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“Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high” (Isaiah 52:13, NKJV).

“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” (Isaiah 53:5).

Between chapters 42 and 53, the book of Isaiah contains four “servant songs”—poems or songs that prophesy the coming Servant. The most well-known of these songs begin in 52:13 and continues through the 12 verses of chapter 53. This song seems to be arranged

in five parts, which someone has entitled destiny, career, suffering, submission, and reward. I would encourage you to read the whole thing today; it is a bit long to include in the bulletin.

“This song stresses the following major points about the Servant: a. His vicarious suffering; b. The importance of that suffering in God’s plan of salvation; c. His total obedience; d. His utter willingness to suffer, e. His sorrow and rejection by the people; f. The guilt of those rejecting Him; and g. His grand and glorious approval by God after suffering” (from the WVBS material on Isaiah).

This song perfectly and completely fulfills the life of Jesus Christ. But as you can see from the list above, there is more than just knowledge in advance of some events that will occur. The song also teaches theology that no one fully understood until the Son came. Let’s take a quick look at this marvelous song.

His destiny, 52:13-15. Despite the fact that people will see His visage marred more than any man, yet He will be exalted and extolled. This will ultimately be by both His Father and by His followers, of which you and I are numbered. I hope it gives you a wonderful feeling to think that as we gather for worship today, we, in part, fulfill what was said so many years ago.

His career, 53:1-3. Though God and many will one day exalt Him, in His own day, He will be despised and rejected. This will be His lot in life—to be acquainted with grief. He is pictured as just a tender plant out of dry ground. Nothing about Him physically to draw the attention or admiration of His people. He would not carry kingly glory from the world’s perspective. But of course, it is heaven’s perspective that matters—a fact of which we need constant reminding.

His suffering, 53:4-6. Man of sorrows, what a name! We have our own song to remind us of this. The suffering already alluded to is put forth in greater detail, but we must notice why He is suffering. It is not for His own sins; it is not for His own transgressions; but rather for those of others...for yours and mine and all the world’s. This is one reason why this song cannot refer to the nation of Israel or any remnant of it. In no sense could this ever be true of Israel (or of me!). And it is the Lord Who has done this. The Jewish leaders schemed, Judas betrayed, Pilate waffled, Herod mocked, the soldiers beat and crucified—but it is God Who is in control. It is God’s will being done.

His submission, 53:7-9. In spite of its unjustness, in spite of its terrible pain, this Servant will submit Himself to this purpose. He does not cry out, invoke His rights, or protest the lies and conspiracy. Knowing it must be so to save the world, He accepts His calling even to death, even to death on the cross. On that beautiful, ugly hill outside Jerusalem, love, justice, mercy, judgment, forgiveness, and evil all meet.

His reward, 53:10-12. His submission will be rewarded; His sacrifice will not be in vain; God the Father will be faithful. The Servant will see the fruit of His sacrifice in the souls of

just ones made perfect by His blood. God the Father will divide with the Servant a portion

of His greatness. He will be exalted on heaven and earth.

Today, we will gather once again. Let us in thankfulness and love exalt and extol the Servant of Jehovah, our Savior and King, Who loved us and washed us clean in His own fountain.

—John Ostic

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