This being Easter, much is said about the cross of Christ and His resurrection. Most of what is said is truly moving and thought provoking, but none of them top what was said about the cross and resurrection of Jesus 700 years before He was even born — in Isaiah 53:1-12. But sometimes the poetry or even the familiarity of this famous passage can get in the way of really “getting it”. If I may, I’d like to humbly offer a rough paraphrase and commentary on this famous passage in hopes of clarifying some phrases, emphasizing some important points, and letting us hear it with different words. I hope you find it helpful.
(vv. 1-3)“Who would have believed or even imagined that God would bring His salvation to us this way? What a seemingly strange way for God to work! The Savior would come from humble and unexpected beginnings. He wouldn’t come looking like the King; instead, He’d come looking quite ordinary and plain. He would not make His appearance with a large entourage, but as an ordinary carpenter, even born under suspicion of being illegitimate. He likewise would not be protected like a prince from the sorrows and troubles of this world. He would not be part of the “in crowd”, rather He would be an outlier.
(vv. 4-6) “But as a man He would not only bear our physical illnesses and pains like any ordinary man, but He would more importantly be made to bear our spiritual illness, sin. Men would perceive His suffering as being a judgment from God for His own sin, but the truth would be that He would be bearing the punishment of our sins, not His. His suffering and death would pay for our disobedience and rebellion toward the Lord. Let’s not fool ourselves, each of us has foolishly wandered away from God like self-absorbed sheep; but the Lord God Himself provided His own Suffering Servant Son to let the consequences of our sin fall like a deadly anvil on Him!
(vv. 7-9) “Despite the fact that this Suffering Servant Son was unjustly accused, unjustly convicted, and unjustly put to death; He never offered a word of defense for Himself. Like a sacrificial animal, just before having His throat cut, and just like a sheep about to be sheared, the Suffering Servant Son would offer no objection. His unjust conviction by trusted but corrupt leaders would make the people of His generation believe that He was being put to death for His own crimes, when the truth would be that He was dying for theirs! Ironically, although the manner of His death would call for a dishonorable burial among criminals — unloved and unmourned — He would actually be properly buried in a rich disciple’s tomb by His devoted followers, with the honor and love that is due an honorable and good man.
(vv. 10-12) “One might rightly wonder why God would allow His Suffering Servant Son to be crushed and put to such profound grief. He did it because men needed a truly effective guilt offering — not just a bull or goat, which could really not pay for men’s sins. But such a high, holy, and truly effective sacrifice by God’s Suffering Servant Son would not end in a tomb and corruption — not at all! It would instead result in a wonder-filled resurrection and in the glorious multiplication of God’s adopted sons (heirs of Heaven) and the Son’s soaring exaltation as the everlastingly blessed King of kings! The Son’s sacrifice would completely satisfy the holy justice of God’s righteous nature against the sins of those who would believe and obey the Son. Such a mighty rescue, redemption, and victory calls for nothing less than supreme exaltation and reward for the Suffering Servant Son — He poured out Himself to death, bore undeserved shame, bore the punishment due to us, and stood between us and the righteous wrath of God!
Hallelujah, what a Savior!