The Messiah in Isaiah Bible Study
Isaiah 53:4-6 - The Substitute
by I Gordon
How Deep The Father's Love For Us
 ↩ Dr Adolph Saphir, who lived in the 1800's was a Hebrew Christian who also saw that this chapter was a national confession of the Jews in the last days. He writes:
Blessed, precious chapter, how many of God's ancient covenant people have been led by thee to the foot of Christ's cross! - that cross over which was written, "Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews!" And oh! what a glorious commentary shall be given of thee when, in the latter days, repentant and believing Israel, looking unto Him whom they have pierced, shall exclaim, "Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted!"
 ↩ Our Daily Bread has the following useful illustration:
When you study the painting of the crucifixion by the famous Dutch artist Rembrandt, your attention is first drawn to the cross and to Jesus. Then, as you look at the crowd around the cross, you are drawn to the faces of the people involved in the awful crime of crucifying the Son of God. Finally, your eyes drift to the edge of the picture and catch sight of another figure - almost hidden in the shadows. This, we are told, was a self-portrait of Rembrandt, for he recognized that by his sins he helped nail Jesus there!
Someone has aptly said, 'It is a simple thing to say that Christ died for the sin of the world. It is quite another thing to say that Christ died for my sin! It may be an interesting pastime to point fingers at those who crucified Jesus, but it is a shocking thought that I can be as indifferent as Pilate, as scheming as Caiaphas, as calloused as the soldiers, as ruthless as the mob, or as cowardly as the disciples. It isn't just what they did - it was I who nailed Him to the tree. I crucified the Christ of God. I joined the mockery!'
Think again of Rembrandt's painting. If you look closely, you will see that in the shadows you too are standing with bloodied hands, for Christ bore the penalty of your sin! And you will say, 'He was wounded for me.'
Calvary's cross reveals man's hatred for God and God's love for man.
 ↩ This is illustrated in C.S Lewis' much loved book 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. You'll probably remember the story but let's pretend you don't! Edmund is tempted and tricked by the white witch, who has turned Narnia into a perpetual winter, and becomes her captive in her castle filled with her enemies that she has turned into stone. The Witch approaches to speak with Aslan, insisting that according to "deep magic from the dawn of time" she has the right to execute Edmund as a traitor. This is true so Aslan speaks with her privately and persuades her to renounce her claim on Edmund's life but it is only later that Peter, Lucy and Susan find out that Aslan has bargained to exchange his own life for Edmund's. He will pay for Edmund's sin. The Witch in delight, ties Aslan to the Stone Table and then kills him with a knife.
Yes, this was 'deep magic from the dawn of time'. But is there a deeper magic? Is this the end of Aslan? Is this the end of the Messiah?
 ↩ Does this part of the verse mean that there is healing in the atonement? Some say that Jesus died for our sins and our sicknesses so we should claim our physical healing by faith just as we claim our forgiveness of sins by faith. Some would go so far as to say that if you claim your healing and are not healed, then it is a lack of faith or sin in your life. So what is this verse talking about? Is the healing physical or spiritual? When we look at how the New Testament writers used it we see that there is only one reference to it. That is 1 Pet 2:24. When you examine what Peter is saying you will see that it is spiritual healing in view. He is saying that through Jesus stripes we have been brought back to God. That is the real healing. Having said that, Jesus' death on the cross did provide the means for total healing of the entire person - body, soul and spirit... But each in its time. God's ultimate healing and salvation of body, soul and spirit has a name. It is called Resurrection. Until then we live in a body that is ageing and breaking down and that in itself is used by God to remind us that the important things in life are eternal. Does God still heal us physically? Of course He does. But as I once heard Adrian Plass say about God and healing - 'We know two things about God and healing. 1. That God heals. 2. That He doesn't.' That is, that He is sovereign and knows what is best for us in this life and sometimes that involves great miracles and sometimes that requires difficult times of refining and suffering. It is just the way it is.
 ↩ Two other key passages that speak the Messiah being 'pierced'. The first passage describes the process, events and effects of crucifixion in some detail.
Psa 22:14-18 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.
Zec 12:10 And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.
 ↩ The following illustration is a fantastic example of this:
' One of Adolph Hitler's right hand men was Adolph Eichmann. He was one of the worst of the Holocaust's masterminds. After the war he escaped to Argentina. In 1959 the Mossad, Israel's secret service found his whereabouts and sent undercover agents down to Argentina to bring him back. After capturing him they transported him to Israel to stand trial.
There, prosecutors called a string of former concentration camp prisoners as witnesses. One was a small man named Yehiel Dinur, who had miraculously escaped death in Auschwitz. On his day to testify, Dinur entered the courtroom and stared at the man in the bulletproof glass booth - the man who had murdered Dinur's friends, personally executed a number of Jews, and presided over the slaughter of millions more. As the eyes of the two men met - victim and murderous tyrant - the courtroom fell silent, filled with the tension of the confrontation. But no one was prepared for what happened next. Yehiel Dinur began to shout and sob, collapsing to the floor. Was he overcome by hatred? By the horrifying memories? By the evil incarnate in Eichmann's face?
No. As he later explained in a riveting 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace, it was because Eichmann was not the demonic personification of evil that Dinur had expected. Rather, he was an ordinary man, just like anyone else. And in that one instant, Dinur came to a stunning realization that sin and evil are the human condition. 'I was afraid about myself,' Dinur said. 'I saw that I am capable to do this ... I am exactly like he.'
Dinur's remarkable statements caused Mike Wallace to turn to the camera and ask the audience the most painful of all questions: 'How was it possible for a man to act as Eichmann acted? Was he a monster? A madman? Or was he perhaps something even more terrifying? Was he normal?
Yehiel Dinur's shocking conclusion? 'Eichmann is in all of us.'
 ↩ Ray Stedman comments well on this part of the verse saying:
'Frank Sinatra made a song popular a few years ago, "I Did It My Way." When you hear that it sounds like something admirable, something everybody ought to emulate. How proud we feel that we did it "our way." But when you turn to the record of the Scripture, you find that that is the problem, not the solution. Everyone is doing things "their way," so we have a race that is in constant conflict, forever striving with one another, unable to work anything out, because we all did it "our way."
 ↩ As Mattie Ross in the movie True Grit says 'You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free except the grace of God.' Too true!
Related Series Posts
- Chapter 40: Behold... Here is your God!
- Chapter 42: Behold my Servant
- Isaiah Chapter 43: God will make a way!
- Chapter 45: The Potter, the Clay & the Sovereignty of God
- Chapter 49: The Messiah's Mission
- Isaiah Chapter 50: The Calvary Road
- Isaiah 52 - Wake up you sleepy head
- Isaiah 52:15-53:3 - Start of the greatest passage in the Old Testament
- Isaiah 53:4-6 - The Substitute
- Isaiah 53:7-9 - The Trial, Death & Burial of the Messiah
- Isaiah 53:10 - The Messiah Crushed by the Lord
- Isaiah 53:11 - The Satisfaction of the Saviour
- Isaiah 53:12 - The Shared Inheritance of the Saviour
- Isaiah 55:6-9 - Seek the Lord while He may be found
- Isaiah 55:10-13 - God's Word Shall Not Return Void
- Isaiah 56:10-12 - The Who What Why What of Watchmen
- Isaiah 56:10-12 Part 2 - The Who What Why What of Watchmen
- Isaiah 57:15 - The High & Lofty One Who Inhabits Eternity
- Isaiah 59:14-16 - The trampling of truth and the salvation of God
- Isaiah 59:17-20 - The Redeemer of all Creation
- Isaiah 60:1-6 - Rise and shine in the last days!
- Isaiah 61 - Reasons for Rejoicing
- Isaiah 63 The Holy Spirit - Grieving or Pleasing?
- Isaiah 66:1-2 The Pursuit of Spiritual Lameness