But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. — Isaiah 53:5
During World War II, the SS Dorchester, carrying 903 servicemen, was headed over the Atlantic during the winter. One night a German torpedo hit the ship and the men realized it was going down. As men ran for lifeboats, a young GI came up to one of four chaplains and said he had lost his lifejacket. The chaplain handed the man his own lifejacket and said, “Take this.” Before long, the other three chaplains did the same. Then the chaplains linked their arms and prayed aloud as the ship went down into the icy waters.
An exchange took place that night, an exchange of something valuable. In those moments, lifejackets and lifeboats were the most priceless items available. Money, material possessions, prestige — things that usually seem valuable — were worthless. Each of those chaplains made a heroic exchange when he gave his life to save another man.
In today’s focus verse, Isaiah prophesied of a day when an exchange would be made. Jesus Christ would give His life, not to save one man, but to provide salvation for the whole human race. As God’s Son, His Blood was pure and, consequently, by far the most valuable commodity upon the earth. When His Blood was shed on Calvary, He made the exchange for us that nothing in this world — money, houses, lands, fame, or power — could buy. The price was more than giving His life. He took on Himself the transgressions and iniquities of every person throughout all the years of time.
What thanksgiving should be in our hearts as we try to fathom the infinite price of our redemption! Without question, the four men who received lifejackets on the sinking ship appreciated the chaplains’ sacrifices every time they thought of it. Yet those heroic actions could only save lives, not souls. How much more grateful we should be that Jesus gave His life for our sins!
One writer says of today’s passage that it is “holy ground.” It is one of the most beautiful prophesies about the Messiah in all of Scripture, and it is referenced in the New Testament more often than any other chapter of the Old Testament.
Isaiah 52:13 indicates the Servant (the Messiah) would be “exalted and extolled, and be very high.” The three-part description emphasized the magnitude and certainty of the prophecy. Some commentators feel it may also refer to the Lord’s resurrection, ascension, and place at God’s right hand.
The prophet foretold that Jesus’ appearance (visage) would be “marred” (verse 14) — He would be so beaten and disfigured that He would hardly be recognizable as a human being. After He had offered His life, He would “sprinkle many nations.” This referred to how the Old Testament priests sprinkled blood to achieve ritual purity. By His death, Christ offers atonement for the sins of the whole world. Consequently, the people of the world, including kings and leaders, will be speechless at God’s love which Christ demonstrated through His death.
The people of Christ’s day would reject His message, refuse His person, and misunderstand His mission. However, His vicarious suffering — the Innocent One who died instead of the guilty — brought salvation to mankind. Jesus faced suffering, He died, and was buried, but the end result would be His exaltation.
The reference, “no form nor comeliness” indicated that the Messiah would be a common person, not royalty. He would come as a man; He would not make an appearance with the fanfare of a king.
Jesus Christ was not only the substitute for man’s sin, but Isaiah indicates in this Scripture that He also bears our griefs and sorrows.
Wounded means “pierced through” — the nails pierced His hands and feet, and the soldier’s spear pierced His side. Bruised means “crushed” — the burden of mankind’s sin crushed the Lord. Yet Christ suffered all this silently, without resistance. He was “brought as a lamb to the slaughter,” the fulfillment of the thousands of Old Testament sacrifices, the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world.
Isaiah detailed with incredible accuracy the events of Jesus’ death. “He was taken . . . from judgment” — His trials were illegal. “He was cut off” indicated a violent death. His grave was “with the wicked” when He was crucified between two thieves. Criminals in the time of Christ did not receive an honorable burial, but Jesus was “with the rich in his death” when He was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
The chapter closes with the result of the Messiah’s sufferings and His exaltation. Christ was victorious in conquering sin. Therefore, every sinner who repents can be accepted by God.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The message of consolation: The Holy One of Israel comforting, redeeming and enriching
B. The person of the deliverer (redemption)
5. The passion of the servant (52:13 — 53:12)
a. The exaltation of the servant (52:13-15)
b. The rejection of the servant (53:1-3)
c. The suffering of the servant (53:4-9)
(1) His suffering (53:4-6)
(2) His submission (53:7-9)
d. The recompense of the servant (53:10-12)
(1) His satisfactory sacrifice (53:10-11)
(2) His allotted portion (53:12)
We see that Jesus fulfilled the prophecy given to Isaiah in chapter 53. God made a way for everyone to receive eternal life by believing in the sacrifice of His Son.