The Suffering Servant 1


Isaiah Lesson 11  Isaiah 50-52   Pastor Barry Bruce                      The Gathering 

 Isaiah’s Prophecy to the Jews

As Isaiah would write or speak to the people the Lord would clearly take over and begin speaking through him things which he could not have known about nor understood.  This is how he would prophesy.  In our last lesson we saw how Isaiah began speaking to the    people about his own calling: “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother‘s womb he has spoken my name” Isaiah 49:1,  but suddenly he speaks as God about another that cannot be him:  “I will also make you a light of the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.”  Isaiah was not “a light of the Gentiles (non-Jews) , and the old covenant that Isaiah knew only reached out exclusively to the Jews.  This was an obvious reference to Jesus Christ (the coming Messiah) by God through the prophets mouth.  As we know now, it is Jesus who became a new “covenant for the people” Isaiah 49:8  It is Jesus Christ who has “engraved us on the palms of his hands. Isaiah 49:16

As we move now into these next three chapters, and ultimately into the amazing prophetic chapter 53, which reveals Christ with such accuracy, let us understand that it is Jesus that Isaiah is speaking about in regards to Israel’s salvation.  Orthodox Jews refuse to see this fact, however, the entire discourse in these chapters is God scolding Israel for not accepting His salvation through Jesus Christ.  How can they see anything but Jesus here?

Israel’s Sin and the Obedience of Christ  Isaiah 50:1-2b, John 1:11, Matthew 27:21-26, Isaiah 50:5-10

Here the Lord speaks through Isaiah to rebuke the nation of Israel for their sin.  He uses “mother” as a metaphor for the nation.  How was she divorced from God?  How was Israel sold off?  The Lord reminds them that He came to them but there was no one to receive Him.  When He called them they did not answer.  It was they that rejected the Lord not the Lord who rejected them.  We see this again and again throughout the Old Testament.  We see this again when Christ comes and the Jews do not receive Him and call for His crucifixion. (“his blood be upon us and our children”).  We see this now with the orthodox Jew’s refusal to acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah.

Suddenly Christ speaks through the prophet in advance of His own coming about being a willing servant:  “The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious.”  The KJV and NASV versions show the word “ear” (singular).  This language likely refers to the willful act of obedience by a bond-servant (ebed) to his master.  The Mosaic Law allowed an indentured servant to become a bond-servant voluntarily: If the servant declared that he “did not want to go free,’ then his master would take him before the judges and then to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. An earring would then be affixed to that ear which declared him a servant for life” (Exodus 21:5-6).  Jesus became a willing servant to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).  It was Jesus, not Isaiah, who offered His back to those who beat Him (John 19:1) and who was mocked and spat upon (Matthew 26:66-68).

 “The Fear of the Lord?” Isaiah 50:10-11, Proverbs 9:10

In verses ten and eleven, Isaiah comes back and speaks: “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant?”  The servant Isaiah speaks of is not himself but the Messiah to come who is Jesus Christ.  Isaiah speaks to all ages to come and then to those in his immediate audience:  “All you who light fires” referred to those Jews who were engaged in the rituals of worshiping false gods at the time; however, what “false torches” have we set ablaze?  In other words, “what idols have we set up over God?”  Remember, an idol is anything we elevate above God.  The age old command is that God will not have any other gods before Him (Exodus 20:3).  Anyone past, present and future that breaks this command will one day lie down in eternal torment (Unless we repent and are saved).

“Look to the Rock” Isaiah 51:1, 4-5a, 7-8, Acts 4:8-12  

Isaiah calls those who pursue righteousness to look to the rock from which they were cut.  A Rock is a symbol of God throughout the Old Testament ( 1 Samuel 2:2 ; 2 Sam 22:3 ; Isaiah 17:10 ; Psalms 28:1 ; Psalms 31:2 Psalms 31:3 ; 89:26 ; 95:1 ); and also of Christ in the New Testament (Romans 9:33 ; 1 Corinthians 10:4 ). The salvation spoken of in Isaiah 51 that “is on the way”, that “will last forever”, and extend “through all generations” is from the ROCK!  That ROCK is Jesus Christ.  Of that “Rock” the Apostle Paul concurred with Isaiah and said: “The one who believes in Him will never be put to shame.”  Romans 10:33, Isaiah 28:16 The Apostle Peter also said that there is salvation in no other!  Acts 4:8-12

 “Good News!”  Isaiah 52: 3-7, 13-15, Leviticus 16:11-34 (selected verses)

Isaiah speaks to Israel who was once enslaved in Egypt and is currently under Assyrian oppression (Isaiah 52:4b).  He also prophesied that they would be enslaved to the      Babylonians (“Sold for nothing” Isaiah 3:a), and also made it clear that those Babylonians would be taken over by the Persians (King Cyrus by name) and that the Jews would be  redeemed (Enter Palestine once again) “without money” Isaiah 3:b.  All of these prophecies came to pass long after Isaiah expiredIsaiah proclaimed the promise of God regarding these prophecies in Isaiah 52:6 by saying: “Therefore my people will know my name;    therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it.  Yes, it is I.”

The prophet announced that this “Good News” of salvation would be proclaimed by      messengers who say “Your God Reigns!”  These were the disciples and teachers of Jesus who was “raised and lifted up and highly exalted.” One who’s “appearance was disfigured beyond that of any human being”. “He will sprinkle many nations”. By His blood sacrifice on a cross He became our “Scapegoat” (Leviticus 16:15-22).  Jesus our salvation… “Once and for all!” (Hebrews 10:1-10)  Good news for all who call upon His glorious name.

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