Jesus, the Suffering Servant (Part 3)

In Isaiah 52:13-53:12, the prophet Isaiah paints a picture of the Suffering Servant who would rescue God’s people from judgment and exile, and restore them to their Lord by bearing their sins and giving them a share in his ultimate victory. Over 700 years before Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, Isaiah described what kind of savior God would send to his people.

So let us read this passage, Isaiah 52:13-53:12, and ask ourselves, “What kind of Savior did Isaiah promise that Jesus would be?”

5. He will be the innocent guilt-bearer. Isaiah is clear that while the Servant does indeed suffer for sin, that sin is not his own. He is wounded for our transgressions, not his own; he is crushed for our iniquities, not his own (53:5). We are the wandering sheep who have abandoned God and turned to our own ways, and he is the one who rescues us by bearing our sins (53:6). He is judged guilty, not for his own wickedness but for ours (53:8). Though he is executed as if he was a wicked criminal, Isaiah says that he is completely blameless in both deed and word (53:9). He is the righteous one who, because he is counted among the unrighteous, can make many to be accounted righteous (53:11-12). He is the innocent Savior who stands in the place of the guilty.

6. He will be a peace-bringing Savior. Isaiah says that because the Servant is the innocent guilt-bearer, he is able to bring peace to those who are cleansed by his sacrifice. The prophet writes, “Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed” (53:5). How great is our need for peace! We have sinned and rebelled against our God, and made ourselves his enemies. We have spurned the judge of all the earth (Gen. 18:25), who created us for his glory (Is. 43:7) and who is the source of all joy and delight (Ps. 36:8). We are disobedient sheep who have turned away from our Good Shepherd and exchanged joy for judgment. How can we, being God’s enemies, ever have peace with him? Only if a righteous substitute suffers in our place and restores the relationship which we have severed. And this is exactly what Jesus, the Suffering Servant, accomplishes for us. This is why, after his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus can say to the disciples, “Peace be with you” (Jn. 20:19, 21). He is a peace-bringing Savior!

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