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Janet's Corner

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The Servant Song

Isaiah 52:13-53:


 These fifteen verses are a song of a Servant. They are made up of five matchless stanzas; three verses each, describing the Servant Jesus and what he accomplished for us. These verses are at the heart of the Gospel. The message is that an individual died for the sins of the guilty, so that the guilty might go free. The servant that Isaiah describes is the Messiah and the NT confirms that this Servant-Messiah is Jesus, the Son of God, the Christ. Isaiah 53 is quoted or referred to in the New Testament more than any other chapter in the Old Testament. An OT scholar, Dr. Kyle Yates, calls it the Mount Everest of messianic prophecy – standing out in beauty and grandeur because it reveals Jesus Christ and takes us to Mt. Calvary. Other verses in Isaiah have presented the servant as one with a mission to perform and successfully complete, the difficulty of carrying out his work, and even His suffering, but this is the first time that we are given a reason for his suffering. Let’s identify the reason by looking at these five stanzas in the outline developed by Warren Weirsbe in his commentary on Isaiah.


1. The Shocking Servant: Isaiah 52:13-15

Isaiah identifies the individual he is referring to as “my servant,” (God’s servant). A servant is one who does the will of his master. The phrase, “act wisely,” means that he was successful in his endeavor.  Jesus states in John 17:4 that He finished the work which his Father gave him to do. And the truth of what Jesus successfully accomplishes startles each of us. The song starts with the end of the story of his suffering in 52:13. The one, who suffered and died for us, did not remain dead. He not only was raised from the dead, but his body was glorified. Not only are people who held Jesus in low esteem shocked about his exaltation, they are startled at his suffering, specifically his appearance. The Jerusalem Bible translates verse 14 by saying that Jesus was so disfigure through the suffering he endured, that “he seemed no longer human.” Many were appalled – people turned their face away from him. People are shocked at his message – verse 15. The rulers of the world will see the truth: the innocent dies for the guilty. Not just that Christ died, but Christ died for our sins! The innocent died for the guilty so that the guilty could go free!

2. The Sorrowing Servant: Isaiah 53:1-3

Where we saw the exaltation of the servant in the previous verses, we hear of his humiliation now. No one believed the message of the prophets – including Isaiah. No one recognized the power of God in the man, Jesus, who came as a tender shoot, not a strong tree, who was nothing to look at, no one who could be distinguished by his looks, who ended up being despised and rejected by men. He was nothing special - definitely not a head-turner. Not someone who would catch your attention.

He was a man of sorrows, which means a man who knew physical and emotional pain, and who was familiar with the suffering that goes along with that pain. If you know this man, Jesus, he understands your physical and emotional pain. Hebrews 4:15-16 states that he understands your weaknesses and desires you to draw close to him with confidence so that he can pour his mercy and grace into your life.

Men actually hid their faces from him or as the TLB says here, they “looked the other way when He went by.” He didn’t represent the things that were important to them – wealth, social prestige, reputation, being served by others, pampering themselves Isn’t that the same reasons he is rejected today?.

3. The Smitten Servant: Isaiah 53: 4-6

The innocent man of sorrows became the substitute for our sin. This is the heart of the gospel message. The emphasis is on “our” infirmities, “our transgressions, “our” sorrows, and “our” iniquities. We have gone astray; we have turned to our own ways. We think we can do it without God, just like the Judeans. Jesus did not die because of anything he did, but because of what we have done. He was pierced, crushed, and wounded for us. The word transgression means we have rebelled, daring to cross the line that God has drawn for us. Iniquities refer to the crookedness of our sinful nature – our bent to sin. How has God dealt with our sin? He laid it all on Jesus. A sacrifice had to be made. Not long ago, a pastor described this in a new way for me. So many times we picture ourselves nailing our sins to the cross, but he says we need to nail our evil hearts to the cross. Can you just picture the difference? Jesus loaded down with all our evil hearts – for not one of us has a pure heart – our hearts are wicked! God took our evil hearts on him, so he could give us a new one!! A heart of flesh, not of stone, A heart that would be tender to the things and ways of God, not our own.

What did his beating/death accomplish for us? Verse 5 says his punishment, brought us peace. Maybe you are seeking peace today. Peace from the torment of your sin – past or present. He can heal you with his peace. Come to him - receive him as your Savior – the one that can rescue you! Some of us may have experienced being rescued. Maybe from financial trouble, problems with a spouse or child, an overwhelming work schedule, an argument with a friend or even an illness. But there is nothing like being delivered from your sin Understanding the reason for the death of Jesus Christ can change your life!


4. The Silent Servant: Isaiah 53:7-9

A servant is not allowed to talk back.  They do the will of the master, without protesting.  Jesus was silent before those who accused him and those who afflicted him. His silence when he was illegally condemned and tried was startling! He didn’t open his mouth in protest. How do you do in that area? When there is injustice or cruelty, I have a hard time keeping quiet. Like a lamb taken to slaughter, he didn’t open his mouth. Jesus is the lamb that takes away the sin of the world.

5. The Satisfied Servant: Isaiah 53:10-12

How could Jesus be satisfied? With all the suffering, humiliation, and rejection he experienced? Verse 11 - “He will see the light of life and be satisfied.” That word satisfied means “more than enough.” Jesus had more than enough when he was resurrected, when he saw the light of life!!

Jesus was not a martyr. His death was not an accident. He became the sacrifice for the sin of the world. He did his Father’s will. His father didn’t find enjoyment in seeing his son suffer, but God was pleased that Christ’s obedience accomplished the redemption that He had planned form eternity. His work on the cross brought satisfaction to his father’s heart.

His death – an innocent for the guilty – satisfied the Law of God, which require a sacrifice for sin. There’s a highly respected sermon that is entitled ‘Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” The truth is that sin offends God’ holiness and violates the Law of God. God solved the problem – Jesus died for our sin. By God’s grace the Law of God has been satisfied and God forgives all who will receive His Son.


Donna Partow, a contemporary author and speaker, says, “We all have a testimony as followers of Jesus Christ - a time or a season in our life when we recognized our need for a Savior.” Whether your testimony is a dramatic one or whether your testimony is one of God’s faithfulness to your family in passing on a spiritual inheritance to you, somewhere along the line someone had to take a stand for righteousness. Isn’t it that what we would desire for our children? The scripture says it is a mother’s greatest joy to know that her children walk with the Lord. Rejoice that you encountered the living God, no matter when or how!


This servant. Jesus was shocking, sorrowing, smitten, silent, and yet satisfied. Praise God for His love and faithfulness that caused Him to send His Son to the cross to be your Savior for your sin!


When was the time or a season in your life

when you recognized your need for a Savior?