This is perhaps the best-known chapter in the Book of Isaiah. The Servant of the LORD will suffer and be rejected. That will lead to exaltation and glory.
NOTE: This text includes one of the four “Songs of the Suffering Servant” in Isaiah:
- Isaiah 42:1-17. Servant Song #1
- Isaiah 49:1-7. The LORD’s Servant will will evangelize the Gentiles
- Isaiah 50:4-6. The life of the Suffering Servant
- Isaiah 53:1-12. The Servant of the LORD
Isaiah 53:1. Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD’s arm been revealed?
John 12:38. that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, “Lord, who has believed our report? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
Romans 10:16. But they didn’t all listen to the glad news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”
VERSE 2. For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no good looks or majesty. When we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
NIV 1984 translation. He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
BBE translation. For his growth was like that of a delicate plant before him, and like a root out of a dry place: he had no grace of form, to give us pleasure;
he had no grace of form. Jesus Christ was not beautiful or handsome or majestic-looking. Of course, artists ignore this verse. They portray him as handsome.
When we see him. Most artists portray Jesus Christ as a caucasian with blond hair and blue eyes. However, he was actually a Jewish man born in the Middle East.
VERSE 3. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering and acquainted with disease. He was despised as one from whom men hide their face; and we didn’t respect him.
despised and rejected. Because he suffered, he was regarded as a sinner. Therefore he was despised and rejected.
a man of suffering. Most translations say he was “a man of sorrows.” The life of Jesus Christ was not happy-happy. He was despised and rejected. He was familiar with sorrow and grief. He was rejected.
Hebrews 5:8. though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered.
VERSE 4. Surely he has borne our sickness and carried our suffering; yet we considered him plagued, struck by God, and afflicted.
BBE translation. But it was our pain he took, and our diseases were put on him: while to us he seemed as one diseased, on whom God’s punishment had come.
he has borne our sickness. He carried our pain. The real weight of the cross was the sins of all humanity: of every person who ever has lived in the past, of all people who are alive right now, and of all people who will ever live.
carried our suffering. If you are free from sin, does Jesus deliver you from illness? And if you are not freed from your illness, are you still in sin?
Matthew 8:17. that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, “He took our infirmities, and bore our diseases.”
VERSE 5. But he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his wounds we are healed.
he was pierced for our transgressions. A fancy name for this idea concept is “substitutionary atonement.” Jesus suffered and died as a substitute for those who deserved it. The atonement he won is applied to us.
Here are 19 phrases in this chapter that support the theory of Substitutionary Atonement:
- despised and rejected by men
- despised as one from whom men hide their face
- we didn’t respect him
- he was pierced for our transgressions
- He was crushed for our iniquities
- The punishment that brought our peace was on him
- by his wounds we are healed
- the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all
- He was oppressed
- taken away by oppression and judgment
- it pleased the LORD to bruise him
- He has caused him to suffer
- the suffering of his soul
- My righteous servant will justify many by the knowledge of himself
- he will bear their iniquities
- he poured out his soul to death
- was counted with the transgressors
- he bore the sins of many
- made intercession for the transgressors
by his wounds we are healed. Do the wounds of Jesus Christ cure the ilnesses of all his followers?
VERSE 6. All we like sheep have gone astray. Everyone has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
NIV 1984 translation. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. To sin is to violate God’s will for us. It harms our relationship with God. We all have missed the mark and sinned. Here are the verses we’ve found »
VERSE 7. He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth. As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he didn’t open his mouth.
Isaiah 53:7. He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth. As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he didn’t open his mouth.
Mark 14:55. Now the chief priests and the whole council sought witnesses against Jesus to put him to death, and found none.
John 19:9. He entered into the Praetorium again, and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.
Acts 8:32. Now the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter. As a lamb before his shearer is silent, so he doesn’t open his mouth.
VERSE 8. He was taken away by oppression and judgment. As for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living and stricken for the disobedience of my people?
BBE translation. They took away from him help and right, and who gave a thought to his fate? for he was cut off from the land of the living: he came to his death for the sin of my people.
who gave a thought to his fate? Actually, “he died without descendants.” Jesus Christ did not have children. However, many people imagine that he did. In our day there is a popular novel by Dan Brown. It says Jesus Christ had children with Mary of Magdala.
Acts 8:33. In his humiliation, his judgment was taken away. Who will declare His generation? For his life is taken from the earth.”
VERSE 9. They made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
with a rich man in his death. The body of Jesus Christ was buried in a donated grave. It was the grave of the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea.
1 Peter 2:22. who didn’t sin, “neither was deceit found in his mouth.”
VERSE 10. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him. He has caused him to suffer. When you make his soul an offering for sin, he will see his offspring. He will prolong his days and the LORD’s pleasure will prosper in his hand.
the LORD … caused him to suffer. Is God the father planned and carried out extensive abuse on his only Son. Is God the Father a child-abuser?
he will see his offspring. Jesus Christ did not have children, not with Mary of Magdala or anyone else. However, he has countless billions of children. They are his billions of spiritual believers in every land.
VERSE 11. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light and be satisfied. My righteous servant will justify many by the knowledge of himself; and he will bear their iniquities.
He will bear all their sins. This is another example of the idea of substitutionary atonement. Jesus Christ took upon himself our sins, and then gave the benefits to us.
VERSE 12. Therefore I will give him a portion with the great. He will divide the plunder with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death and was counted with the transgressors; yet he bore the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors.
he bore the sins of many. Jesus Christ bore the sins of “many.” But what does the word “many” mean? Here are the two main opinions:
Many means All. In the Greek language of the New Testament, the word “many” is the opposite of “one.” This view is consistent with the overwhelming majority of other Bible verses.
Many means Some. In the Latin language of the Roman church, the word “many” does not mean “all.” It means “some.” This view says Jesus Christ died for “some” people, but not “all” people. It is based on the assumption that the Bible was written in Latin, which it was not.
This idea has two implications, neither of which are consistent with a Christian worldview:
- The suffering and death of Jesus Christ was impotent. It cannot save all people.
- Some people cannot be redeemed.
Mark 15:28. The Scripture was fulfilled, which says, “He was counted with transgressors.”
Luke 22:37. For I tell you that this which is written must still be fulfilled in me: ‘He was counted with transgressors.’ For that which concerns me has an end.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.