Isaiah 53: The Suffering Servant

(12 verses, 2:37 to read)


What I am about to READ

  • Isaiah 53 is a continuation of the Suffering Servant song, which began in Isaiah 52.


  • Vv. 1-3 continue the thought from the end of Isaiah 52 that the Messiah’s appearance is not, from man’s perspective, glorious. Instead, the Messiah would have a humble appearance and even be rejected by men.
  • Vv. 4-6 speak of the substitutionary atonement–that the Messiah would bear the sins of the world and suffer punishment in our place.
  • Vv. 7-9 are a prophecy of the circumstances surrounding the Messiah’s suffering and death .
  • Vv. 10-12 teach about the cause and result of the Messiah’s suffering.


  • Isaiah 53 is part of the Old Testament reading for Good Friday.
  • In the first few verses of this chapter, we get an insight into how we should rightly view the Messiah. Instead of a king surrounded with the pomp and circumstance that often accompanies earthly kingdoms, the Messiah is humble and lowly. This shows how the falleness of man cannot comprehend the things of God. We want a savior who is glorious and sends our enemies packing, but when we get a Messiah who comes to defeat death and hell by dying, our fallen nature wants to reject him.
  • The other rejection to which Isaiah draws our attention is God the Father’s rejection of the Son (v. 6b and 10a). Jesus prays Psalm 22 from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” This reaches beyond our ability to understand, for what father would reject his son? But this shows the true nature of our sin. God’s wrath over our sin is deadly serious.
  • The result of this is glorious. By bearing our sin and suffering the rejection of the Father, God no longer rejects us. St. Paul writes, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (II Corinthians 5:21).” This is what we call the vicarious or substitutionary atonement (see vv. 10-12 especially). Jesus bears the whole wrath of God on our behalf, and we are given everything Christ earned by His perfect obedience to the Father–namely, everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.
  • Even now, Isaiah tells us, Christ continues to make intercession for us before the Father. This means that our sins, both past and present, are no more. Jesus stands before the Father as the one who has died for our sins that we would not die forever. It is this priestly service that Jesus has made us righteous and thus extends our days into eternity, for where there is the forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.


  • Prayer: Christ, the life of all the living, Christ, the death of death, our foe, Who, Thyself for me once giving to the darkest depths of woe: through Thy sufferings, death, and merit I eternal life inherit. Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, dearest Jesus, unto Thee. Amen (LSB 420:1)

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:

-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

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