Meditations in Isaiah 53: The Pearl of Prophecy (6)

The Person in the Passage

Dr. Arno C. Gaebelein wrote, “Of all the prophets, Isaiah saw the most about Christ.” Only the Psalms give us more Messianic predictions. In a life-transforming moment, Isaiah saw “the King, Jehovah of Hosts,” (Isaiah 6). John, the apostle, tells us that this is written of the Lord Jesus: “These things said Esaias when he saw His glory and wrote of Him” (John 12:41). This same Isaiah tells of the Lord of Glory coming to earth as the perfect Servant of Jehovah.

Three beautiful passages of Isaiah speak of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Servant. In chapter 11:2, “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him.” Seven aspects of the Spirit are then identified with the Servant. In chapter 42:1, “I will put My Spirit upon Him,” and we see how in seven ways the Servant will not fail. Then in chapter 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me;” here we have seven ministries of the Servant of the Lord.

The passage beginning at Isaiah 52:13, “Behold My Servant” is different. In these fifteen verses there is no mention of the Spirit. In Hebrews 9:14 we read, “through the Eternal Spirit (He) offered Himself without spot to God.” However our passage is not speaking of a ministry in the power of the Spirit, but rather of the submissive One in lowliness, Who gave Himself on the cross.

In verses 1- 3 we see Who He was – the Man of Sorrows. Here we have the walk of the Lord Jesus.

In verses 4- 6 we see why He died – our transgressions. Here it is the work of the Lord Jesus.

In verses 7- 9 we see how He went – as a Lamb to the slaughter. Here we have the ways of the Lord Jesus.

In verses 10-12 we see what He accomplished – it pleased the Lord. We see the worth of the Lord Jesus.

There are seven ways that the Lord Jesus is referred to in this passage.

“The Servant” 

We read of Him as “My Servant” at the beginning and “My righteous Servant” near the end. The Son has taken the servant’s place. With the cross before Him we see a parallel in His prayer of John 17. He begins with the word, “Father”; He will close with the words, “O righteous Father.” A righteous Father sends His righteous Servant to be a righteous sacrifice so that unrighteous sinners might receive the righteousness of God.

“The Arm of the Lord” 

At the annual Passover supper the children of Israel had four cups and, linked with them, were the four “I will” statements of the Lord in Exodus 6. One of these is, “I will redeem you with a stretched out arm.” “The arm of the Lord” speaks of His power and His strength. It was “the arm of the Lord” that delivered Israel from the power of Egypt. Isaiah is writing of Him who would provide a far greater deliverance, a full redemption from sin and Satan, but He would do so by the shedding of His own precious blood upon the cross.

“A Tender Plant”

This is the only use of this term in the Old Testament. The word means a sapling, a young plant. To grow up is to increase, to ascend. It is before “Him,” before His heavenly Father. What a marvel and mystery that the Father sees the Eternal Son, elsewhere spoken of as “My Fellow,” but on earth, seen first as a babe in Bethlehem’s manger! It is the physician, Luke, who tells us that “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Lu 2:52). This tender plant would be a fruitful bough and bring forth fruit in His season.

“A Root”

In Isaiah 11:1 He is of the “roots of Jessie.” Here He is the “root out of a dry ground.” When the New Testament opens, no son of David sits on the throne of Israel. The line of David appears to have been cut off as a tree. Samuel the prophet had called the sons of Jesse and anointed David, and from that line of Jesse the true King comes. He is anointed by the Holy Spirt at His baptism. He is a “root out of dry ground,” a reflection on the spiritual emptiness of Israel at that time.

“A Man of Sorrows”

We read that Jesus wept, but we never read that He laughed. In spirit, He groaned, He sighed; He would say, “Now is My soultroubled”; He wept at the grave, He wept over the city. In spirit, soul, and body the Lord Jesus was troubled. He was truly a Man of sorrows. Of Him it was written, “He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.”

“A Lamb to the Slaughter”

John identified Him as the long-promised Lamb of God Who would go as the substitute to that altar of Calvary.

“A Sheep before Shearers”

He went in subjection to the Father’s will; He went in silence to all that was said against Him. “Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again, when He suffered, He threatened not” (1Pet 2:23). They stripped Him of His clothing and heaped mockery upon Him, but He would lift His voice to heaven and say, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

He, Whose delight was to do the will of His Father, was on earth “the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief.” He, Who was silent before Herod the king, will one day shut the mouths of kings.

He, Who opened not His mouth in judgment, will one day close the mouths of the mighty of earth. He, Who was “fairer than the children of men,” was “so marred more than any man and His visage more than the sons of men.”

He, Whose voice was not heard in the street, was heard to cry aloud at Calvary, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” He, “Who knew no sin,” was on the Cross “made sin” for us.

He is the Subject of this prophetic passage – the unfailing Servant of Jehovah – Our Lord Jesus Christ.