Philosophy, Ethics & Theology

Isaiah – Chapter 53


A look at messianic expectation and prefigurements of Christ in the Old Testament. This text was written seven to eight hundred years before Christ.

Isaiah Chapter 53

Who has believed what we have heard?

And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

For he grew up before him like a young plant,

and like a root out of dry ground;

he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him,

and no beauty that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men;

a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;

and as one from whom men hide their faces

he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs

and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed him stricken,

smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions,

he was bruised for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,

and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned every one to his own way;

and the LORD has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,

yet he opened not his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,

and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb,

so he opened not his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away;

and as for his generation, who considered

that he was cut off out of the land of the living,

stricken for the transgression of my people?

And they made his grave with the wicked

and with a rich man in his death,

although he had done no violence,

and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the LORD to bruise him;

he has put him to grief;

when he makes himself an offering for sin,

he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days;

the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand;

he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied;

by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,

make many to be accounted righteous;

and he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great,

and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;

because he poured out his soul to death,

and was numbered with the transgressors;

yet he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.

What does this text predict about the promised messiah?

Isaiah is considered to be one of the greatest prophets in the Bible. His name means (the LORD) is salvation. He lived in Jerusalem and the prophecies God gave him were directed toward Israel, Judah and other nations. Many of the chapters of the book of Isaiah contain prophecies about Jesus Christ, addressing both His first and second comings. Isaiah (63) provides more prophecy of the second coming of Christ than any other Old Testament prophet. Undoubtedly, the most important chapter pertaining to mankind’s salvation is Isaiah (53). This prophecy explains how much He would suffer during His sacrifice for man’s sins.

This pivotal chapter tells us that He would come to give His life as a sacrifice for our sins. The Passover lamb symbolized this merciful act (Isaiah 53:7). Statements of His death are then repeated: “For He was cut off from the land of the living” (Isaiah 53:8). “And they made His grave with the wicked” (verse 9). He was an “offering for sin” (verse 10) and He “poured out His soul unto death” (verse 12). Yet prophet Isaiah is innocent yet is treated the same among the rebels. This is the servant’s priestly work on behalf of those He represents, securing their acceptance before God – as a Saviour.

The promised messiah from this text bears similarities and personal characteristics to that of Jesus Christ, especially in the context of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. The sacrificial death of the servant explains His subsequent glory and the eternal blessings of those who believe in Him. Interestingly, God also revealed through Isaiah how Christ would be able to come back to life after being crucified. The triumphant Christ will come again “mighty to save” (Isaiah 63:1). The prophet wrote, “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise” (Isaiah 26:19).

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