Published February 19, 2015
Bible Studies for Life, March 1
Isaiah was a prophet used of God to cast a vision of the coming Messiah. His ministry was in the 8th century BC to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. While his writings contain numerous references to the promised Messiah, our passage of study today (Isaiah 53) challenged the common expectation of a royal monarch coming in power and victory.
Isaiah 53 paints the picture of a “suffering” Messiah. Because this prophecy challenged the traditional expectation, it was generally not associated with the Messianic prophecy by scholars and leaders over the centuries before Jesus Christ and many to this day.
The Hebrew word for Messiah is “mashiah” which means “the anointed one.” The Greek word for Messiah is “Christos” (Christ). When we say Jesus Christ, we are affirming Jesus is the MESSIAH.
The facts that the promised prophecies are fulfilled only in Jesus Christ strengthen our faith and empower our conversations with a skeptical culture. We are able to boldly proclaim with Peter that Jesus is “… the Christ, the Son of the living God”(Matt. 17:16).
The fact that through prophets hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus God told us what the Messiah would be like, what He would do, and what He would endure should give us confidence. There is no one other than Jesus that even comes close to meeting the conditions established by prophecy for the Messiah. Others have attempted to assume the messianic role, but only Jesus meets the foretold conditions and character of the Messiah.
The Bible is filled with messianic prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah and many of them point to the Second Coming. The challenge that many had and have with acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah is the understanding of a First and Second Advent. The victory, glory, and majesty attributes of the prophecies seem to challenge the prophecies of the Messiah as a suffering servant.
Isaiah 53: 2-3 - The Messiah became one of us
The Messiah stepped out of eternity into time to enable us to step out of time into eternity. Isaiah challenged the contemporary mindset of his day as he describes this suffering Messiah as one with “no stately form or majesty.” The Messiah he described in lowly terms rather than royal terms does not match their expectations.
We often fail to recognize that God’s “… thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My (God’s) ways” (Is. 55:8). We are challenged to see beyond our kingdom to understand that it is really all about His kingdom.
The coming Messiah was to be a man of sorrow, grief, and rejection. This couldn’t be a description of the Messiah; it sounds more like a reflection of our own circumstances. Many fail to understand that in order to redeem us He had to become like us, to experience our challenges and know our pain.
He never submitted to sin in the midst of the circumstances and pain. His victory for us was not over conquering armies, but rather our greater enemy – the enemy of sin and therefore separation from God.
Today we often hear that if we follow Jesus we will be happy, healthy, and wealthy. Jesus said the opposite. Jesus said that we are sent as “sheep in the midst of wolves.”
He said that as they hated Him they would hate us also. He said as the father has sent me I send you. Our comfort is not found in our circumstances, but in the very fact that He has been where we are, had victory over our circumstances, and has promised to be with us as we face the challenges.
Isaiah 53:4-9 - The Messiah came because of us
It was “For our transgression… our iniquities.” We stand in need of a savior. We are all like lost sheep. We all have gone our own way. We need someone who could accomplish what we are unable to accomplish.
He took our punishment. He paid our debt. He deserved glory, honor, and praise, but suffered, was rejected, and crucified in order that we could stand in His righteousness. He exchanged His royal robe for our filthy rags so we could exchange our filthy rags for His royal robe.
Isaiah 53:10-12 - The Messiah came to rescue us
I have an older brother who on a particular day when he and I had gotten into some trouble told my father that he would take the punishment for both of us since he was older.
I will never forget what my godly father said to me that day, “Son, today your brother was a lot more like Jesus than you were. He took your punishment for you. You deserved the punishment, but He loved you enough to stand in your place.”
The Messiah would become our “guilt offering.” He “bore the sins of many” and “justified the many.” He took our punishment because of His Love for us in order that we might be rescued from the penalty of sin.
Living out The WORD
Today, acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah and your Savior. Spend some time searching the prophecies of scripture as they relate to the Messiah and then determine which ones were filled in Jesus Christ first coming and which ones are to be fulfilled in His Second Coming.
Today, proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. Get in the spiritual conversations that are occurring in our culture by finding at least one person to dialogue with this week using the prophecies fulfilled in Jesus Christ to add perspective to your discussion.
Today, live in a way that when the suffering, rejections, and pain come, that you remember Jesus has “been there, done that,” had victory over it, and is in there with you. Explore the meaning of “by His scourging we are healed.”
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