The Suffering Servant

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, and Pastor Jonny Day preached Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (you can read the text at the bottom of the post). Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter and is traditionally a time when the church celebrates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem as he was on his way to die on the cross. When he entered the city crowds were shouting, "Hosanna!" and waving palm branches as he passed by. Just a few days later the crowds were demanding that he be crucified. 

We celebrated Palm Sunday by looking at an Old Testament passage about God's coming Servant: Jesus. These passage is broken up into 5 stanzas with 3 verses each.

The first part in 53:13-15 talks about the Servant's mission. God promises that he will be successful is what he's sent out to do, even though men will look at him and be shocked that this lowly man was sent by God. The most shocking part, though, is that his will bring salvation for many nations. 

The second section is 53:1-3 is about the Servant's suffering. When he came, he was a "man of sorrows," that was well acquainted with suffering. No one looked at him and thought he was a stud of a person! It's becoming increasingly shocking that this servant was sent by God to accomplish the salvation of the world. 

The third section is central to the text, and it's found in 53:4-6. It highlights the Servant's substitution. We find that all of his suffering, punishment, and death was really ours. He came to substitute himself in our place and take what we deserved so that we could have peace with God. When we look at the servant and see his lowliness, his suffering, and his death we should see ourselves in him! 

Fourth, we see the Servant's willingness in 53:7-9. He laid his life down without any objection. He was silent, and innocent as he was unfairly put to death. But it took his willing sacrifice to perfectly pay for our willing sin against God. 

Last, we see the Servant's victory in 53:10-12. His death pleases God because it brings salvation to the nations. He couldn't stay dead because he was perfectly innocent and didn't deserve death! So this servant takes away the negative of our punishment and provides the positive of his righteousness so that we can stand in God's presence. 

Jesus is the suffering servant who was sent by God to bring salvation to the nations! 


Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Behold, my servant shall act wisely; 

he shall be high and lifted up, 

and shall be exalted. 

As many were astonished at you— 

his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, 

and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— 

so shall he sprinkle many nations. 

Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, 

for that which has not been told them they see, 

and that which they have not heard they understand. 

Who has believed what he has heard from us? 

And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 

For he grew up before him like a young plant, 

and like a root out of dry ground; 

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, 

and no beauty that we should desire him. 

He was despised and rejected by men, 

a man of sorrows  and acquainted with grief; 

and as one from whom men hide their faces 

he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 

Surely he has borne our griefs 

and carried our sorrows; 

yet we esteemed him stricken, 

smitten by God, and afflicted. 

But he was pierced for our transgressions; 

he was crushed for our iniquities; 

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, 

and with his wounds 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; 

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, 

and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, 

so he opened not his mouth. 

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, 

stricken for the transgression of my people? 

And they made his grave with the wicked 

and with a rich man in his death, 

although he had done no violence, 

and there was no deceit in his mouth. 

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; 

he has put him to grief; 

when his soul makes an offering for guilt, 

he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; 

the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; 

by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, 

make many to be accounted righteous, 

and he shall bear their iniquities. 

Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, 

and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, 

because he poured out his soul to death 

and was numbered with the transgressors; 

yet he bore the sin of many, 

and makes intercession for the transgressors. 

Jonny Day