Welcome to the book of Isaiah chapter 53. John Barnett here. My wonderful wife, Bonnie, is over there. After a nice long and very full day we’re recording this small group time with you. It’s really a highlight for me. This is Sunday for us and that’s when maybe most of you notice this showing up in your feed. I upload them on Sundays. We’re going through the 52 greatest passages in the Bible. We’re in the 21st week. We’ve gotten to Isaiah 53, which is almost the high point of the Old Testament. It is a what some have called the book of Romans, in the Old Testament, or the fifth Gospel. It’s God introducing Jesus Christ to the nation of Israel. That He was coming as God’s servant to die for their sins and for ours. That’s the blessing.
Let me just share my summary of this whole study we’re going to do. It’s right here on this slide. In Isaiah 53 God sums up all that matters forever. Then, I apply it. This is what I’ve been thinking about as I have already spent all week long in this. I do what I’m encouraging you to do. I remember when I was being mentored way back in the old days. Dr. John MacArthur used to tell us staff pastors, there were 30 of us that were on staff at Grace Community Church being trained to become local church pastors, and as his assistant he would look at me and the other men and say, don’t try and live up to what you’re preaching. Instead preach from what you’re living. In other words what he said is, that we’re supposed to be doers of the word and tell people what Paul said. Do you remember what Paul said, be followers together of me, like I already am of Christ. First, we follow Christ. We are in the word. We are letting the word of God transform us and sanctify us. Then we invite others to that life. I’m inviting you into the 53rd chapter, that I’ve had the best time with this week.
The theme that I came up with is this is, the answer to guilt in life. God says, you listen to me, no guilt in life, no fear in death, as the hymn writer says.
These four weeks that we’re right in the midst of are perhaps some of the most fascinating chapters of the Old Testament. This is where we are, week 21, looking at the suffering of Jesus Christ. Next, Ezekiel 37 to 39. That is God’s sovereign election of Israel. What does that mean? It means He made an unbreakable promise to Israel. He made it to Abraham, He reaffirmed it to Isaac, to Jacob, and then He declared it to the nation through His covenant. Then, He reaffirmed even more with David, the Davidic covenant. He said I’ve chosen the people of Israel, and I’ve chosen a kingly line that I’m going to come to Earth through. That’s why Jesus came as a son of David. As we look at the restoration of Israel, it’s going to spark the final conflict.
At lunch today, I was telling Bonnie, I said honey, did you see the news? Did you see the Russia/ China military cooperation? Did you see that China is investing billions and billions of dollars in the infrastructure of Iran and they’re going to help them develop just an amazing, a very formidable, defense industry. Who is Iran’s biggest enemy? Israel. Do you know what the final conflict of the world is going to be? Do you know what Armageddon is all about? Do you know what the end of the world is triggered by? Russia and Iran marching on Israel. That’s what we see in week 22.
Then we’re going to look at Daniel 9, which talks about what triggers that attack. It’s the Anti-Christ and the whole rise of the Anti-Christ. Where he’s coming from and who this mysterious world ruler is going to be. That’s week 23. Then the exact moment that Jesus Christ returns from Heaven and everything that happens at the second coming that is three chapters long in Zechariah. The second coming of Christ is mentioned at the end of Revelation 16 and at the middle of Revelation 19 in only about this many verses. There are this many verses, three full chapters, in Zechariah. Fascinating, the next four weeks.
Isaiah 53 is about our deepest need. We all are concerned about our mortality. I was having a discussion this week with a psychiatrist in training and we were talking about the difference between humans and animals. Do you know what one of them is? The Bible says, God put eternity into our hearts. Animals don’t think about death. They think about survival. They think about pain, and they avoid it. They aren’t thinking about boy, I need to get ready for death, have an insurance policy, and pick out my burial place, and get a will. Animals don’t have that. That’s one of the facets of the image of God. God has put into us an awareness of eternity. We have inside of us this eternal awareness and it’s inside of a dying body. That’s called our mortality.
Our deepest need, we all have, concerns our mortality. Down deep we all know we’re fragile. In other words, we’re not self-existent like God is. God doesn’t need anything to keep going. We need constantly. We have to breathe, and our heart has to work, and we have to eat, and rest, and we go unconscious and sleep.
Here’s the question. How can a sinner be right with God, so as to escape Hell and enter Heaven? Did you know the afterlife, and graves, and death, and mortality, consumed the ancient world? How do we know so much about the ancient Egypt? There are tombs. How about the ancient Chinese? Their tombs. We’ve got that terracotta army and all the other things. We’ve got the most famous tomb in the world, which is the Great Pyramid of Khufu’s in Giza. Then, we have all the tombs of the Greeks and the Romans. We have all these tombs. They’re digging up all these tombs around the world. The reason we die is, we’re sinners. How can a sinner be right with God and escape Hell, eternal conscious torment for sin, and enter Heaven? That’s the most important question? Our world thinks it has answers. Actually, the world has come up with many answers, but sadly none of them are right.
If you look on Google, there are 21 declared major religions with branches and denominations of those religions that number about 300 subsets. There are all the main religions. Then, within Judaism, there are subsets. Within Christendom there are all these denominations. Even within Islam, there are subsets. Buddhism and Taoism, all of these different religions have subsets. Then beyond all these major declared religions are uncountable, local, tribal deities. Every time they go into some Amazon region or somewhere out near Inaja or something, they find another tribal group worshiping some local deities. Probably, you see at the bottom there, probably millions of personal belief systems. Many times, when I try and share the Gospel with people they go, I believe. What they tell me is their personal little system they’ve worked out, but you know what, that’s a huge number of religious answers and sadly, all of these religions are wrong.
All of them, except for Christianity as defined by God’s word. One verse says it all. Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Christianity as defined by the word of God is the only answer. That’s what we believe. By the way, that’s what the Bible teaches and that’s what we’re supposed to be sharing. All other religions are false. Only, God is true as revealed in His word, as we’ll see so clearly and powerfully described in Isaiah 53. There’s only one Gospel by God. When you hear the word Gospel, this is what you should think about.
Here’s my journal. I spent the week, as I’m encouraging you to, in Isaiah 53. Actually, Isaiah 53, our study starts… look at this, in Isaiah 52. Starting in verse 13-15. Isaiah 52 starts chapter 53. I’ll read it. “Behold, My servant shall deal prudently,” I’m in verse 13. “He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage,” old fashioned word for face, “was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” What does He accomplish through that horrible disfigurement and suffering He goes through? “So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider.”
Now starts Isaiah 53. You say, how did that happen? Our Bible didn’t come like this. It came as a collection of individual letters and scrolls in the Hebrew and Greek language. Those letters, as we saw a few weeks ago, all the Hebrew ones were copied into one collection by Ezra. Then the New Testament was overseen by Christ and His apostles. Jesus said, I’m going to tell you what to speak. You’ll know what to write. That’s called the doctrine of inspiration. Every part of this book was under the custodianship, the care of, in the Old Testament the prophets and the priests. In the New Testament, the apostles. That’s why the canon, the Bible ends when the last living apostle wrote the last written scripture. That’s the apostle John on Patmos in the mid 90’s AD. No scripture since then. No scripture other than what Jesus Christ affirmed of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ’s apostles affirmed in the New Testament.
All the books they didn’t, by the way, Jesus did not affirm all the floating around religious books of Judaism called the Apocrypha, nor did He affirm the pseudepigrapha. All of those are these Jewish spiritual writings from the time period between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament time. Those were not in Jesus’ Hebrew Bible that He taught from, the Old Testament, and nor are they to be a part of our Bible. How did Isaiah 53 start in 52 and not be right?
There they’re two important people that helped us get the Bible as it is today. The first one is Stephen Langton. In the 1200’s, he was the Bishop, actually the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church of England. He wanted to make the readings in the churches to all be corresponding, so he divided the Bible into chapters. That’s where we got our 1,189 chapters. He divided the Bible into 1,189 chapters. He did that all by himself, riding horseback between the parishes of the Church of England. Do you see what happened? He’s riding on horseback, got his pen, his manuscript, and the horse. He’s trying to draw a line in the manuscript where he’s going to put the next chapter and the horse hits a bump and it goes somewhere else. He actually missed by three verses. This happens all over the Bible. When you have a Bible, a modern version that puts the Bible into paragraphs, many times you’ll notice there’s a paragraph with a chapter mark in the middle of the paragraph. That’s an example of where Langton hit the bump on his horse. That’s how we got to chapters.
Robert Estienne, in the 1600’s, put in the 31,100 verses. He was a printer. He took Langton’s 1,189 chapters and said whoa, we can’t put these on the printing press pages. It’s too hard. We’ve got to break them into smaller pieces. He personally made the 31,100 divisions for the printing press. That’s why it’s like that. It’s not a mistake. It’s just an aid. Just like, my Bible, all those little chapter headings and everything aren’t a part of the Bible, but they’re helpful. It’s important to know where the scriptures came from.
Real quickly, Isaiah 53 verse 1 says, “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” Then, it starts talking about Christ.
Here’s the title I gave as I worked all week long. First, as you saw earlier, our suffering servant savior. Then, I called it the cross of Christ, the suffering servant. Then, I called it how Jesus suffered for me. Then, I started thinking about Church history and I called it the fifth Gospel. Then, I went back to really what it says in verse 13, “Behold, My servant.” Verse 14, “His visage will be marred,” in that chapter 52 part. I called it, God’s suffering servant. My summary of what’s worth doing is, Jesus was promised to come as the suffering servant. Isaiah warned Israel of the coming judgment for their sins and the long road to the future God promised through His promised redeemer. What Isaiah was telling him is a whole bunch of gloom, that’s chapter 1 to 39. If you remember last week’s lesson, and then here in chapter 40 through 66, right in the middle in Isaiah 53 is the cross the promised Redeemer. So that’s the first part of my notes.
Here are the lessons that I started. 52: 13-15. This passage reminds us that our Bibles were continuous manuscripts dividing into chapters in the 1200’s by Bishop Stephen Langton, on horseback and in the 16th century by printer Robert Estienne. God promises His servant. Isn’t that interesting? Jesus is identified by God as God’s servant.
Pause. Have you ever thought about what lasts forever? I think about it all the time, the older I get. What lasts forever? If you open the very last chapter of your Bible. Some time we’re going to get there, in a few months. Do you know what it says in Revelation 22? There are only two things that lasts forever, God and His servants. That’s what it says. It says, God and His, actually it says, bondservants. Which actually is the Greek word for slaves. Jesus was the servant, literally the slave of God, doing God’s will. What is a slave? What is a servant? Someone that does the will of another. That’s why Jesus, all the way through His ministry said not my will, not my will, not my will, but your will be done Father.
He was God. God the Son. Co-equal. Co-eternal. Part of the triune one God in three persons. Took the role of a servant, the form. He humbled Himself. You know what that means? You want to be most Christ-like? Be a servant. Humble yourself. Tell God all the time you want to be His slave.
I have a little habit. It happened this morning, 6:00 AM in the dark, here in this missionary housing where we’re staying. By the way, Bonnie and I are on the road. We’re continuously circulating between studios. I’m teaching virtual classes, theology classes, books of the Bible classes, and Q&A classes. All kinds of things like that to virtual classrooms, remote studios. Right now, I think we’re up to 31 countries. I’m going to have to, one of these classes, share with you the feedback we’re getting from the students. It’s unbelievable. When I get up in the morning and I found about 100 reasons, I didn’t want to get up this morning. I was tired and it was a long day yesterday, but I got up. I sat on the edge of the bed, and I slid off the edge of the bed. When my feet hit the floor, I paused. If you had a security camera and I don’t know, this is a borrowed home, there might be one around here somewhere, but if you had one do you want to know what you would have seen in the night vision? You’d have seen me looking up. I say, Lord, where I’m standing right now is like an alter and I’m offering myself again to You as Your servant, Your will be done on Earth just like it is in Heaven. I want to obey You. I want to submit to You and follow You this day. That’s what Jesus was, that’s a great way to be.
Second thing I found is, it says in verses 1 and 2 of chapter 53, Jesus was a root. Look what it says. “He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant.” Verse 2, “As a root out of dry ground.” Remember, I mentioned this in an earlier class. If this is an olive tree, at the base of the olive tree there’ll be little sprouts coming up out of the dirt. Those little sprouts are new olive trees, branches that are going to grow roots. And they’re called nēṣers. They come from the same stump, but they’re rooted in the stump. They’re growing outward for new life for the tree. Jesus was a root, a nēṣer. That’s why it’s called Jesus the Nazarene. Nazareth was the root town. Not Nazarite, Nazarene. He was a nēṣer.
Jesus, by the way, didn’t look unusually different from normal people. That’s why Judas, remember at His betrayal said, I’m going to kiss the one that’s the right one so you don’t arrest the wrong one. Jesus did not look like Captain America, who stands out head and shoulders like King Saul, bigger than everybody else, or with this amazing appearance. Jesus looked ordinary. That’s what it says. He had “no beauty that we should desire Him.” “No form or comeliness.” “When we see Him, there is no beauty,” verse 2, “that we should desire Him.” He wasn’t extraordinary. Most people spend their whole life trying to be extraordinary. They try and be someone else instead of just being who God designed them to be.
Jesus, by the way, in verses 3 and 4 was despised, rejected, and sorrowful. He felt rejection, hatred, and emotional pain. That’s why Jesus feels each of our grief and sorrows. Book of Hebrews, chapter 2 says, Jesus is in all points was tempted like we are. In chapter 5 it says, He can have compassion on us because He feels. By the way, do you know the English word compassion comes from the Greek word. That we translate compassion, which is splagchnizomai, which is a visceral feeling. You know what this visceral is? You feel it in your body and your stomach. It’s how someone feels when they see the light flashing behind them on the highway and they immediately tighten up in their stomach because they think the police are coming for them. Then, that light goes around them, and they breathe a sigh of relief. That’s a visceral reaction. That’s feeling it in your body. Jesus, He feels compassion because He feels our sorrows, our griefs, our emotional pain. That’s why He could be the best friend in the world. You have friends and they say, we know what you’re feeling, and you go home, they don’t know what I’m feeling. When Jesus says, I know what you’re feeling, He does.
Verse 5. This is the heart of the Gospel. This is Christianity. This is biblically, defined by God, Christianity. God treated Jesus like He did every sin I have done or will do, so He could heal me of each eternal infection my sin brings, by His stripes. Wow. That’s the Gospel. That’s called justification. We’ll talk about it a lot in this time. Verse 6, I’m wanting my own way from birth. That leads me away from God, we are bent away from God. See what it says in verse 6? “All we like sheep have gone astray.” Do you know what the worst sin is? Me, my, self, pride, I, my way. See the original sin in the universe was Satan’s pride. In English, it’s very clear. Lucifer, that was his proper name before he fell, pride, sin. What’s the middle of all three of them? What’s the heart of Lucifer, of pride, and sin? I. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way.” I am wanting my own way from birth, and that leads me away from God. We’re bent away from God’s way to my way. That’s what our fallenness is.
Jesus silently took my place, verse 7. We’ll talk about that. That fascinating, the study we will have on that. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” By the way, verses 8 and 9, amazing. God predicts in exquisite detail the passion of Christ. He’s cut off. He’s stricken. He’s with the wicked and the rich in His death. What’s that? He’s with the wicked, between the two thieves and then He’s buried in a rich man’s tomb. This is an amazing chapter with amazing details about what Christ did for us. Jesus went to prison it says, to judgment. He was cut off by death. He was dying between criminals. He was buried in the rich man’s tomb.
Verse 10 says, God’s plan always was… look at this in verse 10, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin…” Look at that, God’s plan was to put my sin and guilt on Jesus, His Son. An eternity of wrath, in just six hours, was poured out by God, onto Jesus Christ. Then, the chapter ends with, Jesus endured the cross knowing the joy set before Him, of justifying me and many. He justified me by taking my penalty and record. Justification means that, right now God doesn’t have any records of all my many, many, many sins. Why? Because Jesus was punished for those sins and with the punishment went the record of committing them. God put all that on Christ. That’s what justification is.
The prayer that I wrote, and I wrote this down this morning as I was meditating on this time we were going to share. I usually write it every day, but then I do a final one on my last time, I’m doing this chapter with you all. I wrote: Lord Jesus, you took my sin, and my sorrows and you made them Your very own. You died my death, You paid my debt. You suffered my guilt and justified me. You were despised, and rejected, and crushed, and bruised, and cut off, and stricken for my sins. Your substitution, that’s the heart of the Gospel. Your substitution takes my sin and my punishment away forever. Hallelujah, what a Savior. I love You and thank You. I want to be Your sheep and I want to go Your way today. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.
That prayer is a summary of everything that I noted as I was going through, all week long, this chapter. You say, that’s all you found? You know what I’ve been doing this study for four years, five years now. I could just keep condensing it and finding more and more stuff, but it’s what we find that we apply to our life that is the life changing sanctifying doctrine.
We always have to decide where we are in biblical history. Sacred history, I call it. Everything happens somewhere. We are right here. There’s Isaiah and Isaiah is writing right in this time period before the time of the captivity. The northern kingdom went away in 721 to Assyria. The southern kingdom where Isaiah was living is carried away by the Babylonians. About a hundred years before this captivity time, right in here, Isaiah is writing.
Isaiah 53 is God’s inspired introduction to the Messiah, the suffering servant Jesus Christ the savior. Just for you to understand, the Jewish people do not take chapter 53 to be a person. They think the whole nation of Israel is suffering and they are suffering. Israel has suffered for over 2,600 years. Before that they suffered all the 400 years of captivity. Israel, the nation has had 3000 years of suffering, captivity, slavery, warfare, being massacred, pogroms, and holocausted. All these things, but that’s not what we’re talking about. That’s going to be looking at other parts of the Bible. What we’re talking about is the Christ, the Messiah. That’s what Christos means, the Christ, the anointed one. That’s what it means in Hebrew. Jesus Christ the savior is God’s suffering servant. That’s what we’re going to briefly, I’m going to briefly summarize the doctrine of justification.
There are references to Isaiah 53, 15 times. That means more than half the New Testament books. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, 1 Peter, and 1 John all refer to or quote Isaiah. That’s why theologian say Isaiah 53 is like the doctrinal book of the New Testament, Romans. Do you remember, Romans is the compendium of all the key doctrines of salvation, and of God, and of His revelation to us. Isaiah is the Old Testament version of Romans.
Again, back to where we started, the ultimate question is how can a God who is holy declare that a sinner like me is righteous? That’s the big question. That’s what spawned religions. What religion says is you have to keep doing more and more until your good outweighs your bad. Most of us, lots of bad, only a little good. You got to keep piling up the good, and doing good works, and arms, and pennants, and all kinds of things. Going on pilgrimages, and the five pillars of Islam, and all the different things of all religions till you balance out. The ultimate question is, that’s what I feel about this religion, but what does God say?
What does God say? God says because of our sin, we’re all guilty convicts. I will tell you that’s one of my favorite ways to share the Gospel. I can remember many times I’ve gone to a restaurant with staff members. Usually, I’m the older person. I have these younger pastors with me. I would be sitting there, of course buying their lunch, talking, having a meeting and everything. The waitress would come over to me because I was probably paying, they figured that out and ask if we needed anything. Once when she came over I said, did you know that all these guys are convicts? I’ve never seen such a change in a waitress, her eyes narrowed, she stepped over more by me, backed up, and looked at them. Then she went off and got everybody’s water. When nobody was looking, she came up to me. She said, what did they do? What are they guilty of? I said, they’re all really guilty convicts. I said, they are all convicted sinners. I think maybe by then she’d noticed that we all had our Bible sitting on the table, we were having a little Bible study and meeting. Then, specifically, the one at Red Robin, I remember she walked away again, embarrassed. Then, she came up to me and she said, what do you mean convicted sinners?
You don’t think people won’t know what you mean because everybody’s had a little exposure to Billy Graham, or church, or their praying grandmother, or a Gospel track, or something. The long story short is, I told her in God’s sight, we’re guilty. He’s seen every sin we’ve ever said, ever thought, ever done, ever wanted to do, every meanness, every bad thing. He’s seen it all and not just seen it He’s recorded it. Remember, I talked about if there was a camera in here they would see me standing and surrendering to the Lord. God has seen every sin. He’s captured every word, and thought, and feeling. Have you ever had this horrific, hateful, feeling? God captured that. Nothing escapes Him. The only way the tape can be erased is if it’s put on someone else’s account. God is very much like an accountant. He’s racking and counting up every time we sin. When we call the name of the Lord, He puts all of that record of sin onto Jesus Christ. That’s the New Testament doctrine of justification.
Here’s my Bible. “Behold, My servant.” I wrote in there, ʿeḇeḏ, that’s the Hebrew word which means slave. This is God speaking by the way, I just want to remind myself of that. “He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.” Only God, has Isaiah 6, same words, God is very high. He is the most high God. That was something that I was studying. Then, I wrote salvation prompts national confession. “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” What this mean is that in Zechariah, which we’re going to see in two weeks, this scripture is all of a sudden going to be believed by the whole nation of Israel. They’re called the remnant, but I’ll save that for then. I want to remind myself that this is just the first six verses.
Look at this, “He was wounded for our transgressions.” Here I wrote, this is the clearest substitutionary atonement verse in the Old Testament. It’s parallel to the clearest and the greatest single verse in the Bible. Did you know if there was one verse that’s the most important verse in the whole Bible, it’s 2 Corinthians 5:21. I’ll show it to you in a minute. “The chastisement for our peace.” That’s the Hebrew word Shalom, which means to be made complete. We are, as Saint Augustine says, restless till we rest in God, because He made us for Himself. We’re not complete. We can’t have peace until we call on the name of the Lord and He Gives us a new heart. He fixes our deepest need. Our need for forgiveness and for reconciliation with God because we’re enemies. For knowing we’re not guilty anymore. We know we’re guilty for what we did. Guilt is horrible and God takes away my guilt, removes the record, and the punishment. Puts it all on Christ.
Then, look what it says. “The LORD has laid on Him,” Jesus, “the iniquity of us all.” What is that? That’s our innate depravity. Did you know, we were born sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine decree?
Going on to the next part of Isaiah. Again, I know I do this all the time, but it’s hard for you to see. This time I thought I’d take a picture for you. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted.” This speaks of the trials of Christ, where He didn’t open His mouth. “He was taken from prison and from judgement.” Remember He was imprisoned? Remember in the High Priests dungeon, He was kept overnight until they could hustle Him over to Pilate. He was in and out of prison. “They have made His grave with the wicked.” Do you know what the Romans did? They wanted to put Him on the trash pile, but Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, they went in and implored Pilate to give them the body of Christ, so they wouldn’t put Him on the trash heap. That’s where all of the crucified people were thrown, into the trash heap, unless someone could beg and get them for a proper burial. That’s what Joseph of Arimathea, with the help of Nicodemus, did. “When you make His soul an offering for sin.” Jesus was our guilt offering. That’s why no guilt we have in life. “He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days.” That’s a prophecy of His resurrection. Then, “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.”
Look how there is a change in the voice here. He, He, He, and all of a sudden “by His knowledge My…” This is God speaking again. Remember, God was speaking back here in chapter 52. God speaks again, “By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many. He shall bear their iniquities.” Their innate depravity. On it goes. Look at this, and he makes “intercession for the transgressors.” That’s what sustains us to this day. What does it say in the book of Hebrews chapter 7? Jesus ever “lives to make intercession for them.” It’s nice having a praying grandmother. Do you know what’s even better? Knowing Jesus is interceding for us. Keep praying, but know Jesus prays for you too.
This is what I find. He was lowly. He’s like a root out of dry ground. He’s rejected of men. He’s a substitute. He’s my servant. He’s crushed, marred more than any. He’s submissive. He didn’t open His mouth. He’s accused. He went from prison and from judgement. I found 12, very fascinating elements of Christ. He’s cut off, out of the land of the living. He’s guiltless because no violence or deceit. Jesus went through all those trials, six of them, and Pilate says, I don’t find anything wrong with Him. He went back in. He finally washed his hands. He said, I don’t find anything wrong with Him. Even the highest court in the land couldn’t accuse Him of anything. Jesus said, what do you accuse me of? What have I ever done wrong? Nothing. He will prolong His days, His life continued endlessly. He was blessed. Pleasure would prosper at His hand, He was triumphant. He divides the spoil, He’s the victor. He was accepted, He justifies. God accepted His sacrifice.
I spent the week doing this and along the way, look at verse 7 of chapter 53, He didn’t open his mouth. I thought I’ll take just a little minute and track that down. That’s chapter 26 of Matthew, verse 63. “But Jesus kept silent.” Remember, He was before the High Priest and all the speaking and accusing, He didn’t say a word. He was like a lamb before His shearers, silent. The High Priest, Caiaphas, answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Remember what Jesus said? Finally answered. He said, “Hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” That was really a very sobber warning.
Why am I telling you this? 20 years ago, when they were digging a parking lot in Jerusalem. They hit a rock that fell down into a hole and they stopped the bulldozer. They looked in the hole and they were looking down into a cave, filled with bone boxes. This box is very ornate. Can you see all the beautiful work on it? You probably can’t see it in your slides, but right there it says Caiaphas, son of Joseph. Do you know what? That after much study, the Jewish archeologist of the Israeli Museum concluded this is the actual bone box of the man who condemned Jesus to death. Guess what? The Bible’s filled with real people, in real places, and real events, that really happened. Whenever archeologist dig somewhere in the lands of the Bible, they confirm what the Bible says.
Think for a minute, this is what I thought about. Imagine being the chief employee, the High Priest working for God in the temple at Jerusalem. When Jesus came to Earth, that would be like working at Apple when Steve Jobs came to your desk. That would be like working at Tesla and Elon Musk comes to your desk. You understand what I mean? The founder of the company. How would you like to be the highest ranking person in God’s building on Earth, the temple, when God comes to Earth? I can think of no greater honor. The man who was most acquainted with the ceremonies of God, the laws of God. The High Priest spent his life preparing for Him, becoming God’s one person that could go in before the Holy of Holies once a year. He knew the laws. He knew the sacrifices. He knew the word of God. So much was Caiaphas’ life. His whole life was steeped in the scriptures, and the temple, and the law, and the ceremonies, and yet he lost everything, forever. Why?
He didn’t believe the real Jesus, who alone could face the wrath of God we each deserve. Jesus stood in front of him more than once. He hated and rejected Christ. See what it says in verse 4? “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.” Caiaphas knew those verses and the One they were written about stood in front of him. By the way, Caiaphas never said Jesus didn’t perform those miracles. He never said He didn’t perform them. He just said, You did them by the devil’s power. He didn’t say, You didn’t raise people from dead. He didn’t say, You didn’t heal the lepers. He said, you did do all that, Jesus. You just are not God, the Son. He denied Him. Wow.
We need to understand the wrath of God. Last time when we were looking at the attributes of God, do you remember when we went through that in Psalm 139 a few weeks ago? I told you that there are 20 some attributes of God. One of them that flashed across the screen was His wrath. Most people don’t think of that as an attribute, but that is part of God. Remember not the external attributes that are around God and not that God is a collection of attributes. This is a part of His very makeup. Always, God is wrathful, just, and loving. Perfectly, at the same time. What is wrath? He intensely hates all sin. Jesus intensely hates all sin. Think about that.
We should understand the wrath of God. God’s wrath is fearsome. Ask the people at time of the flood. Boy, they changed their mind. They were banging on the Ark saying, hey Noah, you were right. We want in, too late. God’s wrath is fearsome. If you reject Him one too many times, you’re outside and you’re going to get flooded by your own sins. God’s wrath is merciless. Think of Sodom. Every man, woman, and child was incinerated and buried in Sodom and Gomorrah because they rejected God and were sinners. God’s wrath is inescapably horrible. Think about being a firstborn child, male child, in Egypt on Friday the 13th. Did you catch that? Did you know that in Western culture the date of the Passover is enshrined in superstition. Did you know that the Passover started on Nisan 14? Nisan 14 was a Saturday, the night before, Saturday the 14th, is the 13th and the night before Saturday is Friday. Friday the 13th. The death angel came and inescapably, horribly killed all the firstborn males, both of people and animals in Egypt. God’s wrath is inescapably horrible and it’s globally coming. That’s what the tribulation is. God intensely hates sin. He’s treasuring up His wrath, His hatred of sin, and He’s going to gusher pour it out onto the world.
Understanding the wrath of God. God’s wrath is fearsome, unstoppable, inescapable, dreadful, and horrible beyond description. We should hate and fear sin. Did you know that’s the lesson of Isaiah 53? If God is so intensely hating sin, we should hate it too and fear. We don’t want sin taking root in our lives. Once we’ve been saved, we want to share the good news and tell people that God will take away all of your sins forever.
Here’s the greatest verse. Remember I told you the one verse, that’s the greatest verse in the whole Bible, is 2 Corinthians 5:21? This is what it says, the white is the verse. “For He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” “For He,” that’s God the Father, “made Him,” Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, “to be sin.” God treated Jesus like He committed every sin that I ever committed. Why? So that I could become the very righteousness of Christ. That’s called imputation.
This is the cross of Christ and all of my sins past, from my birth, present today, and to the last day of my life, in the future, all of my sins at the instant of my salvation all of them were accounted on Christ. I got saved in 1962. When did Jesus get crucified on the cross? AD 30. That was a long time ago. That was 1,932 years before me being born. You know what that means? When Jesus died on the cross all of my sins were in the future. He took in that instant in 1962, right here, He took all my sins from birth until 1962, up through today in 2021 this beautiful Lord’s day, and all the way to my last breath. All at once, Jesus took all those onto Himself. Wow. That’s justification.
The suffering servant as the Lamb of God faced the wrath of God. Look at Isaiah 53 and verse 12 it says this, “I will divide Him a portion.” “Because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors.” Look at this, “He bore the sin of many.” Then, verse 4. “He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Jesus Christ bore the wrath of God.
By the way, this happened during Passover. Look at the schedule, the Passover schedule during the crucifixion. On the day Jesus was crucified at 9:00 AM, outside the city walls of Jerusalem, Jesus was being nailed at 9:00 AM. That’s what it tells us, in the third hour. Roman time start at 6:00 AM. 9:00 AM, He was nailed. For six hours the lamb, the Passover lamb, was tied to the altar. At the same time Jesus was nailed to the cross. Caiaphas led out the sacrificial lamb for the Passover to the temple altar. Jesus, the Lamb of God, awaited death for six hours.
At 12 noon, while the fathers in each household were slaughtering their lambs for the sake of their family, taking them to the temple, God the Father is slaughtering His holy Lamb, Jesus for the sake of all who would accept Christ gift of forgiveness.
On the cross at 3:00 PM, after six hours, barely able to lift His blood splattered face toward Heaven, Jesus thundered out over the city of Jerusalem, “It is finished.” Guess what was happening exactly at the same time. Caiaphas was killing the Passover lamb for the nation. It’s very ominous that he was the High Priest representing the nation while the one he condemned to death was just on the other side of that wall, dying, facing the wrath of God for the sin of the world.
The song writer put it well. “Till on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied; for every sin on Him was laid – here in the death of Christ I live.”
Christ became sin for us. That’s why this is the greatest verse in the Bible. God was punishing Jesus, saying that He was guilty of all our sins. Have you ever thought what that meant?
God looked at Jesus and said, you’re an anxious coward. You don’t trust me. You mock your parents. You’re an un-submissive wife. You’re a lazy disengaged husband. You file for divorce and have crushed that parable of My love for the church. The list of your sin goes on, and on, and on.
He took all of our sins. God treated Him and gave Him the penalty as if He did every sin of every believer that will ever believe on Him from their birth, to their salvation, to today, to the last day. All of our sins. Past, present, future.
Christ was crushed, stricken, smitten. Our sins were laid on Him. Verse 7, look down your Bible. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb.” He didn’t open His mouth. He just let God pile those sins on Him.
On the cross God treated Jesus as if he were a sinner, even though Jesus never sinned. He brought Him, the sinless one, to be the substitute for sinners. He depicted in all the sacrifices of the Old Testament a substitute, giving its life for the sinner. God killed Jesus with His wrath over your sin and my sin instead of doing it to us. To put it another way, on the cross God treated Jesus as if He lived your life, as if He lived my life. That’s right, on the cross God treated Jesus as if He lived your life and my life imperfectly, sinfully, as we live.
To put another way, on the cross God treated Jesus as if He had personally committed every sin ever committed, by every person who had ever believed, through all of human history. He treated Jesus as if He personally committed every sin, committed by every person, who had ever believed throughout all human history, but He didn’t even commit one of them. God treated Jesus like He committed all of the sins of all who would call on Him. That’s why we’re supposed to share this. That’s the greatest news.
Remember the Lamb of God who faced the wrath of God? In verse 10 “It pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin.” That’s what Jesus did for us.
Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stewart Townend their co-writer wrote these words. “In Christ alone, who took on flesh, fullness of God in helpless babe! This gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones He came to save. Till on that cross as Jesus died…” This is why I love this hymn. “…the wrath of God was satisfied.” God’s intense hatred against sin was satisfied, “for every sin on Him was laid.” For us believers we can say, “Here in the death of Christ I live.” What happens?
“No guilt in life, no fear in death.” “Jesus commands my destiny. No power of Hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand.” See the security we have because of the justifying death of Christ?
In Isaiah 53 God sums up all that matters forever. No guilt in life. No fear in death. Have you received the free gift of eternal life? I used to share the Gospel by taking a pen. I would have a pen right here and I’d say, can I show you what I mean by the free gift of salvation, as I was sharing the Gospel. I pull out the pen. I’d say here, and I would hold the pen out to them. I said, you take it. When they would take it, I would hold on to it. They’d be perplexed. I say, no, it costs $10. They back up. I said, that’s religion. Religion says, it’s not free, you got to earn it. Now, I said, let’s try it again. Here, and they pull it out of my hand. I said, all you have to do is reach out by faith to Jesus Christ and say, I believe you died in my place. I believe God treated You like you committed all my sins. Past, present, and in the future. I want Your forgiveness for all my sins. I want You to cleanse me. I want it to be Your child. I want to be born again.
Do you know what a baby has? No past, only a future, a new beginning. That’s what salvation is. That’s what God offers. That’s what, more clearly than any other chapter in the Bible, God presents. I hope you have an incredible week studying the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. When we come back next time, we’re going to look at the end of the world, Armageddon. It’s going to be exciting and maybe motivate us to share the good news we’ve learned this week in Isaiah 53. Have a good week studying. God bless you.