God’s Word never grows boring; its depth never ends. We continue to work through Isaiah’s fourth song of the suffering servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). This prophetic passage is so rich in meaning on the surface but the intricacies and details becoming even richer as we dive deeper into each stanza. So many of these words and phrases hold a life of their own – they leave me wanting to know more! How deep can we go into some of these things? Maybe a book someday. It’s too much for this series!
Where we’ve been
Wake Up, City of God, (stanza one) – the sufferings of the Jewish people foreshadowed the suffering of the Servant of God.
Believe It, People of God (stanza two) – as hard as it might be to believe, the Servant Messiah would come as a man. God would become a man.
Consider the Why, Rebels of God (stanza three) – The people suffered, the Servant suffered, and He came to earth as a man for a pinnacle purpose. He came to carry our sickness and pain, to restore our covenant relationship, and to enable us to live life on His path.
This stanza picks up where the last one left off – the oppression and affliction of the Servant. These torments came upon Him because of our perversion and distortion of the truth. That was the “why” we looked at last week.
Here we see His response. He didn’t say a word. He could’ve declared His right to the glory of heaven. He could have proclaimed truth as a double-edged sword that would have brought His accusers to defeat. The mouth that spoke and created the universe could have spoke again and created a kingdom with Himself as King.
He could have, but He didn’t. Why not? Because when He does do those things, He wants us there with Him. That only happens if He makes a way for it to happen because we can’t ascend to that level of righteousness on our own. He did so by dying so that His blood would protect us. Kind of like the Passover lamb did for the ancient Jewish people.
Behold the Lamb, Children of God
“Like a lamb”
The lamb is first mentioned in the Bible as the animal God provided as a substitution for Isaac when God told Abraham to sacrifice him on Mount Moriah. The blood of the sacrificed lamb also provided protection for the people of Israel during the tenth plague in Egypt. The Jewish people still celebrated this event during the time of Isaiah, during the time of Jesus, and even still today although without the lamb. (That’s significant but more than we can get into here.)
This lamb isn’t sacrificed, though; he’s slaughtered. The men who sent Jesus to His death didn’t do so as if they were offering up the Passover lamb even though He did die on Passover. In the minds of Jesus’ accusers, they were sending Him to slaughter. Slaughter is a sign of power and judgment. They executed judgment and power to bring Jesus to His death.
Let me point out here, though, that the Servant went willingly to His suffering. “I am laying down my life so I may take it up again” (John 10:17). He also said Satan himself has no authority to bring Him to His death. Jesus went willingly.
“Like a sheep”
Three of Jesus’ forefathers – Jacob, Judah, and David – had interesting stories involving the shearing of sheep (Genesis 31, Genesis 38, and 1 Samuel 25, respectively). It’s too much to write about here; let me just say they all involve partying, drunkenness, deception, revenge, transferred blessing, and ascent to power.
And that’s exactly what we see in Isaiah 53 with the Servant as a sheep before shearers. The shearers – the Jewish leadership of Jesus’ day – are drunk with their own power and self-righteousness. The end result is God denies them the blessing they think they’ve earned. The blessing goes to another; in this case, it goes to all people as the Servant provides salvation for all the earth. The Servant ascends to power as He conquers sin and death and is seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, “far above every rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:21).
Through it all, again, he was silent. The tongue of the Word Made Flesh was bound - bound as is a sheep while the wool is shorn. Once more, He knew His death must come first.
He was cut off from the land of the living – cut off, just as the wool is shorn from the body of the sheep.
He was struck because of our rebellion – struck, just like the plague struck the people of Egypt who didn’t have the blood of the lamb on their doorpost.
He made His grave with the wicked – wicked, just like those destroyed in Sodom and Gomorrah.
Even still, “He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully” (Isaiah 53:9). He still was the spotless, unblemished Passover Lamb. Cut off, struck, among the wicked –Why? So we could paint the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts of our hearts; so we could experience freedom from slavery and life instead of death.
Read about the fifth stanza, Isaiah 53:10-12, by clicking here: Receive the Victory, Chosen of God