November 10: The Suffering Servant

Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Israel was in a tight spot. They’d been exiled and held captive in a far away land. When they returned, they found their homeland in ruins. Jerusalem lay decimated from the conquest of Babylon, and the people were beyond themselves in despair.

“These double calamities have come upon you — who can comfort you? — ruin and destruction, famine and sword — who can console you? (Is. 51:19)”

So the Lord used His prophet Isaiah to bring hope to His people. He stepped in with a word of hope. Jesus, the promised Word who would become flesh some 700 years later and bring forever salvation along with proclamation of peace that would endure throughout all generations. Even ours.

“For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Is. 53:12)”

What the prophet said had not yet come to pass, but he spoke as if it had already happened. That’s how sure God’s promise was. That’s how certain His Word.

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows . . . But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Is. 53:4-5)”

A Savior was coming. Hope was on its way. Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come and rescue His people from despair and captivity. He would rescue people from their very sin.

“(A)nd the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Is. 53:6b)”

The Word God promised would bear the guilt of Israel. Every one of my faults. Every one of yours. He would be “led like a lamb to the slaughter. (Is. 53:7)” He would be stricken and crushed by God Himself. (See vv 8,10.) Though blameless, righteous through and through, this Servant, Messiah, would become a guilt offering. (See v10.) And God’s chosen people — the people of Israel and you and me — would be offered peace because of God’s plan. (See v 5.)

“(A)nd by his wounds we are healed. (Is. 53:5)”

That God had worked out every single detail before the foundations of the earth were laid changes everything about today. It gives us security in His promises. To know that He had our security and rescue planned far before we ever knew we needed it gives hope where hope could otherwise not exist.

And we can live in peace because God’s promise, God’s Word, is true. Always.