About Jesus Steve Sweetman
chapter and verse distinctions that we have in our English Bibles are
not part of the Canon of Scripture or the original text. These
designations were made in the translation process to help us to find
certain chapters and verses with more ease.
The predictions of Isaiah 53 actually start in Isaiah 52:13.
For this reason I will begin my commentary on Isaiah 53 from
53 is all about the Jewish Messiah who Christians understand to be
Jesus, His life, His death, and the results of His death.
The more we understand and appreciate the cross, the more it will
affect our lives.
is no real disagreement among conservative Christian on verse 13.
The words "my servant will act wisely."
"My servant" refers to Jesus and no one else.
One thing we learn from this verse is that Jesus was in fact the
servant of God. He was sent
into the world, not to serve Himself, but to serve His Father.
Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would either act wisely or prosper, depending on how you translate the Hebrew in this case. Jesus was definitely wise. You could see that over and over again with His answers to the trick questions the Jewish leadership tried to stump Him with.
Jesus prosper? Depending on
your definition of the word prosper, He did.
He prospered spiritually, but not materially.
He was not interested in material prosperity for His own life.
That wasnít why He came to earth.
13 also says that Jesus will "be raised up and exalted."
Some people feel that this is in reference to the cross where He
was physically raised up on the cross.
Was He exalted at that point? Well, not in the eyes of the world,
but in the eyes of God He certainly was exalted.
Jesusí obedience to Godís will would have exalted Him to
great heights in His Fatherís eyes.
That being said, Jesus' ultimate exaltation was His ascension
into Heaven as seen in Acts 2:32-33.
14 says that "many were appalled at Him."
Many of those who stood by Jesus as He died on the cross were
literally appalled. They
could not believe what they were seeing.
They shook their heads at Him in mockery.
Pilate himself was appalled at Jesus because Jesus refused to
defend Himself in order to save His life.
also tells us in verse 14 that Jesusí "appearance is so
disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human
is a specific prophecy of what Jesus actually looked like when He was
hanging on the cross.
on the cross Jesus didnít even look like a human being.
His body was so messed up by the crucifixion that He didnít
look like He once did. 2
Corinthians 5:23 tells us that Jesus actually became sin while on the
cross. He didn't just die
for our sin but He actually became sin.
There's a big difference between the two.
Becoming sin in such a way made Jesus totally unrecognizable.
you ever wondered why so many people did not recognize Jesus after He
rose from the dead? We know
that He had the nail prints in His hands and in His feet, but it is most
likely that the rest of His body showed the suffering of the cross as
well. He probably had the
stripes from His flogging on His back.
He would have had the scars from the thorns on His head.
His whole body would have shown the torment of all the sin that
Jesus became. This is how
horrible the cross of Christ really was.
We really canít imagine the totality of what took place on that
15 says that Jesus "will sprinkle many nations."
The word "sprinkle" as it is used here is a religious
word, as in "sprinkle blood on an altar."
The death of Jesus would provide redemption and salvation for the
Jews. Jesus' blood would be
sprinkled for our salvation. This
is an allusion to the Old Testament sacrifices.
the word "nations" in this verse.
What Jesus did on the cross effects nations as well.
This is a prophetic reference to the return of Jesus to earth to
rule the nations.
continues and says that "kings will shut their mouths because of
Him." Because of what
Jesus did on the cross, He will return to earth and finish the job of
salvation and at that point all nations, all kings, all leaders, will
have their mouths shut. They
will be speechless before Jesus, the Lord of all there is.
They will have lost all their power and glory and the one in
charge will be the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Kings will no longer have anything to say about anything.
this point Isaiah prophecies that the kings will see and understand all
about Jesus. Things they may
not have understood will be made clear to them when Jesus returns to
rule as the Supreme Ruler of all there is.
now come to Isaiah 53:1. The
prophet asks, "who has believed our message and to whom has the arm
of the Lord been revealed?" The
word "Lord" is in reference to God.
The pronoun "our" refers to the Messiah, who we know to
be Jesus. I believe the arm
of the Lord refers to the miracles of Jesus.
Very few believed the message of the Old Testament prophets and
very few believed the message of Jesus while He was on earth, even
though the arm of the Lord was revealed in miraculous power by Jesus.
How many times did the Jewish leadership demand just another
2 tells us that "He grew up as a tender shoot and as a root out of
dry ground." Jesus was
a tender shoot. He was
innocent. He grew up as an
ordinary boy in a small town in a Jewish society that was very dry
was raised in Nazareth of Galilee.
in verse 2 we see that Jesus had "no beauty" in Him for one to
be attracted to. Jesus
didnít look all that handsome. He
looked more homely than anything. He
was not that type of guy that the girls would fall in love over by
simply seeing Him.
also says that "there was nothing in His appearance that we should
desire Him." Once
again, Jesus did not look like a movie star.
He was nothing special when it comes to His looks. If anyone was
attracted to Jesus it was because of who He was and what He did, not
because of what He looked like.
have no real description in the Bible to what Jesus looked like.
This verse is the closest you will read to understand what He
looked like. Thereís one
other verse that gives us a clue to what He looked like and that is
found in Isaiah 50:6 where we learn that Jesus had a beard.
3 tells us that Jesus "was a man despised by men, and a man of
sorrows." How many
times must Jesus have fallen asleep at night full of sorrow and
emotional pain over the fact that His people rejected Him?
He felt sorrow over the fact that His own disciples had a hard
time believing Him. He felt
sorrow over the fact that He knew His personal destiny would go to the
cross. Jesus was not always
a happy man.
also says that Jesus "was familiar with suffering."
Of course we know of the suffering on the cross, but He suffered
during His three year ministry as well.
At times He had no place to lay His head to sleep.
He suffered from the abuse of the Jewish leadership.
He suffered the elements of weather as He walked the roads of
Galilee. He suffered the winds and
storms of the seas as He sailed the
the NIV says that Jesus was familiar with suffering and pain, the Hebrew
text views this in a broad sense. The
suffering and pain could include physical suffering and pain.
in verse 3 we learn that men hid their faces from Jesus and they did not
esteem Him. After Jesus was
arrested, He had one form of mockery after another.
The trial before the Sanhedrin was a joke. They laid aside every
rule in their books to condemn Jesus.
so-called trial before Pilate was a mockery as well.
Roman rules of law were not followed.
Soldiers mocked Jesus at every step to the cross.
Even while on the cross both Jews and Gentiles made fun of Jesus.
The whole event was one huge mockery.
Jesus was not even esteemed as an ordinary person, let alone
being esteemed as the Son of God.
4 speaks of Jesus carrying our pain and suffering.
Older versions of the NIV use the words "infirmities"
and "sorrows." Pentecostals
and Charismatics see sickness in this verse, but there is more to this
than sickness. Sickness
might not even mean what this passage speaks of.
The Hebrew text suggests that the sorrow and pain spoken of here
are all the painful calamities and sorrows Jesus had to put up with in
His life. You may not think
there is any significance with this but there is.
The Evangelical church is divided over whether healing of
physical illness was not part of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross.
I tend to believe that. The
cross was all about sin; all about Jesus taking the penalty for our sin.
though Jesus bore the sorrow of our sin the Jews of the day thought
Jesus was smitten, afflicted, and stricken by God as Isaiah says in the
last half of verse 4. In one
sense they were right. God
was the one who smote Jesus on the cross.
God was the one who put Jesus to death, but for different reasons
than what the Jews thought. The
Jews thought God was punishing Jesus because He claimed to be God which
was blasphemy, but, God killed Jesus because of our sin, not His sin.
Jesus died in our place so we could live for eternity.
5 clearly states this truth. Isaiah
says that "He was pierced for our transgressions."
Jesus did not go to the cross because of anything He did as the
Jews claimed. He died
because of our sin, including the sin of those accusing Him.
the word "pierced" in verse 5.
This is a direct reference to the time that the soldier pierced
Jesusí side with his sword while He hung on the cross.
Hundreds of years before the piercing took place, Isaiah
prophesied that it would happen.
continues by saying that "He was crushed for our iniquities."
The word "crush" is a good word to use here.
The crushing of Jesus began in the
in verse 5 we see that "the punishment that brought us peace was
upon Him." The simple
fact is that Jesus was punished in our place.
The punishment that He took should have been directed our way.
This punishment brought us peace.
The main idea of peace here is that we are no longer enemies of
God. We have peace with Him.
We are on His side. That
is what reconciliation means. Northing
now stands between us and God if we accept His provision for us.
So you might now say that the only possible thing that can stand
between a person and God is their unbelief.
Other than that, everything else has been taken care of by Jesus
who has made it possible for us to live in a place of peace with God.
clearly means that if one is in the state of unbelief he does not have
this peace and he is still an enemy of God.
The Book of Hebrews makes it very clear that if we reject this
act of love, the provision of the cross; there is no other sacrifice
that can be made for you. The
only thing left is the wrath of God.
last phrase in verse 5 says, "by His wounds we are healed."
The wounds would be the bloody stripes on His back from the whipping He
had. The nail prints in His
hands and feet, along with all the other cuts and bruises Jesus received
were inflicted on Jesus in order for Him to bring healing to us.
and Charismatics see the word "heal" to be in reference to
healing of physical illnesses. The
Hebrew word translated into English can man, restore, mend, put back
together, or something similar. I
tend to believe that this text is not talking about physical healing.
The context speaks pretty much of sin that Jesus dealt with on
the cross. The context is
about sin, not sickness. Therefore,
the healing, or the mending, spoken of here is the healing from sin.
53:6 is a well known verse that says, "e all, like sheep, have gone
astray, each of us has turned to his own way." Sheep have a
tendency to wander. We
wandered from God as the human race and weíve wandered as individuals.
Even after giving our lives to Jesus we have a tendency to
wander. Then the number one
sin that Jesus died for is us turning to our own way.
Adam and Even turned from Godís way to their way and each human
being has done the same ever since.
Before we can put our trust in Jesus we must turn from our way
and turn back to Godís way. This
is repentance. Repentance
always precedes faith, that is why we should never forsake the preaching
of repentance. One cannot
really believe unless he repents.
is why the Lord has laid on Jesus the iniquities of us all.
The Lord in this verse refers to the Lord God.
Thatís God the Father. While
Jesus was on the cross all the sin of all time was put on Jesus, and in
fact He became this sin as Paul so clearly says in 2 Corinthians 5:21.
7 tells us that Jesus was "oppressed and afflicted yet He did not
open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter Ö but He
remained silent, so He did not open His mouth."
We all know the events of Jesus before the Sanhedrin and before
Pilate. The Jews accused
Jesus of many things, the greatest of which was blasphemy for claiming
to be Godís Son. Jesus did
not respond to any of these accusations but one.
He remained silent even after Pilate asked Him if He was gong to
continue not to speak. The only time that Jesus spoke that we know of is
when the Sanhedrin and Pilate asked Him directly if He was the King of
the Jews, and He had to answer that.
All of the other accusations were not accurate.
This accusation was true and to be silent on this point would be
to deny who He was and that He could not do.
also told Pilate that Pilate had no power other than what God had given
him. This was after Pilate
told Jesus that he had the authority to save His life or to end it.
Jesus made it clear that there was only one reason why he had
such authority and it had nothing to do with his position of prominence.
God the Father was in charge of every step of Jesusí life, even
His arrest and death.
8 says that "by oppression and judgment He was taken away."
Jesus was tried, judged and condemned and it was through
oppression. Undue physical
force was applied to Jesus from the time Judas kissed Him on the cheek
in the olive grove. The
oppression of a mock trial at both the Sanhedrin and before Pilate could
be classified as oppression.
who can speak of His descendents" Isaiah prophecies.
Who are Jesusí descendents?
They are those who give their lives to Him.
Thatís the true Christian, something that the Jews could not
speak of. They could not and
would not believe that Gentiles had any place in the community of faith
unless they became Jews, and even at that, they would be second class
Jews and second class folk in the community of God.
in verse 8 we note that "He was cut
does Isaiah use the word "many", and not "all." in
this verse. Didnít Jesus
die for all people? Yes He
did, but not all will receive salvation due to their unbelief, but,
"many" will receive salvation because they have given their
lives to Jesus. This is why
the word "many" is used.
9 tells us that "He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with
the rich in His death." Jesus
died as a criminal between two criminals.
Jesus was buried with the rich in a rich manís tomb among the
elite who were also wicked. Joseph
of Arimathea was a rich man who believed in Jesus and a member of the
ruling Sanhedrin. He was the
one who took the body of Jesus down from the cross and buried Him in His
own tomb. Thus Jesus was
buried with rich people.
last part of verse 9 says that Jesus had done no violence and deceit
could not be found in His mouth. Though
Jesus was not a violent man about 400 soldiers came to arrest Him with
swords in the olive grove. Jesus
even commented on this when Judas exposed Him with a kiss. He was amazed
that such a number of soldiers were needed to arrest Him, one who had
not been violent. This
obviously would exclude the two times He overthrow the money changers
tables in the
prophecy of verse 10 is extremely important when addressing the question
concerning who really killed Jesus.
Did the Jews or the Romans kill Him?
Well they certainly participated in the killing of Jesus, but the
one behind it all was God Himself. God
killed Jesus, and Isaiah clearly says so here.
He says, "it was the Lordís will to crush Him and cause
Him to suffer." This
makes it very clear. It was
the will of God the Father to kill Jesus.
It was all part of Godís plan for our salvation.
There should be no more questioning on this point once you read
next phrase says that "the Lord makes His life a guilt
offering." Thousand and
thousand of offerings of animal sacrifices were made throughout the Old
Testament by Jews. The death
of Jesus was actually Godís sacrifice.
God Himself made a sacrifice that would end all sacrifices. The
cross was the altar that Jesus was sacrificed on.
So, as all those animals were killed and burned in sacrifice by
the Jews, so Jesus was killed as the supreme sacrifice.
next phrase says that "He will see His offspring and prolong His
days." The word
"He" refers to God. The
word "His" refers to Jesus.
God will prolong the days of Jesus.
This speaks of the resurrection.
Prolong is an understatement when you think of Jesus being
resurrected for eternity.
sees Jesusí offspring. The
offspring of Jesus is the true believer.
God saw and knew what the Apostle John was shown in the book of
Revelation, and that is, a great multitude of believers.
the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand."
The will of the Lord is the will of God, and God's will certainly
will prosper in the hands of Jesus throughout eternity.
God's will might not appear to be prospering now, but when it is
all said and done, it will prosper.
last enemy of God and man is death and it will at some future point be
put under Jesusí feet and at that time the will of God will prosper.
It is clear that the cross of Christ has implications for us
today and it also has implications for the future.
The cross of Christ has eternal implications.
As a matter of fact, when you see Jesus in the next life, you
will see the nail prints in His hands.
He is seen this way in Revelation 5.
11 says that "after the suffering of His soulÖ"
Up to this point we have seen Jesusí body suffer in this
prophecy but here Isaiah tells us that the soul of Jesus will suffer.
Every aspect of who Jesus was suffered on the cross.
It is our soul that will be placed within a new body at the end
of this age. Our soul needed to be saved as well as our body. Jesus
suffered in His soul, that most inner part of Him, so our souls could
experience salvation. His
soul was rejected by God. God
turned His back on Jesus while on the cross.
Jesusí soul suffered great torment in His fight against satan
next phrase says that "He will see the light and be
satisfied." God will
see the light, see the result of the sacrifice of Jesus, and He will be
satisfied. God was pleased
to see the end result of the death of Jesus.
This is what the word "justification" is all about. We
are justified in the sight of God because God was satisfied with
Jesusí sacrifice and He is also satisfied with us once we trust Jesus
and His sacrifice. For the
true believer, it is good to know that God is satisfied with us. This
does not mean He does not want us to change and become more like Jesus.
It means that our eternal destiny is secure even though we
donít totally get changed into Jesus' likeness here on earth.
last phrase in verse 11 says that "by the knowledge of my righteous
servant many will be justified."
Here we see the word "justify" that Iíve mentioned
before. When one is justified one becomes no longer guilty.
All mankind stands before God guilty and condemned to eternal
punishment. When we accept
God's provision of the cross, this guilt is taken away from us.
We thus stand before God guilt free.
As the saying goes, "justified means that it's just as if I
had never sinned."
word "many" in this verse tells us that many will be set free
from this guilt. Not all
will be justified because not all will embrace salvation.
He will bear their iniquities."
Those who accept Godís sacrifice will have their sins carried
away by Jesus.
12 ends this great chapter of the Bible.
Isaiah says that God will give Him, meaning Jesus, a portion with
the great. Of course Jesus
is the greatest of the great. "And
He (Jesus) will divide the spoils with the strong."
When Jesus returns to earth, the redeemed will return with Him.
He at that point will divide the spoils of war.
He will separate the good and bad, the sheep and the goats.
He will deal with satan, wickedness, and death.
He will take what belongs to Him and send the rest into the
poured out His life unto death. We
often see the term poured out in the Bible.
It is a phrase connected to the animal sacrifices of the Old
Testament. The blood of the
animals was poured out. Paul
Himself felt very strongly that his life in ministry was being poured
out for those he served (Philippians 2:16).
last phrase says that Jesus "bore the sins of many and made
intercession for the transgressions."
Once again we see that Jesus bore the sins of many while on the
cross. Again, He actually
bore the sin of all men and women, but for those who refuse to accept
this, the bearing of these sins were useless to them. So, although Jesus
bore the sins of all mankind, only many sins wore born on the cross
because not all embrace the cross.
point that this last phrase tells us about the cross is that the whole
event was actually one great prayer of intercession on the part of
Jesus. Jesus not only prayed
with His heart, soul, mind, and mouth, but He prayed with His body.
His death in one real sense of the word was a prayer of
intercession for us.
really understanding the truth of Isaiah 53 one has no other logical
choice to make other than to give himself completely to Jesus. This
chapter, along with Psalm 22, is the only two chapters in the whole
Bible that gives us a clear picture of the cross.
Isaiah 53 is more of a prophetic theological treatise, while
Psalm 22 shows us more of the emotion and pain that Jesus went through
on the cross. Both chapters
should be eternally burned into our minds and souls as a testimony to
Godís love for mankind.