Isaiah’s Prophecy of a Suffering Servant


The Lord God, the creator of the Universe, knows all things that will happen. He exists outside of time. To prove that He alone is God, He spoke ahead of time of specific things that He was going to do. Let’s look at one today. The prophet Isaiah ministered for over forty years (740-697 B.C.) and spoke of a time when God would send a suffering servant to the nation of Israel. This servant of God would be humiliated, persecuted, spat upon, mocked, the hair from His beard would be pulled out, and His back would be whipped:


I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting (Isaiah 50:6)


Isaiah went on to prophesy about this suffering servant, that He would be despised and rejected, but in this act of suffering He would carry our transgressions, sorrows and our infirmities (physical or mental weaknesses):


3He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:4-6).


The prophet Isaiah, more than five hundred years before Christ, spoke in detail about the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ, sharing that One sent from God would make His life an offering for sin. Jesus fulfilled all of these things and much more. He was brutally whipped and beaten by the company of soldiers, humiliated and mocked as they crowned Him with a crown of thorns, before leading Him off to one of the worst tortures ever devised by man—crucifixion. He came as a substitute to take the guilt we have incurred by our lives of sin and animosity toward God, and pay the penalty that our sins deserve. Because of this one act of love by the suffering servant, Jesus, God can deal with us in grace and mercy. This suffering servant would be God Himself.


This plan to buy us back from Satan’s slave market of sin was put into operation thousands of years ago when man decided that he would listen and obey Satan rather than God in the Garden of Eden. The just penalty God placed on this rebellion was death and separation from God (Genesis 2:17). But because of God’s love and mercy, He did not leave us in this state—He would come and take the just penalty on Himself for sin. This act of love would be a covenant in blood, a solemn agreement by two people—you and God. For all who agree to the terms of this solemn covenant or agreement, He will take your sin and count it paid for by the substitutionary death of Christ in one amazing act of love by the Suffering Servant. What about you, dear reader, will you agree to the terms of this covenant? To agree to the terms of the covenant, you must repent (turn from your sin towards God in obedience to Christ) and believe (trust in Christ as your Savior from sin) the gospel (the good news that God loves you and has taken the initiative to cancel out your guilt and everything that keeps you from enjoying eternal life with Him). If you will call upon the name of the Lord in this way, the promise is that you will enjoy eternal life:


16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son (John 3:16-18).


He is only a prayer away. No matter what sin you have committed, He will forgive you on the basis of the substitutionary death in your place of His Son Jesus. He hears every heart cry. Let this be your day. Eternity is a long time—there is no time like the present. Keith Thomas