Dryburgh Abbey, Borders, Scotland. https://www.facebook.com/SpectacularScotland

Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.

Isaiah 53:4-7 (NASB)

Today we return to the beautiful and holy 53rd chapter of Isaiah, the most descriptive and disturbing of scriptures regarding the work of redemption by our Lord and Saviour at Calvary. Verse 4 opens with an assertion in the word “surely” that what we are about to read is a certainty, and beyond question. In the previous verse we encountered Christ as “A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” and again in verse 4 we find the source of His burdens to be ourselves. Our “grief” being our bodily ailments and “sorrows” being our spiritual burdens, which He chose to carry for us on the cross at Calvary. In our blindness to His Divine purpose we/humanity could only see the shame of His situation, the punishment of a common criminal. How often do men make such judgements of others based on what their eyes see, taking no account of the spiritual reality playing out in the background? We see Christ “stricken, smitten, and afflicted,” which in Hebrew is to be cast down, beaten, and to be humbled. A most interesting point regarding the Hebrew for “afflicted” is that it generally refers to humbling oneself! In this we see that the affliction is a selfless act of the Godhead! The Divine purpose is clearly seen in Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE.”

In verse 5 of our text the NASB says He was “pierced,” but I prefer the KJV choice of the word “wounded” here. Stronger still the Hebrew gives us “to stain/slay.” The reason for this is to pay for our “transgressions” or more accurately our sinful rebellion against God. For such He was “crushed,” that is humbled to death on a cross. The discipline that we deserve was borne by Him that we may prosper in spiritual welfare under grace, in the presence of God forgiven of our sins. Through Him we are cured of sin, and by repentance made whole again in the presence of our Father. I cannot ignore the imagery that is brought to mind in the reference to “His scourging,” through which we are healed; it certainly wounds my heart to imagine the brutality of my Lord’s scourging. 1 Peter 2:24 says this : “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you are healed.”

Verse 6 has definite connotations of the the famous 23rd Psalm, “The Shepherd Psalm” for me. We may be the pinnacle of Creation but we are prone to often wander off, away from the Narrow Path that our Shepherd would lead us on. We certainly have much in common with sheep in how easily we are led astray in this sinful world we live in. Our sinful path looks pleasant and right to us, until we stumble and the way crumbles beneath our feet. But the beauty in this is that our Lord knows our wayward ways before they happen, He has paid the cost of them in advance on Calvary’s tree. We only need to return to Him from our wayward ways: “For we are continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls.” (1 Peter 2:25).

As a young Christian I struggled with the silence of our Lord before His accusers described so well in verse 7. I remember weeping in frustration during “Jesus of Nazareth” (Robert Powell) as our Lord said nothing to those who were about to kill Him. But with age I have gained some understanding that sees that now as acceptance/obedience rather than failure. What we see in this is not blind resignation; “what will be, will be,” but rather was surrendering in faith to His Father God’s Will. And 1 Peter 2:23 says it well: “he uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.

Dear reader, read these verse over and over, slowly, let them sink into your heart and stir your spirit. See before you the beautiful servant lamb of God, our Lord and Saviour, faithfully fulfilling God’s work of redemption. But most of all learn from His gentleness and humility, that we may be like Him in all we do.

5 thoughts on “The Servant King – Part 3

    1. Yes, Barbara those are painful scenes to have in our heart as we read of them, or watch them on TV. It is the knowledge that He endured it for us, on our behalf, that hurts the most.

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