The Suffering and Glory
of the Servant (continued)
1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.1
1 Who would have believed the account of the humiliation and exultation of Messiah,
the Lord's Servant (ch. 52:7, 13-15)! The story of the Saviour's selfless love and His
vicarious sacrifice - the theme of
chs. 52:13 to 53:12 - is the most amazing message, the
greatest good tidings of time and eternity.2 The Messiah is referred to as the arm or power
of God, because the almighty power of God was seated in him.3
2 The Messiah or Christ will grow up before God, in the sense of being submissive
to His will, and subject to His care. Christ grew to manhood - physically, mentally, and
spiritually - in harmony with the natural laws of human development. As a plant draws
nourishment from the soil, so He was to draw on the wisdom of God. A plant growing in
dry ground appears stunted and unattractive. The Jewish leaders found the character of
Jesus unappealing. The dry ground may also be thought of as representing the Jewish
nation and its barren, lifeless round of formal religion. Jesus was born a Jew, but the
life He lived and the message He bore were not products of the degenerate Judaism of His
day. There was nothing in Jesus' appearance to attract the attention. Men were not
attracted to Christ by a display of supernatural glory, but by the beauty of a righteous
3 Throughout His life Christ knew what it was to be hated, reviled, and rejected.
In taking upon Himself the form of a man, Christ became sensitive to all the pain, sorrow,
and disappointment known to man. Through the humanity of Jesus, divinity experienced all to
which mortal man have fallen heir. All the ill treatment and malice that wicked men and evil
angels could bring against Him were His constant lot, and reached a climax in His trial
and crucifixion. Instead of sympathising with Christ in His affliction, men turned from
Him with bitterness and contempt. They took no pity on Him, but reproached Him
for His unhappy lot. Even His disciples forsook Him and fled.2
4 Verses 4-6 emphasise the vicarious nature of Christ's sufferings and death. The
fact that it was for us, and not for Himself, that He suffered and died is reiterated
nine times in these verses, and again in vs. 8, 11. He suffered in our stead. The pain,
humiliation, and abuse that we deserve, He took upon Himself. The enemy made it appear
that the sufferings of Jesus were punishment inflicted upon Him by a vengeful God because
He was a sinner. If that were true, He could not be the world's redeemer.2
5 Christ suffered the chastisement necessary to make us at peace with God, thereby
saving us from our sins.2,3
6Christ received the punishment for the sins of the world.3
7 Christ uttered no protest or complaint or self-defence. Silence was evidence
of complete and unquestioning submission. What Messiah did, He did voluntarily and
cheerfully, in order that doomed sinners might be saved.2
8 Christ was delivered from oppression and punishment only by a violent death.3,4
He was not given a fair hearing, in spite of the pretence of correct judicial procedure.
No one took His part or stood to defend Him. He bore it all alone.2 However Christ's death
shall not be unfruitful; when he is raised from the dead, he shall have a spiritual seed,
a numberless multitude of those who shall believe in him.3
9 They intended, by crucifying Christ with two thieves, that He should have His
grave "with the wicked."4 This was a farther degree of humiliation.3 The righteous Servant
was given the burial of a sinner, not of a saint. Having given up His life for
transgressors, He was placed with them in death. He was buried in the tomb of a rich man,
that of Joseph of Arimathaea. Christ suffered the fate of a sinner though He had done
nothing to deserve that fate.2
10 The Lord was not delighted that His Servant, Messiah, should suffer, but rather,
in view of the eternal welfare of men and the security of the universe, it was best for
Him to suffer. It pleased the Lord in the sense that it was the will of the Lord. Only
thus could the plan of salvation succeed. The sufferings of Christ were part of the
eternal plan. His life substituted for our lives. As a result of sin, man had lost his
innocence, his capacity to love and obey God, his home, his dominion over the earth,
and even his life. Christ came to restore all things permanently, not only in this earth
but throughout the universe. The death of God's Servant provided an acceptable and
effective atonement for sin which was responsible for the loss. This sacrifice was
essential to man's redemption and restoration. His seed or descendants are those willing
to receive Him, to believe on His name. He endured the cross in view of this joy that was
set before Him. That Christ should see His seed clearly implies His resurrection
from the dead. Christ took delight in performing the will of His Father, and through
Him God's will would once more prevail among men. Messiah's mission would be successful.2
11 Christ would see the travail of His soul, meaning the results of His labours.
His sacrifice would not be in vain. Because of His death many would live; because of His
sufferings many would find peace and joy eternal. The result would fully justify the
sacrifice necessary to achieve it. The Father speaks of His Son, the Messiah, as My
righteous servant. Christ bearing their iniquities is a restatement of the vicarious
nature of Messiah's sacrifice.2
12 God will reward His triumphant Servant with a place of high honour before all
the universe. All that had been lost as a result of sin would be restored. Christ became
heir of all things, and shares His inheritance with those He has rescued from the hand
of the enemy. They share in His triumph, not as vassals or slaves, but as men and women
redeemed by His blood and destined to reign with Him forever. He will receive a name
which is above every name, one before which every knee should bow. The intercessory
ministry of Christ is clearly foretold.2
References and notes
King James Authorized Version
2. SDA Bible Commentary
Vol. 4 pgs 290-292
3. John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible
4. Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown
Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871). Commentary by A. R. FAUSSETT
5. The Forbidden Chapter
6. Easton's Bible Dictionary -