The Suffering Servant

The Suffering ServantText: Isaiah 53

This chapter is a prophecy about Jesus – in particular, it is about His suffering on the cross. This is an important chapter because of the prophecy showing that God knew what would happen. It is also important in explaining why and how Jesus made His sacrifice.

He Did Not Have the Appearance of a King (v. 2)

  • Man often judges according to appearance – this is superficial; it should not be done this way (John 7:24)
  • God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7) – Jesus’ qualifications were not based upon appearances; He was qualified because of His character (John 8:29; 14:30; Hebrews 7:26)

He Was a Man of Sorrows (v. 3)

  • He lived on earth as a man (John 1:14) – took on the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7-8); this was necessary in order to fulfill God’s plan (Hebrews 2:14-15; 10:5); those who deny His earthly/bodily existence are described as the antichrist (2 John 7)
  • In His life He suffered (Matthew 8:20; Hebrews 4:15)
  • At the end of His life, He was abandoned by those closest to Him (Matthew 26:31-35, 56)

He Bore Our Griefs and Sorrows (v. 4)

  • What does this mean? – Matthew explained (Matthew 8:16-17); He was performing various miracles
  • These miracles were performed in order to help others – He took away (bore) sickness, cast out demons
  • These miracles were also performed in order to prove who He was (John 3:1-2; Acts 2:22)

We Esteemed Him Stricken (v. 4)

  • Jesus proved that the Father was with Him (John 11:41-48)
  • Yet at the cross, many believed that God was against Him (Matthew 27:38-44) – this was the perception, but was not the reality (Matthew 27:46; Psalm 22:1, 6-8, 22-25)
  • Many believe this today and esteem (consider) Him as having been separated from the Father – yet that was not reality (Psalm 22:24)

Why Jesus Had to Die (v. 5-11)

  • For our transgressions and iniquities (v. 5) – sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2); all like sheep have gone astray (v. 6; cf. Romans 3:23); Jesus died for us, offering an atonement sacrifice
  • He did not die for His own sin – He had none (v. 9; cf. 1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 7:26)
  • The Lord was pleased to crush Him (v. 10) – part of the divine plan (Acts 2:23); this was not the Messiah many Jews envisioned; they thought the Messiah would crush the oppressors, not be crushed by them (cf. John 6:15)
  • This was to satisfy the divine requirement for a blood sacrifice (v. 11; Hebrews 9:22, 11-12; 10:5, 10)

He Bore the Sins of Many (v. 12)

  • Jesus bore our sins on the cross (1 Peter 2:24) – remember the meaning of “bore” (v. 4; Matthew 8:16-17); He did not take on our sins and become a sinner, just as He did not become sick or demon-possessed (Matthew 8:16-17); instead, He removed our sins; through His death, He provided the means for sins to be forgiven
  • The sins of “many” – for the world (John 3:16; Titus 2:11)
  • He interceded for the transgressors – this refers to His word as our “mediator” (1 Timothy 2:15); He came to reconcile man back to God (Isaiah 59:2; Ephesians 2:16-18)


  • Many have misconceptions about Jesus’ death – they believe our sins were transferred to Him and that He died as a substitute for us; yet if this were true, all of the work of salvation would be done by God/Christ with nothing for us to do
  • The death of Christ was an atonement sacrifice – delays the wrath of God, giving us time to repent
  • The blood of Christ is sufficient to provide forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7) – but we will only be forgiven if we meet His conditions (John 8:24; Luke 13:3, 5; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 22:16)

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