When does one know when a spiritual change needs to occur and some form of sacrifice needed to achieve that change? Sacrifice, as defined by Webster’s, is an offering. To this reader, sacrifice is an act of humility for a greater good. Throughout the second half of the book of Isaiah, the prophet Isaiah speaks out about sacrifice and how there must be a new way to renew the covenant established by Abraham (Gen 17). The Book of Isaiah Chapter 53 stands out as the single prophetic statement in the Old Testament that clearly outlines the coming sacrifice (offering) that will be made so that man can have a way to be reconciled to God, who by His very nature is perfect. Ever since man was cast out of Eden, God had sought and provided man a means to be reconciled to Him but man continued to sin. Some examples would be Noah and the flood to start over, destruction of the Tower of Babel, choosing His people through Abraham and establishing a covenant with Israel, Joseph helping them survive, and Moses’ liberation of the nation of Israel and His plea to God. The list of God’s reconciliation efforts unto Israel continues until a final solution occurs; an eternal, everlasting sacrifice that could only be given by God.
The Book of Isaiah is written in a narrative form. Isaiah tells of the history and corruption afflicting the Nation of Israel and the continual need for the citizens of Israel to repent and get straight with God. The ultimate sacrificial act for reconciliation plays out in the prophetic statement and solution found in Isaiah 53. This prophecy covered in Isaiah 53 actually begins in Chapter 52:13 which defines what will actually come about from our Lord’s arrival, life, and His ministry’s influence, “Kings will shut there mouths because of Him” (Isa 52:15 NIV). In an era where Kings ruled supreme, this statement needed to be made to contrast with how the Lord’s lowly entry came in and how powerful His ministry acted out.
As the fourth and final song of the four Servant’s songs in the latter of the book of Isaiah, this text is identified as a messianic prophecy. According to Fee and Stuart, “The prophets were covenant enforcing mediators” (Fee/Stuart 184). The book of Isaiah is considered a narrative. It has a narrator, Isaiah, along with a plot outlining the corruption and need of God in Judah and Israel. Finally, a true solution was to come, the prophecy of the coming of the Lord’s Servant. Although Isaiah, or Isaiah’s servant, wrote my chosen text in a poetic form, it still is considered a narrative due to the fact it contains a promise or prophecy of what is to come.
During the period this text was written, Israel was in complete chaos. Chapter 1 of The Book of Isaiah tells us of the four kings ruling Judah; beginning with Uzziah (cousin of Isaiah), next Jotham, then Ahaz, and finally ending with Hezekiah. Chapter 1 also tells about the anger of God with the people of Israel. Up until the time King Hezekiah initiated reforms during his reign (2 Kings 18-20), the citizens of Israel were practicing idolatry. A key point in this first chapter is how God was frustrated with those who brought no sacrifice, or meaningless offerings, to His altar. The nation of Israel had rejected God and His covenant and began to live their own way. God called on Isaiah to deliver Judah a message. Chronologically, the book of Isaiah begins with the judgment of God, then the call of Isaiah, the virgin birth, then the oracles, the prophecy of the exile of Judah and finally arrives the Israelites redemption from Babylon. Throughout chapters 40-55, we read numerous prophecies of what God will do and how He will save Israel, and the entire world, bringing us to my chosen text.
My chosen text is more than just a prophecy of the coming of God’s servant. The larger story line is that God is speaking of reestablishing His covenant through the coming of His servant. The nation is in...