God's Perfect Servant
“God’s Perfect Servant”
- Usually when you hear the term “Suffering Servant” you are drawn immediately to Isaiah 53
- Rightly so because that is the most vivid description/prophecy of what Christ went through
- In fact I have heard that Jewish people are not even allowed to read that chapter in their Bibles if it is even there.
- But this is actually the fourth passage here in Isaiah that deals with the “Servant” or the “Servant of the Lord”
- I would like us to take some time here this morning and briefly take a look at each of them. A Little background.
- Isaiah began his ministry in about 740 B.C and ended it about 680 B.C.
- Through Isaiah God gives us a clear picture of what was going to happen, not only in their immediate future but in the more distant future.
- The last 27 chapters in Isaiah (40-66) deal with, in part, the Babylonian captivity, and the reasons for it and finally the restoration from it.
- But it also has a deeper meaning and double prophecy dealing with Christ as their Messiah.
- Isaiah 53 is the most clear (making it the most popular) O.T. passage dealing with Christ but we should see that He was introduced earlier in the book and in a few other passages. Let’s take a look!
I The Servant has a Mission (Isa. 42:1-4)
A Who is it that God upholds? A servant!
1 God rejects the tyrants and overlords and chooses the servant.
2 When the Pharisees Plotted to Kill Jesus in Matt. 12:14 Jesus withdrew and healed many of the sick and hurting. Christ didn’t come to the rulers and tyrants of the land. He came to the sick and hurting the meek and mild, those who really needed a Savior, those with a Servants heart. This was his Mission
3 But he goes on in vs. 15-17 Read
a Matthew records this in fulfillment of Isa. 42:1-4 about Jesus Christ. Verses 18-21 of Matthew are identical to that of Isa.
B We also notice from Isa 42:1 that this servant was chosen by God.
1 This wasn’t just anyone, He was chosen by God.
2 In Matthew 3:17 we recall the words at Jesus’ Baptism, “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
3 And also in Matthew 17:5 at Jesus’ Transfiguration, “While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
4 The second half of verse 1 in Isa 42 says “I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.”
a John 1:32-34 “32I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
b This again was after Jesus’ Baptism. Proof of God fulfilling the prophecies through His son Jesus.
C This “Servant” stands is sharp contrast to the worldly leaders and rulers.
1 Vs. 2 “he will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.” And it goes on through verse 4.
2 Christ spoke with poise and authority. In John 7:46 we read, “No one ever spoke the way this man does,’ the temple guards declared.”
3 Jesus never insisted that men carry heavy burdens in fact his load was light and his yoke was easier.
4 The beatitudes are a great example of this, of how and what Jesus taught, found in Matthew 5 (which we have been going through on Sunday Evenings)
D His mission was not to rule with an iron fist but to rule as a servant and to be a perfect example for all to see and follow.
II The Servant has Difficulties in His Mission (Isa. 49:1-7)
A Christ came to the Israelite people.
1 In Matthew 15 Jesus said he was sent to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”
2 Back in Matthew 10 Jesus sent the disciples out on a mission’s trip and told them not to go to the Gentiles.
B But the Nation of Israel rejected their Savior and wanted to Kill him, plotting for His life.
C Christ even says in Matthew 13:57-58 “But Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’ 58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”
D They rejected Christ, and then as it says in verse 6 “I will also make my light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”
E Likewise in Matthew 28:19 “The Great Commission,” Jesus Commands all of his disciples to go to All Nations of the Earth.
F There was difficulty in Christ mission because the Nation of Israel rejected him as their Messiah.
G Because they rejected him we come to the third point…
III The Servant will Suffer (Isa. 50:4-9)
A The specific prophecies of Isa. 50:4-9 were fulfilled by Christ when Pilate handed Jesus over to be flogged and Crucified, Matthew 27:26.
B Jesus did not flee from this time of suffering He went straight into it because he knew that it was the Will of God and that it HAD to be done.
C We read in Matthew 5:10-12 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
D John also records for us in John 15:18-19 Jesus’ words, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
E He showed us a Perfect example and “bore his Cross” Perfectly for our sake.
F In these verses we are left without a reason for His suffering but we will see the purpose and fulfillment in the fourth point.
IV The Servant Suffers for Sin (Isa. 52:13-53:12)
A The purpose:
1 Vs. 13 “He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.”
2 This speaks to three steps to his exaltation
a Resurrection – Rom 1:4 “and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his Resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”
b Ascension – Acts 1:9-11 “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
c Seated at the Right hand of God – Acts 2:32-33 “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”
3 But before this could happen this “Perfect Servant” would have to endure more pain and suffering than we could possibly imagine
B Vs. 14 “His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness.”
1 This prophecy began to be fulfilled when Pilate ordered him to be Scourged.
a We need to remember that Christ was not just whipped! As bad as that is!
b He was Scourged! The Romans called this “Halfway death.”
c Only a trained Roman could administer this Scourging.
d Christ was stripped of All cloths and a cat-o’-nine-tails was then used to whip Him
i A Cat-O’-Nine-Tails was a whip like tool with strips of leather
ii Each strip had a piece of bone or metal tied to the end so that it would cut deeper into the flesh tear off pieces of the body.
iii All the way down to the bone exposing the internal organs.
2 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
a The soldiers hit Christ with their fists and with a staff while mocking him
b They also twisted together a “Crown of Thorns” and pressed it deep into his head (Matthew 27:27-31) disfiguring his face and head.
c Psalm 22:17 “I can count my bones. They look and stare at me.”
d As we read in our Scripture reading this morning from Philippians 2
i “God exalted him above every name.”
ii “Ever knee will bow at the name of Jesus.”
e But men got it all wrong they looked upon his suffering as the punishment for his own sin. (53:4)
f The reason for his suffering was not his own sin (He was and is Sinless) but He was punished for OUR sin. (53:5-6)
3 Isaiah then goes on to emphasize this Perfect Servants Voluntary endurance of His suffering.
a Vs. 7 “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
b The crucifixion followed.
i This was a Roman form of Punishment, not Jewish.
ii Preceded by a through scourging, as we described earlier, leaving the body a mass of swollen and bloody flesh.
iii Christ was then forced to carry his cross.
iv A rough cut piece of wood on His back, which was badly cut and exposing raw flesh just added to the torture.
v When he finally got to the “Place of the Skull” “Golgotha”.
vi Where He was then nailed to the Cross
vii Christ hung there for 3 hours and willingly GAVE up his Life
viii In this time and all of his suffering and agony God was pleased at the payment for the sins of the world. (53:10-12)
- So why did this have to happen?
a. This happened so that we could gain entrance into heaven and be with Christ forever
b. There had to be a payment for our sins. Sin cannot enter into heaven and as it says in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
c. This also happened to fulfill prophecy and we can see just from Isaiah alone:
i. He wrote this, inspired by God, 600 some years before Christ was born.
ii. And Jesus Christ of Nazareth fulfilled every single prophecy that was made through out the entire Old Testament.
- But why did he come as a man?
a. Hebrews 2:14-18 “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might be come a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
b. He came as a man, according to this passage, so that we would understand that He does completely understand EVERYTHING that we go through.
c. How great is that to know that Jesus Completely understands all that we are faced with.
- He is now “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” (Rev. 19:16)
- Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
a. Christ took MY place on that Cross.
b. He took YOUR place on that Cross.
c. How has this affected your life?
i. Have you accepted Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior relying on NOTHING else besides the Blood of Christ and the Resurrection from the dead proving that he Is the Messiah?
ii. Or maybe you are “Born Again” here this morning… How has he changed your life?
iii. Are you following his Perfect example as the Perfect Servant?
- Please turn with me in your Hymn Books to # 302
- Come and make it right with the Lord here this Morning.