A Dead Yet Living Servant

Isaiah 53  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Today, we will wrestle with Isaiah's message further. He makes what might be the most astounding and confusing set of claims yet.

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Christianity is not a matter of personal feelings or beliefs.
The Bible makes specific, historical claims.
Those historical claims call for investigation and belief if they prove true.
An example would be that Jesus rose again on the third day, ie. day three after his death and burial.
We need to recall that Isaiah wrote approximately 750 years before Jesus.
He explains his own astonishment about the message that God has revealed to Israel through him.
Isaiah makes a set of extremely specific claims about the Servant of God.
He does not come from a notable family.
He has no physical attractiveness.
People look at him and do not consider him valuable.
They view him as under God’s judgment.
God will place on this Servant the punishment for the sins of the people.
He will be imprisoned.
He will be judged.
Today, we will see the most specific, yet astounding claims of all.
Unlike Israel, we need to give this very careful consideration.

The Servant Will Die (Is. 53:8-9)

We can appreciate the direct line from imprisonment to death from Isaiah 53:8-9.
The person acting, apparently, is God in Is. 53:9.
The Servant will die.
If he does not, why will he need a grave, and why will it matter whether he joins the criminals and a rich person?
His death has little explanation from a human perspective.
The Servant will die, but it will not be for his own criminality.
Violence (ESV) can refer to physical violence, but its primary connotation is that fierce violence has taken place because of the lack of moral restraint, that is the lawless rebelliousness, of the one who commits the act(s).
To think in terms of the Ten Commandments, the Servant did not commit murder.
The Servant will die, but it will not be for his own falsehoods.
To think in terms of the Ten Commandments again, the Servant did not lie, he did not bear false witness.

The Servant’s Death Pleases Jehovah (Is. 53:10a)

Something is at work in this text that the Gospel writers quietly present about Jesus.
He ends up dying, they claim, because he is doing the will of His Father.
What explains his death if not God’s will?
Isaiah’s focus shifts to the person of Jehovah/Yahweh.
“Jehovah took pleasure to crush him.”
What Israel sees and what Jehovah sees are two different things entirely.
This, now, may be beginning to have overtones of appeasement.
The context may bear this out.
The Servant’s death also serves as sacrifice of restitution in place of a sacrificial goat or lamb.
Compare, if time, Num. 5:5-6

The Servant, though Dead, Will Live (Is. 53:10b)

How does a dead individual see his offspring?
How does a dead man prolong his days?
How does a dead man cause the pleasure of Jehovah to succeed beyond death and the grave?
All of these things happen, “if (or when) the Servant makes his life an offering for guilt.”
They all presuppose death.
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