16 Verses: Isaiah 53…The Suffering Servant

16 Verses

The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses

Isaiah 53…The Suffering Servant

God created a kingdom, and he is the King, but he made human beings to represent him in that kingdom. Adam and Eve rejected this call, which led to sin and death. But God promised to defeat the Serpent through the offspring of the woman, who is also the offspring of Abraham. Through Abraham’s family, and specifically Judah’s royal offspring, David, the covenant blessings would come to the world. Because all people were guilty and deserved death, the sacrifices of the Mosaic law revealed more clearly their need for a substitute…the Suffering Servant.[1]


Who will substitute once for all and be the promised One to crush the Serpent’s head and break the curse? I think we all know who the New Testament is going to put forward as that answer. Jesus.

Isaiah looks forward to the answer and calls him the “Servant” (Isaiah 49-53).

Isaiah 53 is referred to or quoted at least 85 times in the New Testament applied to Jesus!

Regarding the prophet’s looking forward to who this is, Peter writes:

1 Peter 1:10-12 (ESV) Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Isaiah 53…How would God rescue the woman’s descendants and break the curse?

What do we see? What does it mean? How do we obey?

The Servant Would be Rejected 53:1-3

A. The Servant’s word and works would not be believed. v. 1

(“heard” and “arm of the Lord”)

Romans 10:5-16

B. The Servant would not come appealing to the cursed standards of perceived beauty and prestigious places. v. 2-3

(“root out of dry ground” and “no form of majesty…beauty…despised…rejected”)

***The Serpent used “beauty” to appeal to Eve and the Servant would not do this***

John 1:10-11 (ESV) He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

Psalms 22:6 (ESV) 6 But I am a worm and not a man,

scorned by mankind and despised by the people.

C. The Servant would not know luxury but rather sorrows and grief. v. 3

Jesus was born to no advantage…suspicion about his father, poor, no educational advantage, unbelief on the part of his family, abandoned at his greatest time of need…

The Servant Would Make a Costly Exchange 53:4-6

A. The Servant came to carry our griefs and sorrows…to fix what was broken. v. 4

Matthew 8:14-17 (ESV) 14 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. 16 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”

B. The Servant came to be pierced, crushed, chastised and have our sins laid on him in order to bring us peace with God and make it possible to overcome sin. v. 5-6

1 Peter 2:24 (ESV) He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

The Servant Would Submit 53:7-10a

A. The Servant submits to God’s plan, receives the crushing blow from God at the hands of those under the curse. v. 10a

Acts 8:32-35 (Philip preaching to the Ethiopian)

Acts 8:32-35 (ESV) Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter

and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,

so he opens not his mouth.

33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.

Who can describe his generation?

For his life is taken away from the earth.”

34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.

The Servant Would be Rewarded 53:10b-12

A. The Servant receives a rescued humanity that will follow him and worship him forever. v. 10b

The truths written in the New Testament have their basis in what the Spirit inspired in the Old Testament.

John 6:37-39 (ESV) All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

Jesus says this regarding this portion of Isaiah 53:

Luke 22:37 (ESV) For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.”

How do we obey?

A. We acknowledge the gospel as God’s eternal and powerful plan to save. Romans 1:16

B. If we are in Christ, we turn to Jesus to be our help. He bore our grief and sorrows, and he will effectively help.

– Radically obey.

– Take great risks for King and kingdom.

– Believe that any sorrow suffered here for the kingdom will be rewarded fully in kingdom come.

– We can handle so much more than we think we can in Christ.

C. We receive God’s mercy and favor by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone.

D. We accept that often difficulty is how we get to know Jesus better.

Philippians 3:8-11 (ESV) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

E. If you are in Christ, you have been given to Jesus by God the Father, and he has brought you to himself, loved you, taken you, guarded you, will never lose you, never cast you out and he will raise you up…therefore, give Jesus his reward of worship.







[1] Chris Bruno, The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015), 77.

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