Bible Study: Isaiah 53:1-12
Today’s lesson covers a prophecy concerning Christ’s character and the work of the cross.
Isaiah Chapter 53
Lessons from the text
Jesus is the Word
How is it that words written contain such a detailed description of a person who would not come for centuries later? It’s as though Isaiah knew Jesus personally, but that would be impossible, right?
Actually, Isaiah knew Jesus. Not as the son of Mary but as the Word of God. John chapter 1 makes it very clear that Jesus is the living Word through which all of creation was made. Revelation 19:16 lists one of Jesus’ titles as the Word of God.
Isaiah, through the Holy Spirit, heard from God the Father and penned God’s Word (Jesus) on paper. All three were involved in the creation of the Scriptures. Isaiah was writing the living Word. Jesus is manifested in the Old Testament because He is the Word of God. We think of Jesus the Savior, the Son of God yet Son of man, the physical person people saw and knew. Yet He is also the written word; Jesus literally is the Scriptures.
Such is why the Bible is described as “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). Can the words on this page discern the thoughts and intents of your heart? No. Yet the Bible can. Why? Because God Himself is present in the Scriptures.
The Bible is living because God’s words are alive. The paper, binding, cover, etcetera are not alive; but the intangible aspects of the Scriptures—the words, the thoughts, and the emotions—are the living spirit of the Son. When you read these words, they may affect your mood, but the spirit of the author is not interacting with you; when you read the Bible, however, the spirit of Jesus interacts with you, teaching you, instructing you, comforting you, convicting you.
Therefore, Jesus was manifested in the flesh as a carpenter from Galilee, but He is also manifested as the Scriptures. Such is why Isaiah could so accurately describe His character; He was penning living words to paper, working with Jesus Himself to know what to write.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 Even though the arm of the Lord is revealed, people do not believe. See Jn. 3:11-12, 6:60-66.
2-3 There is no record of the physical appearance of Christ. When He walked on the earth did He have brown hair? Green eyes? No one knows. Nonetheless, there is an abundant record of His character. These verses reveal one such record. From them one knows that:
4-5 This is a reference to the crucifixion. When Christ was afflicted by the Romans, the people in their hearts thought it was because Christ had offended God. In those days, it was common believe that if one was free from trouble then one was righteous and that only sinners suffered troubles (Lk. 13:4, Jn. 9:2). This is incorrect. God rains on the just and unjust alike (Mt. 5:45). Afflictions and troubles come to everyone regardless of their standing with God.
In the case of Christ, He suffered affliction because of others' sins. Because the Pharisees and Sadducees hated Him without a cause, they conspired to have Him captured and crucified. Because Judas betrayed Jesus, this conspiracy became a reality.
The people were very misguided to blame Jesus for getting Himself into a mess. Noteworthy is that because Christ endured the unwarranted affliction, humanity can be healed; because He stayed righteous through humanity's sins, He overcame sin and the world.
6 Expounding on verse 5, God adds that Christ is wounded because all have gone astray. Jesus took on all the sins of the world. He did not just pay the price for some sins but paid the price for every sin of every human that has been or will be born. That is how salvation has been made readily available to everyone. At the cross Jesus prepared for each soul’s salvation by paying the price for that soul’s sins. However, one is not forgiven for one’s sin until one recognizes Jesus' work; salvation is here and waiting but one must still ask for it to have it.
7 See Matthew 26:62-63, 27:11-14. Jesus did not try to defend Himself against the false accusations but instead allowed the people to do to Him as they pleased. Jesus submits Himself to be either rejected or accepted by men.
8 Repeating that Christ is wounded for humanity’s sins and not His own, this verse adds the consequence that Christ would have no children. Killed at thirty-three and half years old, Jesus was unwed and without decendents. The Son of God, Jesus was far more interested in becoming the sacrifice for humanity’s sins than marrying and building a family. He had His mind set towards creating an eternal family, a bride made from all the believers who have accepted forgiveness through faith in Him (Mt. 12:48-50, Heb. 12:2, Rev. 21:2).
9-12 Because Jesus did no evil, He was despised and put to death; the wicked were envious of Jesus and hated Him for His righteousness (Mt. 27:18). He was numbered as a transgressor by the people; crucifixion was the condemnation that He was wicked. God used this unjust condemnation to create a good; while the people viewed Jesus as a sinner, God numbered Him as a sinner by casting all the sins of the world on Him. Because Jesus was willing to bear this iniquity and suffer the consequences of sin even though He Himself was sinless, God has elevated Him.
From an earthly perspective, Jesus was robbed of a wife and family, but from a heavenly perspective His early death gained Him children; by satisfying the wrath of God against sin by pouring out His soul on the cross, Jesus made it possible for people to be justified by knowing Him. Those who are justified by Jesus’ death are His seed, or offspring. Once one is made a child of Jesus, then He intercedes on our behalf before God the Father.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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