Saturday- Week 2
Messiah a Suffering Servant
Isaiah 53 is one of the most profound and powerful passages in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah. This passage is often overlooked or ignored by our Jewish brethren. That the Messiah would come to suffer and not to conquer was wholly unexpected and objectionable to the Jewish nation. In Jesus’ day, they longed for the arrival of a conquering Saviour to vindicate the wrongs perpetrated upon them by their oppressive and idolatrous Roman rulers.
What is Truth?
by Nikolai Ge 1890
2 He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.
3He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
4Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted.
5He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.
6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7He 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.
8By oppression and judgment He was taken away. And who can speak of His descendants? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people He was stricken.
9He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10Yet it was the LORD's will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the LORD makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
11After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied; by His knowledge My righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities.
12Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He 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.
This is a long prophetic passage, which produces a number of deep theological, and eschatological questions. Depending on the time you have for completing this devotional, your family may want to choose only a few of the questions below for your discussion time.
One would expect a mighty ruler to be referred to as a great tree, not a tender shoot.
What does a ‘tender shoot growing out of dry ground’ tell us about this expected Messiah?
[That He would spring out of a place not expected of a ruler (“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ John 1:46). A root out of dry ground would not be expected to flourish or grow into a great tree. By the time of its fulfillment in the first century AD, the insignificant dynastic line of David would also be considered ‘dry ground’ as it had long ago lost its importance among the Jewish nation.]
List the verbs in verses 3-7 which refer to the Servant’s suffering.
[Despised, rejected, stricken, smitten, afflicted, pierced, crushed, oppressed]
Verses 3-6 make it personal; how many times is ‘us’ or ‘we’ used?
According to verse 5, what is the reason for His suffering?*
[Our transgressions; our iniquities]
To what events in Jesus’ life might verse 7 refer?
Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-67 & Mark 14:60-61)
Jesus’ trial before Pilate (Matthew 27:12-14 & Mark 15:3-5)
Jesus’ trial before Herod (Luke 23:8-10)]
What were some of the oppressive acts that took place leading up to Jesus’ death?
Herod and soldiers ridiculed and mocked Him: Luke 23:11
Roman soldiers mocked Him: Luke 23:36-37
Criminal on the cross hurled insults at Him: Luke 23:39]
How was verse 9a literally fulfilled?
In 1 Peter 2:22-23, the Apostle Peter references verse 9b :
[“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.” When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him Who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:22-23]
Have you ever been wrongly accused of something? How difficult is it to remain silent and not retaliate?
How hard is it to trust that the Lord will defend us, and judge righteously on our behalf when we suffer wrongfully?
Re-read this passage, replacing ‘He’ with ‘Jesus.’
According to verse 10, who killed Jesus? Who was to blame?
[No one took His life, He gave it. It was the Lord’s plan from the beginning
(see Thursday of Week 1 question #3)]
Verses 10-12 lists several important results of Jesus’ sacrifice?*
[He will see His offspring (John 12:23-24);
Prolong His days (Revelation 1:18);
The will of the LORD will prosper in His hand (John 6:38-40);
He will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities (Romans 5:17-19);
He will divide the spoils with the strong (Romans 8:17)]
*Fulfillment of prophecy: Isaiah 53:5,12
Close In Prayer
Though Jesus was a suffering servant-- sent here to die for us, He was a willing servant (Mark 10:45). His life was not taken from Him-- He died voluntarily (John 10:17-18). He could have stopped it all-- the scourging, the spitting, hitting, yelling, slapping, shoving... even the crucifixion-- at any time. But He did not, because He loves us all, even though so many of us will never love Him back. It was a sacrifice He was willing to make to allow us to live with Him forever.
Do you have a servant's heart? Serving others is a sign of a mature growing faith. Pray that you would be more like Jesus every day-- developing daily the heart of a servant.
Make A Joyful Sound!
Click on the Songs for Advent- Week 2 tab for some suggestions, or sing your favorite song together!