Course: Servant Leadership
The Suffering Servant by Clark Van Wick
Lord, how thankful we are for the Word which is the bread of life for us; to nourish us, to sustain us, to strengthen us. Lord, today we simply come worshiping You in spirit and in truth, setting aside all of the cares and concerns of the day, for there are many. And we simply, with one heart and one mind, turn toward You to learn of You in order that we would become more like You. That is the prayer of our hearts, to simply become more like You. We so desperately need You and how thankful we are that we can come as the Ohana, the family, with one heart and one mind, in Jesus' name we pray. And all of God's people said, "Amen."
Let's open our Bibles to Isaiah 53. You will recall that chapters 49-57 in Isaiah deal with the Lord's servant, which of course speaks of Messiah. It is pointing to Jesus Christ as the Lord's Servant, the Lord's Deliverer, or the Lord's Redeemer. And in chapter 52, Isaiah had encouraged the southern kingdom of Judah to be strong, knowing that eventually they would be released from Babylonian captivity; though that was more than one hundred years into the future from the time of this prophecy.
Well, the end of their captivity is spoken of in Isaiah 52:13-15, which really belongs to chapter 53 because in verses 13-15 Isaiah points to the Suffering Servant. And when Messiah would come, He would come in humility; it says that He would suffer horribly and be rejected by many. Of course, the nation of Israel did not believe anything about that as it pertains to Messiah. They were not looking for a Suffering Servant to come on to the scene; they were looking for a conquering king. They were not looking for a Messiah that was to be humble and lowly, but one that was to be mighty and powerful. They were not looking for a Messiah to deliver them from the bondage of sin, but from the bondage of captivity.
And therefore, Isaiah begins chapter 53 with this question: "Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" That is a good question, Isaiah. Who has believed our report, who has believed the prophets who had prophesied of the Messiah that He would come lowly, that He would come humbly, that He would suffer horribly? Who has believed these reports? Well, the answer is: very few! In fact, the nation of Israel as a whole did not believe that Messiah would suffer. They did not believe that He would come lowly, riding on a donkey like Zechariah 9:9 declares. They could not believe that He would be born in a little town called Bethlehem there in Micah 5:2. And what an incredible picture that must have been for the children of Israel--the picture that Messiah was to come, not on a white horse, but on a little grey donkey.
Turn with me if you would to John 12. It is interesting even to this very day that there are those who do not believe this very report which Isaiah is proclaiming. In fact, if you go to synagogues today (either here in the States or in Israel) when they read the law and they read from the prophets, they always skip through Isaiah 53. They do not read that chapter because to this day they still do not believe that Messiah was to suffer. They do not believe He was to be bruised and pierced and die a horribly tragic death.
It is interesting that next month we will be in Israel and we always stop at a place called the Shrine of the Book. It is a very beautiful structure; it is shaped like a clay jar. Now, this building that is shaped like a clay jar houses what is called the "Dead Sea Scrolls." And I remember asking Ronnie, our tour guide on one tour, "Ronnie, you know as well as I do that when the Jews get together and have synagogue, they read from the law and the prophets. What do they do when they come to Isaiah 53?" He said, "Well, you know as well as I do, Clark, they do not read it because they believe that it was actually inserted by the Christians."
And the Jews have believed that for a long, long time--right up until 1947. You see, in 1947 this little shepherd boy had lost his sheep down near the caves of Qumran--where we will be next month. And there in one of the caves, as he was throwing a rock into the cave to see if his little sheep had fallen down the shaft, he heard a "clink." So, he threw another rock and he heard another "clink." Well, the clinking was off of a clay pot. Suffice it to say, the scrolls that were found in these clay pots contained virtually all of the Old Testament written in them, including--you guessed it--Isaiah 53. This substantiated that this was part of the Jewish Tanakh, the Old Testament, validating, confirming that Messiah was to suffer; that Messiah was to be bruised, rejected, pierced, and that He was to be cut off from the land of the living.
Even though Isaiah 53:1 says, "the arm of the Lord was revealed," it speaks of His power and His might. We are going to look at John 12 in a moment. The arm of the Lord has been revealed. It speaks of His power and His strength. It speaks of His glory, as even the Psalmist declares in Psalm 19:1, that: "The heavens declare His glory and the firmaments shows forth His handiwork day unto day, utters speech night unto night." By the way, Paul made that declaration in Romans 1:20. He said that all of the invisible attributes of God are clearly seen in creation. Even His Godhead and His power--everything about God--is displayed in you and me as His creation and in the creation itself. "Know that the arm of the Lord has been revealed," but there are those who would not believed.
Who has believed this report? Well, take a look at John 12:37-41.
37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,
38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:
"Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?" [There is our verse again.]
39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:
40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them."
41 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.
Jesus Christ came on to the scene and He did mighty works and signs. The arm of the Lord was revealed through Christ and all that He did. And yet, they did not believe. Why? It is because Isaiah had made the prophecy that they would reject the ministry of Messiah, which is His suffering and death on the cross for you and for me. And like the children of Israel, there are many people today who will not believe. Even though the signs and wonders abound, even though some three hundred plus prophecies of Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus, they still will not believe. They have hardened their hearts against the Lord.
I do believe that there comes a time when our hearts are so hardened against God that He finally says: "Okay, fine. If that is how you want it that is how you've got it." Genesis 6:3 says, "God's Spirit will not always strive with man." There will come a point when "God will turn us over to a reprobate mind"--Romans 1:28 is very clear. And this should be a wake up call for any and all who have rejected the Messiah as Christ.
Back to Isaiah 53. This is an incredible portion of Scripture. It is only twelve verses, but here we have the gospel message laid out beautifully. And what Isaiah does in verses 2-12, is deal with many areas and many aspects of the Messiah. I have listed nine of them found in these 12 verses. There are nine things that we want to look at that pertain to the Suffering Servant--that is to Messiah Himself--Jesus, the Christ.
The first thing that Isaiah mentions is His humility. Take a look at the beginning of verse 2 which says: "For He shall grow up before Him [speaking of God] as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground." So the first thing he mentions regarding Messiah is His humility. Now this is something the Jews could hardly stand. "Are you kidding me, Messiah is going to come in humility? He is going to come lowly?" Well, that is what this speaks of; it says that He is going to grow up as a tender plant. This is a plant that is fragile, a plant that is delicate and not a hardy tree like a cypress or the cedar of Lebanon. This is not referring to a strong oak tree, but a tender little plant, one that is pliable or bendable. And he says that He is going to be a root out of dry ground.
Now, the dry ground speaks of that which is parched, that which is arid. And plants do not grow up big and healthy in dry ground. They grow small and weak and sad and pathetic we might say. And all of that points to His humility. That is what Paul said in Philippians 2:6 (NKJV). He is talking about Christ:
6 Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
This would have amazed the Jews. The Messiah was going to come humbly as we have already seen in Zechariah 9:9. He was to come lowly, riding on the donkey, the foal of a donkey. They were expecting the Messiah to come with a sword in one hand, riding on a white horse to liberate them from the bondage of the Babylonian and Assyrian onslaught. Make no mistake about it; Jesus Christ will come back with a sword and on a white horse one day. But that was not at His first coming; that will be His second coming. He came first in humility.
Number two, the second thing he mentions about Messiah is not only His humility, but His appearance. Look at verse 2 again, in the middle of the verse we read:
He [Messiah, Yeshua, Jesus] has no form [or stately form] or comeliness; [which we would translate splendor]
And when we see Him, there is no beauty [or the word literally is appearance, there is no beautiful appearance] that we should desire Him.
So, the second thing he mentions about Messiah is His appearance. When Messiah comes, Isaiah is proclaiming that He is not going to be wearing kingly robes; He is not going to be wearing beautiful garments. He is not going to have a royal appearance, as a stately prince or a stately king would come onto the scene with glamour and the hype and hoopla. In fact, look back at Isaiah 52:14,
Just as many were astonished at you,
So His visage [His appearance] was marred more than any man,
And His form more than the sons of men;
So, His appearance is going to be grotesque; it is going to be ugly we might say. It is not going to have any beauty or any stateliness or anything wonderful about it. And as we read the gospel accounts, as we read about our Lord, Jesus Christ, they of course beat Him, and scourged Him repeatedly. They smote Him in the face; they plucked out the hair of His beard. I would image the site was too horrific to look at.
I always find this interesting because I have seen pictures that have been painted of Jesus Christ and so have you, and He always looks very handsome, kind of rugged and tan, but with a gentle calmness about His demeanor. I always find that interesting because that is not what the Bible says about Jesus. His visage was marred more than any man. "He had no comeliness that we should behold Him." His appearance was that of repulsion; in fact, I think it is very interesting (in light of all eternity) that He will remain the same.
You see, when John the revelator was there on Patmos in Revelation 5:6, he said that he saw "Jesus Christ, the Lamb as though He was slain." And I find that interesting because when we get to heaven, I personally believe (this is my own personal belief) that Jesus is still going to bear the scars, bear the marks that He bore for you and He bore for me. Why? Because you will remember after the resurrection in John 20, Thomas would not believe that Jesus rose from the dead. He said, "Unless I put my hands in the nail prints of His hand and my hand into the side where He was pierced, I will not believe." In John 20 Jesus appeared to them in that upper room. He said, "Thomas, touch; put your hand in my hand; put your hand in my side so that you may believe." I believe His scars are going to be for all of eternity as a memorial, a testimony to you and to me of His great love for each and every one of us. And so, Isaiah deals with His appearance.
Number three, Isaiah deals with His sorrow and His grief. Take a look at verse 3,
He [Messiah, Jesus Christ] is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Because He was despised, because he was not esteemed because they hid their faces from Him, He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. You see, He was full of sorrow and full of grief because the people He came to save despised Him and did not esteem Him and hid their faces from Him. That brought great sorrow and great grief to the heart of our Lord.
In Luke 19, we have the account of the triumphal entry as Jesus of course mounted that little donkey; and as the people were waving palm branches and crying out, "Hosanna, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" As Jesus was nearing the city, speaking of Jerusalem in John 11:35, it says: "He saw the city and wept." He wept over their spiritual condition because He came--in Luke 19:10 which is the key verse to the book--"to seek and to save that which was lost." And since they despised Him, and since they did not esteem Him, and since they hid their faces from Him, He was full of sorrow and full of grief.
In Mark 14, we are told when He was in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus Himself said in verse 34: "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful." Why? He was sorrowful for the lost. For those who did not esteem Him, for those who rejected Him, and those who turned their faces from Him. I hope and I pray that each and every one of us has the heart of our Lord. That when we see the lost, we too would be filled with sorrow and filled with grief because often times when we see those who do not esteem our Lord Jesus Christ, or those who despise Him and those who turn their face from Him, sometimes we are filled with anger and rage. We are frustrated because we think: "Man, don't you get it? Don't you see that Christ is the only way, the only truth, and the only life?" And we get a little frustrated and sometimes a little agitated. But I hope and pray that we have the heart of the Lord that was moved with compassion when He saw the multitudes, because He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. That is what Paul understood.
Remember in Romans 9:2, Paul said: "I am filled with sorrow and exceedingly filled with grief." This was because the Jewish people would not come to Messiah. He goes on in Romans 9:3 and says that "he was willing to become accursed for his countrymen." This literally means that Paul was willing to give up his salvation, so that others may be saved; that is the heart of our Lord for each and every one of us.
Number four, Isaiah 53:4-6 mentions His affliction. Now I simply want to mention two things about His affliction from these verses. First, quite simply, it was for us. Why was Jesus Christ afflicted? Why did He suffer? Why did He die on the cross? It was for us. It was for our benefit. It was for our eternal life. Look at verses 4-6,
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows.
5 He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
6 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.
Why did Jesus Christ allow Himself to be afflicted, to suffer the beatings, the scourgings, the mockings, the ridicules, and to be nailed to the cross? It was for us; it was for you and for me.
Isaiah deals with four things, four areas of our lives that personally pertain to the affliction of Christ. Note them carefully, family. Number one, it was for our grief and sorrow. Isaiah 53:4 says, "He [Jesus] has born our grief [we might say sicknesses] and carried our sorrows [or our pains]." It carries the same idea; grief and sorrow speak of sickness and pain. And Jesus Christ was afflicted for our sickness, for our pain, for our grief, and for our sorrows. You see, sin brings separation between us and God.
Psalm 51 declares that we were born into sin; and thus, there is a separation between us and God and that will always bring grief and sorrow. It is a grievous thing to be separated from God, but Jesus Christ, in His willingness to be afflicted for us, took care of that grief and that sorrow.
Number two, it was for our transgressions and our iniquities. Take a look at verse 5, it says: "He was wounded." It can literally be translated "crushed." He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised or crushed for our iniquities." Look at verse 6. "All we like sheep have gone astray and we have turned, every one, to his own way." We are like sheep wandering, lost. And by the way, sheep wander off easily. But notice that "the Lord, Yahweh, has laid on Him, Messiah, the iniquity, sin and transgressions of us all."
Why did Jesus Christ allow Himself to be afflicted? Why did He allow Himself to go to the cross? It was for our transgressions; it was for our iniquities, and it was for our sins. Yes, sin separates us from God and there needed to be a remedy. The remedy was the cross. Jesus Christ took your sins, He took my sins, and the Bible says in 1 Peter 2:24, "He bore our sins in His own body."
Jesus Christ took the sins of the world and they were heaped upon His shoulders. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us." Jesus Christ became sin. Why? He took our sins, past, present, and future and He nailed them to the cross in His own body; thus, there was a separation between Him and God. He cried out on the cross, "My God, My God, why hath Thou forsaken me?"
Why did God forsake Messiah? He accomplished His plan and did His will because of the sin He took from you and me. Sin brings separation; that is what Isaiah 59:2 declares. It is our sin that separates us from God. And Messiah, Jesus Christ, experienced something that He had never experienced ever before--momentary separation between Himself and the Father. Why? Because He took our transgressions; He took our iniquities.
Number three, He was not only afflicted for our grief, sorrows, transgressions, and iniquities, but for our peace. Take a look at the middle of Isaiah 53:5, it says: "The chastisement [punishment] for our peace was upon Him." Jesus Christ took our punishment, our chastisement, the judgment that we should receive. He took it upon Himself so that you and I might have peace. This is a peace, Philippians 4:7 says, "that passes all understanding." He has made peace between us and God. You see, there is no way we could possibly make peace with God based upon our performance. There is nothing we can do to eliminate or alleviate the chastisement that we deserve because of our sin nature. Jesus Christ was afflicted for our peace. He took our chastisement to make peace between us and God.
Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 3:16 that "the Lord of peace will give you peace in every way." In John 14:27, Jesus said, "My peace I give unto thee." And you can never have peace from God until you first make peace with God. And that peace comes through Jesus Christ and Him alone.
Number four and finally, it is for our healing. We said that there were four reasons why Jesus was afflicted for us. One, for our grief and sorrow; two, for our transgressions and iniquities; three, for our peace; and number four is for our healing. Look at the end of verse 5; do not miss this. It says, "By His stripes." The word "stripes" literally means blows or thrashings that cut into the flesh. It speaks of the scourgings that Jesus Christ received which cut into His flesh. But notice that it was "by His stripes;" it is by these blows, which cut to the bone, that you and I are healed. Peter quotes that in 1 Peter 2:24, when he said: "By His stripes we are healed."
I am afraid there is a little bit of confusion about what healing Isaiah and Peter are referring to. I have heard pastors on the radio and television say that God heals us physically because of His stripes. And I understand that God does heal physically, there is no question about it. Our God is a God that does heal; but unfortunately, they have taken this out of context. The whole context deals with the spiritual man, not the physical man. And "by His stripes you and I are healed," spiritually, for all of eternity. Does He heal physically? Oh, yes! All of the time? No, sometimes He does not heal. Unfortunately, there are those today who think that the reason we are not healed is because we lack faith.
Well, apparently Paul lacked faith because in 2 Corinthians 12, he prayed three times that God would remove this thorn from his flesh. This physical infirmity may have been an eye problem, we do not know. And God said "No" in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you." God does not always heal, physically; but He always will heal spiritually, as we simply ask Him to forgive us of our sins, to cleanse us of our unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 tells us that "He forgives and He cleanses us." He heals the separation between us and God.
Back to Isaiah 53. We said that there were two reasons why He was afflicted. Number one, it was for us; and we looked at four reasons. But number two, it was by God. His affliction was not only for us, it was by God. Drop back to verse 4, in the middle of the verse we read: "Yet we esteemed [reckoned] Him stricken, [literally struck down] by God and afflicted." Isn't that interesting? Jesus Christ was afflicted not only for us, but He was afflicted by God Himself.
Recently a movie came out that stirred a lot of controversy regarding the afflictions of Christ, the crucifixion of Christ. It was called, The Passion of Christ. There were uproars in a variety of communities blaming and pointing fingers.
"You killed Messiah!"
"No, you killed Messiah!"
"You afflicted Him!"
"No, you afflicted Him!"
How foolish and ignorant this arguing was. The Isaiah 53:4 says, "He was smitten by God." That is what Paul said in Acts 2:23. He said that Jesus Christ was delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God. That is what Jesus said too when He was standing before Pontius Pilate in John 19. Pilate said, "Do you not know that I have power to crucify you and power to save you?" And Jesus said, "You've got to be kidding me [my translation]." Jesus said, "You have nothing but that which was given to you from above." It was God's plan right from the beginning. In fact, it was not a new plan. When I say it was God's plan from the beginning, I am talking about from the beginning of the world. We read in Revelation 13:8, "Jesus Christ was the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world." It was not an afterthought. God did not say, "Oops!" It was something that God planned from eternity past. Messiah was afflicted for us by God, so that we might have eternal life in Him.
Number five. The fifth thing that He brings us about Messiah, he talked about His humility, His appearance, His sorrow and grief, His affliction, and now number five talks about His silence. Look at Isaiah 53:7. It says,
He was oppressed [the Suffering Servant] and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
Jesus Christ suffered, He was afflicted; and yet, He did not open His mouth. In John 19:9 when Jesus was standing before Pilate, he was asking questions of Jesus. He said, "Where are you from?" The Bible says, "And Jesus answered him not." This was fulfilling Isaiah.
And when Jesus stood before Herod, in Luke 23, Herod was thrilled to see Jesus. He thought He might have been John the Baptist raised from the dead, and he was hoping to see a miracle or a sign or some kind of show. And Herod was asking Jesus questions over and over. And "Jesus answered him not."
Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:23 that "When Jesus was reviled, He did not revile in return, but committed Himself to God who judges righteously." Why was Jesus silent? Why did He not open His mouth? Well, it was because there was nothing to confess. There was no admission of guilt because He was not guilty, He was perfect and sinless; He had nothing to confess. So, "He opened not His mouth and as a Lamb before its shearers is silent, He opened not His mouth." Why? 1 Peter 2:23 says that it is because "He committed Himself to God."
Now get the picture here. Jesus was being accused, He was suffering violently, He was going to die horribly, and all He had to do was speak up and confess personally; but there was nothing to confess, because He was innocent. And this is as it should be with us also. You see, Christ sets forth a wonderful example for each and every one of us. We ought to be innocent, above reproach--men and women of integrity. And when people revile you, the natural tendency is to revile in return. But Christ set that example of not reviling in return, but committing Himself to Him who judges righteously. When people come against you, when they bring railing accusations toward you, let God handle it. Commit your ways to the Lord.
Paul said in Romans 12:19, "My dear brothers, do not vindicate yourselves one to another, but give place to wrath; for vengeance is Mine, I will repay, thus says the Lord." Allow God to vindicate you. You do not have to say anything.
I remember many years ago when my wife and I were experiencing great persecution through personal attacks against us. Our natural tendency was of course to vindicate ourselves and tell everybody how wonderful and innocent we were. Of course we know that is not true, but that is our natural tendency. But the Lord had spoken to our hearts about Romans 12:19. We said, "We are not going to say anything; we are not going to do anything because it says in 1 Peter 2:23 that 'we are to commit our ways to the Lord.'" And you know God is a better vindicator than us. Just so you know, He will vindicate you "above and beyond what you can even ask or imagine" (cf. Ephesians 2:20).
Back to Isaiah 53:8. Let's come to the sixth thing he talks about regarding the Messiah, the Suffering Servant: His death.
He [Jesus Christ] was taken from prison [confinement] and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
In other words, He is taken out of prison from judgment, He is going to suffer, He is going to die and who is going to declare Him to His generation? He will not have any offspring; He is going to be dead. Do you follow me? So, there is nobody to carry on His line because of the Suffering Servant aspect of His life. "For He was cut off from the land of the living;" that of course speaks of His death. Daniel 9:26 talks about the fact that "Messiah would be cut off; not for Himself, He was to die." In the Old Testament, as in Zechariah 12:10, it prophesies "that we would look on Him whom we have pierced."
Psalm 22 talks about the crucifixion of Messiah; Isaiah 53 talks about this fact as well, and Daniel 9 talks about the death of Messiah. It is difficult to escape the fact that the Lord's servant would suffer and die. He would be cut off form the land of the living.
Isaiah 53:8 says, "For the transgressions of My people He was stricken." We have seen that as recorded in the New Testament. Why was He smitten, why was He stricken? It was for our sins and for our transgressions. And Isaiah 53:9 says, "They made His grave with the wicked," pointing to Luke 22:33 when Jesus died between the two thieves on the cross. Matthew 27:57 says, "But with the rich at His death;" this of course points to Joseph of Arimathea, the rich man who put Jesus in his own newly carved tomb. Why? It was because "He had done no violence nor was any deceit found in His mouth," as we have already looked at in 1 Peter 2:22-23.
Now, we have looked at His death and we already understand that. Let's come to the seventh thing that Isaiah discusses and that is His righteousness. In Isaiah 53:10-11, Isaiah talks about His righteousness.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise [crush] Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed,
[Which speaks of us, the byproduct of His death, His offspring]
He shall prolong His days,
[Which is an interesting concept because we just read that He would be cut off, He would die, and yet His days will be prolonged. This is a beautiful picture of the resurrection of the Messiah. Do not let anyone tell you that the resurrection is not found in the Old Testament. It truly is sprinkled throughout and you can see it clearly.]
And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
In other words, Messiah is going to accomplish the will of God. "The pleasure of the Lord, God Almighty shall prosper." It shall go forth in Messiah's hand because He will do the will of God. We looked at that in John 4:34 when Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me." John 6:38 says, "I came down from heaven not to do my will but the will of Him who sent me." In Luke 22:42 Jesus said, "Not My will, but Thy will be done." So constantly, Messiah will be accomplishing the will of God.
Isaiah 53:11 says,
He shall see the travail [or the stress] of His soul,
[God is going to see the travail and the distress of Messiah's soul] and be satisfied.
So, God will be satisfied as it pertains to the affliction and the distress, and ultimately the crucifixion of Messiah. What is going to be satisfied? It is the righteousness of the law, Romans 8:4 declares.
Notice as verse 11 continues, it is:
By His knowledge, My righteous Servant [by the knowledge of Messiah, knowing that God's plan for His suffering is the plan of redemption for all of mankind. My righteous Servant] shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities [sins].
Because Jesus Christ satisfied the righteous requirement of the law, which is righteousness or perfection by His vicarious death on the cross, He shall justify many. Jesus Christ justifies many. Who are the many? Well, those who receive His justification. Those who bow the knee to Jesus Christ, He gives them a right standing before God. He justifies them before God. He imputes His righteousness as He is the righteous Servant to you and to me, so that now we can be just. We can stand before God in righteousness. Now, it is not our righteousness because justification cannot be earned. Nobody can work at being just or righteous. No one can earn a right standing before God. It certainly is not based on our performance. It is based on the finished work of the cross. It is based on what Jesus Christ did for you and for me.
Number eight, the next thing he mentions about the Messiah is His victory. Look at verse 12. It says,
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, [Why?]
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many, [We have already talked about that]
And made intercession for the transgressors.
At the beginning of verse 12, he talks about His victory. In "dividing the portion" or the "spoils" speaks of something one does after a military victory. Once you enter into battle, once you conquer the enemy, you then divide your portions among the men. You divide the spoils, the plunder, and it speaks of victory. And this, of course, points to the cross.
We are told in 1 Corinthians 15:54,
When this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal
has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying
that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory.
O Death, where is your sting?
O grave, where is your victory?"
Well, because of the cross, Jesus Christ is victorious over death and sin, Romans 8:2 declares. What a beautiful picture that is for us. You see, because He was victorious, so too it is with us. We have victory over spiritual death, we have victory over sin that separates us from God because of the cross, because of what Christ has done.
And finally number nine, and we will close with this; He talks about His intercession. Isaiah talks about the Messiah's intercession. Take a look at the end of Isaiah 53:12--you are going to like this--"And made intercession for the transgressors." So, verse 12 declares that one aspect of the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, is that He intercedes for the transgressors. Boy, what a picture of that we saw on the cross!
In Luke 23:34, as Jesus was hanging on the cross, he prayed. That is what intercession means--praying to God. And His prayer was: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." He interceded for the transgressors. He prayed on their behalf, like the Holy Spirit does for us in Romans 8: "When we know not what we ought to pray for as we ought, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans that cannot be uttered." 1 Timothy 2:5 tells us that Jesus Christ is interceding for you and me. Paul says, "There is one Mediator between God and man; it is the Man, Christ Jesus," who is mediating or making intercession on your behalf and my behalf.
Why is that so significant? Why is that so important that Jesus Christ is praying for you and praying for me? It is because the Bible says in Revelation 12:10 that "Satan is accusing us before God." He is the accuser of the brethren day and night, accusing you and accusing me before God. So, Satan is accusing us, but Jesus Christ is interceding for us. In fact, the Bible says in Hebrews 7:25 that "Jesus Christ lives forevermore to make intercession for you and for me."
What a glorious Messiah we have. What a wonderful Lord, Jesus is. He came as a Suffering Servant. The children of Israel did not esteem Him. They did not receive Him and they turned their back on Him. And that is why we read in Romans 11:25 that "Hardening in part has happened to the nation of Israel because they rejected God." And God turned His back temporarily on them. Friends, we need to be very careful to understand all that Christ has done for us and to esteem Him highly and to receive Him practically.
Father, how thankful we are that you sent Your Son to accomplish Your plan and Your purpose in bringing eternal life to all who believe. Lord, we are so thankful that You in fact are interceding on our behalf. We praise and bless You that You humbly came as that Suffering Servant, willing to be afflicted for us that we might have eternal life in You. We thank You for that in Jesus name, amen.