In my last post, we learned about Adonai Commands Tziyon to Wake Up in Yesha’yahu 52:1-12. In this post, we will begin to examine one of my favorite – if not my most favorite – passages in the Tanakh: The Suffering Servant in Yesha’yahu 52:13-53:12. In this mini-series, I am going to present this passage a little differently than I have been doing. First, I want to offer some background information on why this passage is one of my favorites and why it can be a great witness to your Jewish neighbors. Secondly, I want to present the whole reading before we dig into its significance on a verse-by-verse basis.
SPECIAL NOTE: Unlike my normal schedule, I will be posting this 14-part series daily.
Introduction to The Suffering Servant
This passage is a great evangelistic tool to reach your Jewish neighbors because it is from their side of the Book. Most Jews don’t want to hear about Yeshua because it has been drummed into their thinking that He is not the promised Messiah. Given their history over the centuries, Christians haven’t exactly done them any favors – think the Crusades and Inquisitions.
The problem is that most Jews have never heard or read this passage. Like several Christian denominations, Jewish synagogue services are liturgical. There is a set reading schedule through passages of scripture each year. In the synagogue, the plan includes reading through the entire Torah (Genesis thru Deuteronomy) and the Haftarah. The Haftarah includes selected readings through the prophets. The passage we are addressing is conspicuously not included in the Haftarah. The assigned reading Yesha’yahu 52:12 and picks back up at Yesha’yahu 54:1 the next week.
Many Jewish believers don’t want to hear about the Brit Hadashah. If you’re going to talk about the Messiah, you must use the Tanakh. When this passage is presented to them, they immediately assume it is not in the Tanakh, but the Brit Hadashah. If the Apostles could win souls by quoting the Tanakh, we should be able to as well.
Rabbi Sha’ul states: For I am not ashamed of the Good News since it is God’s powerful means of bringing salvation to everyone who keeps on trusting, to the Jew especially, but equally to the Gentile. ~ Romans 1:16 (CJB) Instead of especially, other translations say, to the Jew first. That is the foundation of my ministry.
Isaiah 52:13-15 to 53:1-12
13 See how My servant will succeed! He will be raised up, exalted, highly honored! 14 Just as many were appalled at Him because He was so disfigured that He didn’t even seem human and simply no longer looked like a man, 15 so now He will startle many nations; because of Him, kings will be speechless. For they will see what they had not been told, they will ponder things they had never heard.
1 Who believes our report? To whom is the arm of Adonai revealed? 2 For before Him He grew up like a young plant, like a root out of dry ground. He was not well-formed or especially handsome; we saw Him, but His appearance did not attract us. 3 People despised and avoided Him, a man of pains, well acquainted with illness. Like someone from whom people turn their faces, He was despised; we did not value him. 4 In fact, it was our diseases He bore, our pains from which He suffered; yet we regarded Him as punished, stricken and afflicted by God. 5 But He was wounded because of our crimes, crushed because of our sins; the disciplining that makes us whole fell on Him, and by His bruises we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, went astray; we turned, each one, to his own way; yet Adonai laid on Him the guilt of all of us. 7 Though mistreated, He was submissive – He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to be slaughtered, like a sheep silent before its shearers, He did not open His mouth. 8 After forcible arrest and sentencing, He was taken away; and none of His generation protested His being cut off from the land of the living for the crimes of My people, who deserved the punishment themselves. 9 He was given a grave among the wicked; in His death, He was with a rich man. Although He had done no violence and had said nothing deceptive, 10 yet it pleased Adonai to crush Him with illness, to see if He would present Himself as a guilt offering. If He does, He will see His offspring; and He will prolong his days, and at his hand, Adonai’s desire will be accomplished. 11 After this ordeal, he will see satisfaction. By His knowing [pain and sacrifice], My righteous servant makes many righteous; it is for their sins that He suffers. 12 Therefore, I will assign Him a share with the great, He will divide the spoil with the mighty, for having exposed Himself to death and being counted among the sinners, while actually bearing the sin of many and interceding for the offenders.
Of late, I have wanted a publisher of one of the more modern translations of the Bible to publish the Scriptures in chronological order (which would require multiple books at times in the Tanakh and the Gospels) without chapters or verses, just paragraphs. That way, we could read it as a developing story. Several authors I have read believe that this is the only way to read Rabbi Sha’ul’s letters.
For a more extensive study on this passage and how to share its contents with your Jewish neighbor, I would highly recommend to you “Isaiah 53: Explained” by Dr. Mitch Glasser, President of Chosen People Ministries. His book is available on their website as well as Amazon.
In my next post, we will continue a verse-by-verse examination of The Suffering Servant ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 52:13-53:12. I will also be quoting extensively from the Brit Hadashah stating how Yeshua is the only logical Suffering Servant.
I have decided to forgo my standard publishing days of Sunday and Wednesday and publish this mini-series on consecutive days. There are 14 posts in the Suffering Servant mini-series.