Isaiah describes the work of the Servant and how his work will be received by the Lord, by the nations and by Israel.
- 52:13-15 – God exalts his Servant, granting him great success among the nations.
- 53:1-3 – Israel rejects the Servant because he did not have the credentials she sought.
- 53:4-6 – The Servant suffers our death for us.
- 53:7-9 – Israel executes the Servant while the Servant remains silent.
- 53:10-12 – God rewards the Servant and grants him eternal glory.
- 52:13-15 – The exaltation of the Servant: Just as the nations were speechless in horror at his disfigurement, so they will be speechless with joy at his exaltation. We saw the first irony of this passage: Those who had never heard prophecies of the Servant will worship him when they hear his name and what he has done.
- 53:1-3 – Israel rejects the Servant because he was not part of the establishment, showed no promise and no outward beauty. Consequently they judged him of no value and despised him. Here we saw the second irony of the passage: those to whom the prophecies and the promises had been give would reject the Servant.
- 53:4-6 – The Servant suffers a horrible death for us. Here’s the third irony of the passage, Jesus died in our place and his sacrifice was despised. Nothing else so perfectly displayed God’s love for us.
In this section he continues the theme of this perfect display of God’s love as we see the Servants trial, death and burial, and finally, his reward.
The Execution of the Servant (53:7-9)
- 53:7 shows his trial; in 53:8 8 we see his death; in 53:9
- The repetition here of the phrase “he did not open his mouth” emphasizes that even though he didn’t deserve to die, he died willingly. He did not open his mouth to protest or defend. Rather he went willingly and knowingly.
“The servant offered no physical resistance to violence but humbled himself; he offered no verbal resistance but did not open his mouth. Animals go as uncomprehendingly to slaughter as to shearing; the Servant who knew well, went to his death with a calmness reflecting not an ignorant but a submitted mind. . . .
[Isaiah] expressed the truth of the Servant’s death in the accepted terminology of sin-bearing (vs. 4-6), and now (7-9) he introduces and indeed drives home, a new thought. It is not that the Servant did not deserve to die (for that is implicit in vs. 4-6), but that though he did not deserve to die he was willing to do so. . . .
sin as willfulness is a thing God cannot overlook. It is the very heart of our sinfulness that we sin because we want to. . . .
Because of this, no animal can do more than picture substitution: only a person can substitute for a person; only a consenting will can substitute for a rebellious will. The Servant, indeed fulfills the stated requirements for a substitute: he identified with sinners in their condemnation (4-5); he was without stain of sin (9); he was acceptable to the holy God (6,10). He also adds what no other ever did or could: the will to accept and submit to the substitute’s role (J. Alec Motyer, The Prophecy of Isaiah, pg. 432-433).”
- His silence is contrasted with the violence of his oppressors. Compare with Matthew 26:65-68 and Matthew 27:12-14.
- His silence showed that Jesus was saving his speech for the courts of heaven when he would stand before the true judge and Advocate.
- His silence showed his willingness to follow God’s plan and to offer himself as the atoning sacrifice.
- No one recognizes his death is for them.
- Immediately after his death, God begins to vindicate the Servant. He was buried in a rich man’s grave and only those who loved him touched his body (Matthew 27:57-60).
The Reward of the Servant (53:10-12)
- The Servant’s atoning sacrifice was part of God’s predetermined plan.
- The Father “was pleased” to sacrifice his own Servant despite the cost. Compare with Genesis 22:2 and 2 Samuel 18:33.
- The Servant is rewarded with three things: new family, a new (eternal) life and a new position. These rewards happen after the resurrection.
- The Servant will be satisfied; His suffering was not wasted.
- The Servant will be given the highest place of honor in heaven.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.
Next: 09 Isaiah 54:1-10 Birth of a New Age
Previous: 07 Isaiah 52:13-53:6 Work of the Servant 1
Series: Isaiah: Servant Songs
Study Resources: Isaiah Bible Study Resources
Scripture references are from the New American Standard version.