Day 12: Isaiah’s Vision
“By His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11b).
Much of what follows immediately after the arrest of Jesus in the Gospel narratives of Good Friday will have a familiar ring to it for people who have read the book of Isaiah. Just as we will see in this series, when we read Psalm 22 we have little trouble picturing the scene at Calvary; when we read Isaiah 52 and 53, we can quickly envision the brutalization of Jesus in the trials and tortures He faces throughout the morning of that day. What is difficult is to fathom is that the descriptions of these scenes were written so far before the time Jesus experienced the actual events. If one does not believe in prophecy inspired by the Holy Spirit, I am not sure how one would rationalize such “coincidences” as we see here.
So vividly do these passages of Isaiah relate to the sacrificial death of Jesus, that some scholars think of Isaiah as the fifth gospel. Geoffrey Grogan says of Isaiah 53 that it, “speaks so eloquently of the work of Christ that even the inclusion of His name could add but little more to the extent of its disclosure of Him.” In fact, the passage is so glaring in its references to Jesus Christ, that it is omitted in the annual reading schedule in Jewish synagogues.
Martin Luther declared that every Christian ought to have the whole of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 memorized. In fact, it is from Isaiah 53 that Philip evangelized the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:35). Charles Spurgeon calls Isaiah 53, “A condensed Bible in this chapter,” and goes on to say, “This is one of the chapters that lie at the very heart of the Scriptures. It is the very Holy of holies of Divine Writ. Let us, therefore, put off our shoes from our feet, for the place whereon we stand is especially holy ground. This fifty-third of Isaiah is a Bible in miniature. It is the condensed essence of the gospel.”
It is a pity that so many Christians today do not spend much time in the Old Testament, and think of the books of the prophets as mere words of doom and judgment. Yes, they speak of the wrath of God unleashed on sin, but they also speak of the love of God poured out in the life of His Son.
• If you are not familiar with the book of Isaiah (or even if you are), I encourage you to take a moment and read 52:13-53:12. Underline or make some notes on what you see there which speaks to you about Jesus.
• Consider reading through the Old Testament with eyes which look for Christ. Pick a colored pen, pencil or highlighter and use it exclusively to mark passages that relate to these Whispers of Redemption.
Lord, the Old Testament cries out about Your love every bit as much as the New. Thank You for Your merciful warnings about the consequences of sin, as well as the hope and promise You give in those pages. Open my eyes to see!
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries
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