A Study in the Word – Isaiah 52:13-53:12


The fourth Servant Song begins by announcing the result of the Servant’s sacrifice before it occurs (52:13-15). God affirms His relationship with the Servant (52:13), though His prospects are uninspiring (52:14). Still, the Servant will accomplish His mission, cleansing nations and confounding world rulers, for what they had never seen or heard they can observe in Him and easily comprehend (52:15).

He will accomplish the impossible by His faithfulness. “Our” refers to the faithful who see God’s plan in His unlikely appearance (53:1). There was nothing in His early years that set Him apart in the estimation of Israel (53:2). In their eyes He had nothing to offer, so He must be out of favor with God (53:3).

Though completely missed by Israel, the faithful remnant recognizes the Servant’s success in carrying out God’s plan of salvation (53:4). They confess the presence of sin in every person, including themselves. They know He heals the deep wounds of sin (53:5). They know every person runs in every direction except to the Lord. The grace of God, however, will not allow sin to go unredeemed. God caused to fall upon the Servant “the punishment we all deserve” (53:6, GNB).

His affliction is real enough, yet His silence bears testimony to suffering’s necessity (53:7). He who later became the Shepherd of Israel first suffered as one of the flock of Israel (53:8). He is numbered with sinners in dying but with nobility in death (53:9).

God’s purpose of salvation was in His plan for the Servant. That purpose must be worked to its righteous end. If by death the Servant served God’s purpose, by His restored life He will accomplish its end (Acts 8). The Lord’s “pleasure” sounds strange to modern ears (53:10a). What the Servant suffered was within the law as a “guilt offering” (Lev. 5:14-19). Here the Servant is both offering and priest, a self-sacrifice. This is His intention as priest, so sacrifice to God as offering is His action. Thus, the “good pleasure” of God will prosper in Him. He fulfilled the will of God, and God is pleased. The Servant will experience more of God’s good pleasure (53:10b). By becoming the personal Justifier of many before God He will not have suffered in vain (53:11). He deserves and will receive the place of honor. He alone paid the cost and won the victory. All honor is His alone (53:12).

Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: dm5867se@outlook.com


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