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TEXT • ISAIAH 52:7–53:4
JV • SUMMARY & READING
This is the passage that our entire study has been leading up to! This is the MOST IMPORTANT prophecy of Jesus in all of Isaiah! This chapter is so long, we will break it up into two lessons. So, let’s start digging into this amazing passage…
There is a sad historical fact about Isaiah 52–53. At some point in the past 1000 years, this passage (starting at 42:13) was removed from the weekly scripture readings in Jewish synagogues. The reason, Rabbis explain, is that this passage is talking about the suffering of Israel as a nation, and so, it is too depressing to read publicly in Synagogue; it is not a positive, uplifting message that would encourage the Jewish people. It is now known as a “hidden chapter” of scripture, and few Jewish people know of it!
First: as you read this chapter, ask yourself as you read: Does this passage seem to be referring to Jesus Christ, or Israel? Clearly, it can only be speaking of Jesus Christ. It is so clearly Messianic!
Second: The topic of the crucifixion of Jesus is unfortunately a brutal and dark topic, yet this most crucial event in human history is where we find our salvation, eternal life, hope, and peace with God! Our sins are paid for, God’s wrath against sin has been satisfied, and we can stand in His grace by what Jesus did for us. Instead of a discouraging and disheartening message, Isaiah 52 & 53 is the greatest message of grace in all of scripture: Jesus has set us free! He died in our place, but He rose again! God has given Him His reward! We can only boast in the Cross of Jesus.
VARSITY • QUESTIONS & CROSS REFERENCES
52:7 • How does this passage describe the those who share the Gospel message?
What does the Gospel “announce”?
Paul refers to this in Romans 10:15–17. Write out verse 17…
52:8–10 • How will people react when God redeems them?
What word describes salvation in vs 8?
What word describes salvation in vs 9?
52:11–12 • Isaiah is describing how Israel will leave Babylon when God sets them free from Exile. This is a picture of the salvation we have in Christ, much like Moses leading the people out of Egypt back in Exodus.
What is salvation pictured as in vs 11? What is left behind?
In vs 12, those whom God saves are not___________?
What does this teach about salvation? (Tough question! Think about God’s grace and what it means for the Christian.)
52:13 • God’s Servant will be lifted up and greatly exalted…
52:14–15 • What does vs 14 describe about God’s Servant?
Note: many versions say something such as, Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man.
God’s sending Israel to Babylon for 70 years was astonishing: but even more, what God will do in the Messiah will be even more shocking!
Which means, the Servant in Isaiah 53 is NOT Israel, because God differentiates between Israel and the Messiah!
So, the Rabbis who have “hidden” this passage because they say it is demoralizing to Israel have missed the meaning entirely!
53:1–2 • Many people think this is one of the few clues about Jesus’ physical appearance in scripture—and it isn’t very flattering. People weren’t drawn to Jesus by His appearance!
Note: Yet, maybe this has been misunderstood… People often say Jesus was “unattractive,” yet this simply says that Jesus had no “stately form or majesty” in His appearance that would attract us to Him. This might not be about His physical beauty, but rather, that He was humble and lowly. He didn’t wear majestic royal garments that would put Him on a higher level than everyone else.
Why do you think God presented Himself this way?
What did draw people to Jesus?
For this next section, which focuses on the crucifixion of Messiah Jesus, realize that everything He did was for us! The KEY PHRASE is By His scourging we are healed. Let’s consider how each of these tragic and brutal aspects of the Cross was for us!
53:3 • “Despised” / “Forsaken” / “Sorrowful” / “Grieving” / “Un–esteemed” (disliked!)
Have any of these terms every described you personally? Explain:
List three people from the New Testament that Jesus ministered to who could be described by these same terms:
The point: Jesus can come alongside us when we feel this way because He experienced it Himself!
53:4 • When Jesus hung on the cross, His enemies saw this as proof that He was guilty of great sin, yet He was actually dying for their sin, since He had no sin.
Have you ever been unfairly blamed or shamed? Have you ever been falsely accused? Have you ever felt that life was being unfair to you? Explain:
Do you still have hurt in your heart about this? Turn the grief over to Jesus. He experienced the same circumstances—so He can take your burden.