through the knowledge of the Son of God who is the suffering servant of Jehovah who is offering the atoning substitutionary sacrifice many shall be justified; declared righteous or as William Cunningham remember said, “The righteousness of God is the righteousness that his righteousness requires him to require.” And that’s what we have in the work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, when you conclude the chapter you might be inclined to ask a question, since we look back with such a full understanding of who it is, who is this that haunts this chapter? We hear of him; he doesn’t speak. We see his face, we see the faces of individuals whom he startles or sprinkles, but himself we do not see, who was he? What was his name or as someone reading it in the days of Isaiah might have thought, who is this individual and what will be his name?
Now, when we come over into the Old Testament times and the Lord Jesus is gathering his disciples to himself, you remember what Philip said? Philip said that when he had come into contact with the Lord Jesus through Simon Peter he said, “We have found him of whom Moses and the Law and the Prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth the son of Joseph.
That’s the one of whom this great prophecy is written our Lord Jesus Christ.
If you are here tonight and you have never believed in the Lord Jesus, we invite you to put your trust by the grace of God in him. That same principle operates in the salvation of every individual. May the Spirit of grace and supplications be poured out upon you and may you sense your lost condition and may you turn to him who has offered a substitutionary sacrifice for sinners and may you receive him as a free gift. Come to Christ. Tuesday night’s a good time to come to him too. Come to Christ believe in him give yourself to him for time and for eternity.
Let’s bow together in a closing word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father we are grateful to thee for this magnificent prophecy which we have only touched. We pray that it’s the essence of his teaching may grip us and move us and in our lives and in our associations Lord enable us to fruitfully represent him, deliver us from cowardice and fear and help us to be bold in the proclamation of the good news concerning him. Deliver us from any sense of shame over doctrines…
[TAPE ENDS ABRUPTLY]