Texts Isaiah 52: 7-10; 53: 1-12
God the Son laying down His life on the Cross of Calvary is a dilemma for the unbelievers. Even some so-called Christians question this too. The Prophet Isaiah declares, “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Calvary predictions are so amazing that few will believe him (Is 53: 1-2).
In the background study of Easter sent out last week, I argued that there would be no Easter if there had not been a fall in the Garden of Eden, and since the perfectness of God’s creation was tainted by the fall, therefore creation takes on a redemptive trend. Isaiah 52:7-10; 53: 1ff. contains the prophet’s message describing the suffering of Christ with a graphic details of the crucifixion of the Messiah nearly 800 years before it actually occurred. The Prophet presented pivotal points about the Messiah’s death: (1) His suffering, (2) His obedience to God’s will, and (3) the result of His obedience.
First, Isaiah predicted the suffering of the Messiah for the sins of man. Isaiah 52: 14 states that the Messiah would be beaten, bloody, and disfigured.
Second, Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be obedient to God’s will in His suffering. “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Is 53:7). The Apostle John attested to this when he saw Jesus walking toward him, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29)
Third, Isaiah also predicted the result of Christ’s obedience. In verses 10b-12, the Prophet said that the Messiah’s death would assure spiritual life for many, and that the Christ would be resurrected to enjoy the fruits of His sacrifice. Verse 12 reads, “Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
I am aware of the scholarly debates on these texts. Some scholars think that the suffering servant is Israel and her future exaltation. Other had argued that the texts were in direct reference to the Prophet Isaiah own suffering and redemption. But in a careful study of the texts, the most important truth is that the servant would have trouble with his ministry in Israel (Is 49:4). He would be abhorred and despised (Is 49:7); he would be beaten and mocked (Is 50: 6-7). And that in the midst of his suffering, this particular servant will not be discouraged or give up (Is 42:4). He would bring forth justice and salvation to Israel and other nations by being a light and a covenant to them. The servant would establish justice for all the nations but suffer opposition and physical abuse before his eventual vindication and exaltation. This servant, I believe, is Jesus Christ.
Reflecting on this mystery of God becoming man, experienced pain to redeem His creation, Isaiah a wonderful question, “Who has believe [this report?”] (53:1-2). Do you believe in the finished work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary? Isaiah was right by saying that few people will accept this message. It does not make since to the natural man that God became man, suffered, and laid down His life for sinners. – This is a dilemma to the ungodly and Good News to the Christians.