Warning Signs | Don't Neglect Your Salvation, Day 4
Recognizing the lengths God went to in order to offer us the gift of salvation leads to praise and gratitude.
VERSE OF THE DAY
'Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.' Hebrews 2:18
Describe a sacrifice you have made in the past to achieve a personal goal or display an act of devotion. For example, have you ever celebrated Lent by giving something up? Or have you ever quit a habit, such as smoking or gambling? Who has ever given up a favorite junk food to lose weight?
What feelings and struggles did you experience during that period of sacrifice?
Today we will study prophecies in Isaiah 53 that predicted the greatest act of sacrifice ever made. On the cross, Jesus paid the debt of every sin in the history of mankind—even those that will take place in the future. Only the perfect Son of God could perform an act of sacrifice that would sufficiently satisfy God’s requirement for repayment. Our hearts should be overwhelmed by continual gratitude to Jesus for His sacrifice.
Read Isaiah 53:1-3
1 Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? 2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.3 He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Isaiah 53:1-3
How is the servant described in these verses?
A young plant growing up in dry ground would be withered, thus providing an appropriate image of the man of suffering. Just like a withered plant is uprooted and thrown away, so the Suffering Servant was rejected by men.
How do we know Isaiah’s words in this chapter referred prophetically to Jesus?
Read John 12:37-41
37 But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. 38 This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: “Lord, who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?” 39But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said, 40 “The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts—so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.” 41 Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. John 12:37-41
Many rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah, because He did not meet their expectations of how the Messiah would look or act.
The Suffering Servant is described physically as someone who had no form or splendor, and no appearance that we should desire Him. Isaiah referred to the Suffering Servant’s appearance as “repulsive”—one people turned away from, probably due to Jesus’s appearance on the cross.
The people in Isaiah 53 initially failed to recognize the true identity of God’s Suffering Servant, and these verses explain the reason for their disbelief.
Isaiah said that the people who saw the Servant would not value Him. How is Jesus despised and devalued today?
In what ways are you guilty of underestimating or rejecting Jesus? What can keep you from this type of thinking?
Jesus Christ was despised and rejected by men.
People’s rejection is due to their unwillingness to believe the truth of God’s Word.
People fail to see the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, and overlook the one Way in which God has provided for forgiveness of their sins.
Read Isaiah 53:4-6
4Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. Isaiah 53:4-6
“Our weaknesses” include our sickness and disease.
What price did God the Father pay for our sins? What price did Jesus pay?
Imagine the Father God suffering along with His son as He watched Him die on the cross, spiritually separated from Him in that moment. Imagine the agony of having to choose NOT to save your only child from this death. God could have intervened, brought the spiritual connection back and taken Jesus off the cross at any time. He could have prevented it altogether...but God loved the world so much that He continued in His decision to sacrifice His son, no matter the pain and suffering they BOTH endured.
What does it mean that Jesus was pierced and crushed for our iniquities? What do you think these verses teach about how seriously God views our sin?
Despite His earthly treatment, Jesus, as God’s Servant, fulfilled the plan for which God sent Him.
Jesus Christ did not bear His sins, for He had no sin.
He took the penalty for our sins past, present, and future. Our sins cost Jesus His physical life, and cost God’s Son unspeakable suffering and humiliation.
The idea of sin as sicknesses doesn’t mean we were forced to sin, and it doesn’t relieve us from guilt. Sin describes the nature we inherited from Adam as well as how we choose to live on a daily basis.
15This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15
Iniquity: (Oxford Languages) Immoral or grossly unfair behavior.
Synonyms: wickedness, sinfulness, immorality, impropriety, vice, evil, transgression
The Servant suffered on behalf of others but people did not recognize it, and He was rejected as One struck down by God for His own supposed sins.
Using only Isaiah 53:4-6, how would you explain Jesus’ purpose and mission to someone who had never heard of Him?
Read Isaiah 53:7-9
7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 8 Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. 9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
Oppression (Oxford Languages) Prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control; the state of being subject to unjust treatment or control; mental pressure or distress.
Synonyms: persecution, abuse, maltreatment, tyranny, exploitation, ruthlessness, brutality, injustice, suffering, pain, anguish, hardship.
What specific details of Jesus’ death were foretold by Isaiah in these verses?
Instead of “unjustly condemned”, the Greek version reads “He was humiliated and received no justice”. This is also the first time in scripture that the Servant’s suffering culminated in death.
The Servant died unjustly and was buried as if He were an evil man.
The pairing of the wicked with the rich man implies that the wealthy man got his riches by deceit. This may be confirmed by the final statement of the verse that the servant had not spoken deceitfully.
Jesus was literally buried with a rich man when He was placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (Look at Luke 23:50-56).
What do these verses tell us about the depth of God’s love toward us?
The death of the Suffering Servant was not just or fair, but the result of oppression and judgment.
The sinlessness of Jesus Christ was essential to His work to provide salvation, although in doing so, He became sin for us.
21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21
“To become the offering for our sin” is also translated “to become sin itself”
Jesus was executed as a criminal, and His body would have been disposed of like those of the two thieves. However, a wealthy follower named Joseph of Arimathea intervened and received the body of Jesus.
57 As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Matthew 27:57-60
The Son of God understood our sin problem, yet He willingly took the punishment for our sins. Those of us who understand even an inkling of the weight of Jesus’ sacrifice will want to show their gratefulness for what God did—both to Him and to others.
Though not suffering for His own sins, the Servant suffered silently and willingly.
Read Isaiah 53:10-12
10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. 11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. 12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. Isaiah 53:10-12
According to verse 10, who chose to make the Servant suffer? Why did God want His Servant to endure such terrible things?
“God was pleased to crush the Servant” sounds mean-spirited, but His pleasure is explained by the fact that the Servant’s suffering will justify many. What seems harsh will turn out to be gracious. The Servant’s pain, suffering, and death will be used as payment for sin (Lev. 5:14-6:7; 7:1-10).
What does this indicate about God’s love? What might it mean for your life?
Verse 10 looks at Jesus’ death from God’s standpoint. God sent His Son because there was no other way for us to be forgiven and have fellowship with Him.
The death of Jesus Christ was a restoration offering for sin.
Jesus paid the price for sin, and releases believers from the debt acquired by sin.
Jesus Christ knew He fulfilled the mission the Father gave to Him.
30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30
What evidence is there in your life that Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins was effective? In what ways are you reflecting His sacrificial spirit of grace to the world?
Returning to the theme at the beginning of the poem (v. 52:13), the suffering of the Servant will give way to His exaltation. Jesus’ suffering ended in the crucifixion, but gave way to the resurrection.
How should you respond to Jesus’ voluntary sacrifice on your behalf?
Remember that Jesus had free will just like we do.
After praying to God and recognizing that God’s will was for Jesus to die, he could have totally taken matters into his own hands and saved himself. He could have disappeared into the wilderness and never been crucified. He had every opportunity and option to turn away and reject the will of the Father. He didn’t. He volunteered his life for ours.
Name some areas of your life in which you may still need to voluntarily sacrifice some pleasure, indulgence, or pride. How will you seek help from God to overcome these problems?
For your closing prayer time, spend some time in quiet, reflective prayer. Jesus willingly identified with sinners, dying our death, in order that we can live. As you reflect on what Jesus has done for you, consider what you are willing to do for Him.