You'll recall that Jesus said, the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. In John chapter 6, he said, I have come down from heaven not to do my will, but to do the will of him who sent me. So his whole life was wrapped up in serving the will of the Father to be the Savior.
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That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you. Okay, let's turn to Isaiah 53 as we tune in to hear Skip's message today. So a couple of days ago, my wife in the morning said something very interesting to me. I'd never heard her say this to me before.
She said, Skip, I don't hate you. Now, if I just left it at that, you would think that we've got some problems in our relationship. So I need to explain. The night before she had a dream. I was in that dream.
But let me back up. The evening before we had seen this television program, where a crime was solved. In this program, there was a mass murderer who had a very disturbing personality.
And they've solved the crime, they finally brought him to justice. Well, in her dream, you know how dreams are. So she projected in her dream, all of the poor qualities of this person onto me. So I was that guy when she woke up. And she was very angry.
And she kind of told me that she had this dream. But I went and I brought her coffee. And when I brought her coffee, she said, Skip, I don't hate you. I'm here to tell you, God doesn't hate you. He is not against you.
I grew up wondering if he wasn't against me because of the way he was portrayed by some. I don't know if you've ever tried this, but I used to do this from time to time where you watch a preacher on television, but you turn off the sound and you just watch him try to figure out what he's saying. It's humorous sometimes to turn back on the sound. I've caught some of them, you know, saying that God loves you and he has a wonderful plan for your life.
But turn off the sound and sometimes it's. I'm thinking, I think he's saying by his body language, God hates me and has a miserable plan for my life. But I just want you to know that Jesus is unlike anyone or anything else. He said that he came to seek and to save those who are lost. Isn't that a great promise?
To seek and to save those who are lost. Well, we are in Isaiah chapter 53. You will need a Bible to follow along with this. In Isaiah chapter 53, we have the quintessential messianic prophecy. It is the pinnacle of all Old Testament predictions fulfilled in the New Testament. One author said, Isaiah 53 contains unarguable, incontrovertible proof that God is the author of scripture and that Jesus is the fulfillment of messianic prophecy.
The details are so minute that no human could have predicted them by accident and no imposter could fulfill them by cunning. And yet this chapter penned by Isaiah 680 years before Jesus Christ. Theologians call it the Mount Everest of messianic prophecy. Charles Spurgeon said it is the Bible in miniature and the Gospel in essence. This chapter is the sum and the substance of the Gospel message. It is quoted by Jesus himself. It is referred to, get this, by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, First Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, First Peter, and First John. Do you think that the New Testament authors knew Isaiah 53 to be a messianic passage?
Absolutely they did. In fact, this was the passage, do you remember it, in Acts chapter 8 when the Ethiopian eunuch is paused by the side of the road and he's got a scroll opened up and Philip comes alongside of him and he happened to be reading this eunuch this chapter, Isaiah chapter 53. And he turned to Philip and he said, what does this mean?
Who is he speaking about? And it says that Philip from that moment preached Christ to him and through that little encounter the Ethiopian eunuch received Christ and was baptized. The chapter that is before us is known as a servant song, a servant song. There are four of them in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 42, 49, chapter 50, or parts of those chapters, and this chapter are the four servant songs of Isaiah. All of them are referring to Christ. There are five stanzas in this last servant song, the most famous of all, the most memorable of all, but we only have time to highlight some of the features. I want to show you six characteristics of the main character and that is the servant of the Lord. But let's read it, let's get oriented with it. Isaiah 53, it actually begins in 52 verse 13.
So if you don't mind, scoot back up. Some of the chapter divisions are unfortunate, and this is one of those places. Isaiah 52 verse 13, behold my servant shall deal prudently. He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high, just as many were astonished at you. His visage was marred more than any man, his form more than the sons of men. So shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at him, for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider.
Who has believed our report, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness, and when we see him there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from him.
He was despised and we did not esteem him. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before it shears is silent, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare his generation? For he was cut off from the land of the living, for the transgression of my people he was stricken. And they made his grave with the wicked, but with the rich at his death, because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him.
He has put him to grief. When you make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see the labor of his soul and be satisfied. By his knowledge, my righteous servant shall justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong.
Because he poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." What I want to do is skim over this and show you six characteristics of this one named the servant. The servant. First of all, he is a sovereign servant. That is, he is the Lord God, God the Father's own servant. He came to this earth primarily to serve the will of his father in redemptive history. You'll recall that Jesus said, the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. In John chapter 6, he said, I have come down from heaven not to do my will, but to do the will of him who sent me. So his whole life was wrapped up in serving the will of the father to be the savior.
Now I do want to warn you about something. You need to know that there is some dispute as to the identity of the servant in Isaiah chapter 52 and 53. Not everyone agrees with the fact that it is the Lord, and that is a fact. It is about the Lord Jesus.
You read it through with me. From the retrospect, knowing the New Testament, it's obvious, but not everybody agrees. And there's a couple of reasons why there's a dispute. Number one, because when Isaiah uses the term servant, he uses that term to refer to not just one person, but a few different people in the book of Isaiah. Sometimes he uses the term servant to refer to the nation of Israel.
They were supposed to be ones who served the Lord. Sometimes he uses it to refer to himself, Isaiah, the servant of the Lord. And at other times, in four places I mentioned, there's four servant songs, he uses it to refer to the Messiah. So because he uses different terms or the same term for different people, some don't agree this is the Messiah.
There's a second reason why there is a dispute. And that is because it is so obviously fulfilled in Jesus Christ that it has become an embarrassment to the Jewish community. As soon as Jesus rose from the dead after being killed and buried and resurrected like it is predicted in this section, many of the Jewish leaders ran from Isaiah 53 hard and fast.
It was pretty obvious. Because they knew that historically Isaiah 53, and I read copious amounts of literature to research this, the original interpretation by all the ancient Jewish sources was that Isaiah 53 is messianic. It is referring to the person of Messiah who was to come. In fact, one of the oldest translations of the Hebrew into Aramaic, the Targums, I mentioned them before, translates Isaiah chapter 52 verse 13 this way. Behold, my servant Messiah shall prosper.
It was unmistakable. This referred to the Messiah. This referred to the Messiah. But it's uncomfortable because if Jesus fulfilled all those prophecies and we don't believe in him, we have to come up with an alternative interpretation.
And they did. So it became common to take Isaiah 53, which had been interpreted previously as messianic, and say it must refer to Israel, the nation of Israel. One Jewish scholar, one author said, Isaiah 53 describes the history of the Jews, the despised nation of the world, persecuted by the Crusaders, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Nazis. These verses do not point to a Messiah. The real clincher came in the 11th century AD when a very famous rabbi named Rabbi Rashi, if you know Jewish literature, you know the name Rabbi Rashi. He definitely said Isaiah 53 refers to the Jewish nation, not to the Messiah. So that became the interpretation, but it wasn't always the interpretation. But now let me tell you why it can't refer to Israel.
Because as you read through Isaiah 53, there's no way it fits. First of all, Israel never suffered vicariously. That is, they never suffered for another nation. It wasn't that their suffering helped another nation. Number two, Israel never suffered voluntarily. Yes, they suffered, but nobody signed up for it.
Nobody said, yeah, I want to be persecuted by Adolf Hitler. And third, they never suffered silently like the servant in Isaiah 53 did. So yes, Isaiah refers to Israel as God's servant and to himself as God's servant, but he also refers uniquely to the coming Messiah, and this is one of those places. Oh, and by the way, this problem is solved in Isaiah 49.
You don't have to look it up, but write it down and look it up later. In Isaiah 49, which is the second of the four servant songs of Isaiah, in that chapter, the Lord God speaks to his servant, the Messiah, about his servant, Israel. It's very plainly those two servants are delineated in that single passage. So this is the sovereign servant of the Lord. This is God's servant.
This is Jesus. A second thing to make a note of is this is a sinless servant. Look at verse 9. They made his grave with the wicked, but with the rich at his death.
Remember, he was buried in Joseph of Arimathea's tomb because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. One translation puts it because he committed no sin, nor was there any deceit in his mouth. Remember what Jesus asked some of his detractors when there was a confrontation? He said, Which of you can convict me of sin?
That's a rhetorical question. The answer is nobody. Even Pontius Pilate said, I find no fault in him. And Paul the Apostle understood this when he, we touched on this verse last week. God made him, Jesus, who knew no sin to be sin for us. Jesus was sinless. He committed no sin.
He had no sin nature. Why is that important? It's important because it shows us the punishment he got, he didn't deserve. He paid a debt that he did not owe. There's a great story.
It's true. Back in the late 1800s, D.L. Moody, Dwight Lyman Moody, the evangelist, had a home in Northfield, Massachusetts. He used to hold Bible conferences back there. And leaders from all over the country, in fact, from all over Europe, would get on boats, on ships, and come to America to attend one of those conferences. So one time the place was packed, the grounds were filled with European visitors, guests, who were there to hear the world's only famous evangelist at the time, D.L.
Moody. Well, there's a European custom, and that is at night the gentlemen take their shoes off and they put them in the hallway. And during the night, a hall servant comes by, collects the shoes, cleans them, polishes them, and puts them back in front of the door in Europe.
But this is America. There are no hall servants in America. You clean your own stinking shoes, right? Well, Dwight L. Moody noticed that all the shoes were out in front of the door, so he collected them all.
He told some of his ministry students about it. They didn't have any time to do that. They had all sorts of excuses.
So D.L. Moody took those shoes to his own room and personally, one by one, pair by pair, cleaned and polished every pair of shoes, put them back in front of the doors. So when they opened their doors in the morning, they didn't think anything of it.
It was protocol in Europe. They saw cleaned, polished shoes. They put them on, and they went to the meeting where D.L. Moody was speaking. That's why they came. They had no idea that the one who became the hall servant was the evangelist they came to listen to. There was one man, one friend of Moody, who saw what was happening out of his window, and he told it to a few people.
By the end of the week, people were fighting over polishing those shoes. But Moody's esteemed position as conference leader and as evangelist made his service all the more dramatic and lovely. Think of Jesus now. Paul the apostle said he was God in human flesh, but he made himself of no reputation, taking on the form of a bond servant. That's the word he used, a bond slave. So his esteemed position as the sinless servant of God made what he was about to do all the more dramatic and lovely.
There's a third characteristic I want you to notice. He's a suffering servant. Go back to chapter 52. Look at verse 14. His visage was marred. His visage means his face, marred more than any other man and his form more than the sons of men.
Listen to that again from the living bible. They shall see my servant beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know it was a person standing there. Do you remember the crowd standing before Pontius Pilate? They wanted blood. They shouted, crucify him. Pilate thought he could placate them by just having Jesus beaten, so he handed him over to the Roman soldiers to scourge him. We told you before that a Roman scourging, sometimes people died from just that. There were two soldiers, a whip in each one of the soldiers' right hand usually. It was a short handle with leather strips. Embedded into the leather was pieces of glass, metal, bone. The idea is that when the whip went across the back of the victim, it stuck into the flesh and the soldier would pull back lacerating the flesh into ribbons. By the time it was done, the subcutaneous tissues had been broken through and one historian says even the vital organs could be viewed by those around. As I say, many did not even survive that.
When they brought Jesus back from the Roman scourging and he stood a second time before Pontius Pilate, Pilate said those famous words in Latin, esche omo, behold the man. As if to say, do you not now pity this poor bloodied creature? Have you not had enough of his punishment? But of course that wasn't it, was it? There was more. He was given a cross or the upper beam of the cross known as the patibulum, 75 to 100 pound beam placed on his back to carry to the place of execution. He didn't even make it all the way.
He had to have help from a man from North Africa who carried it the rest of the way. Isaiah, look at verse four of chapter 53. Look at some of the words to describe the suffering. Stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. Verse five, wounded, bruised, his stripes. In verse seven, oppressed and afflicted is again. Look at that phrase in verse seven, led as a lamb to the slaughter. Verse 10, the word bruise and the word grief. Now, as you see this in your mind's eye, it should take your breath away. That concludes today's message from the series Against All Odds.
Find the full message as well as books, booklets and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Right now, we want to share about a special resource that will help you answer the tough questions about the life, ministry and divinity of Christ. Is there archeological proof that Jesus existed? Did Jesus ever actually claim to be God? Is Jesus really the only way? There's a good chance you'll be asked tough questions like these at some point.
You may ask these questions yourself. That's why we want to send you Josh and Sean McDowell's new book, Evidence for Jesus, to help you answer crucial questions about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Was that truth challenged in the presence of knowledgeable witnesses, especially antagonistic witnesses? Peter on the truth phone, he says, men of Israel, listen to these words, you leaders, Jesus and Nazarene, a man attested to you, not just to us. See, he threw it right back and the antagonist said, attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs, which God performed through him in your midst, just as you yourselves know. I'll tell you this folks, if those antagonists had not seen those witnesses, miracles and signs, Peter would have been lucky to have made it out there alive.
Instead of what happened historically, thousands were added to the church. Evidence for Jesus will help you confidently answer tough questions like, is there evidence that Jesus was real? Did Jesus actually claim to be God? What makes Jesus unique from other religious figures? Did Jesus really rise from the dead?
And why does that matter? Evidence for Jesus by Josh and Sean McDowell will join classics like more than a carpenter and evidence that demands a verdict that have shaped Christian apologetics. We'll send you a copy of Evidence for Jesus as thanks for your gift of $50 or more this month to reach more people with the teaching and resources of Connect with Skip Heitzig. So be sure to request your copy of Evidence for Jesus today when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Did you know that you can now connect with Pastor Skip and this ministry via text messaging, simply text connect to 74759 to join the group. When you do, you'll receive a free digital booklet called, Are We Living in the Last Days? Get a glimpse into the last days and how you can be ready for them. So text connect to 74759 to join for on the go content. Come back tomorrow as Skip wraps up his message, The Survey. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
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