Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Isaiah 53: an introduction

Holy Tuesday

Matthew Henry gave a very good introduction to Isaiah 53:
    The two great things which the Spirit of Christ in the Old Testament prophets testified beforehand were the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow, 1Pe 1:11. And that which Christ himself, when he expounded Moses and all the prophets, showed to be the drift and scope of them all was that Christ ought to suffer and then to enter into his glory, Luk 24:26, Luk 24:27.

    But nowhere in all the Old Testament are these two so plainly and fully prophesied of as here in this chapter, out of which diverse passages are quoted with application to Christ in the New Testament. This chapter is so replenished with the unsearchable riches of Christ that it may be called rather the gospel of the evangelist Isaiah than the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah.

    We may observe here,

    I. The reproach of Christ's sufferings - the meanness of his appearance, the greatness of his grief, and the prejudices which many conceived in consequences against his doctrine (Isa 53:1-3).

    II. The rolling away of this reproach, and the stamping of immortal honour upon his sufferings, notwithstanding the disgrace and ignominy of them, by four considerations:
    1. That therein he did his Father's will (Isa 53:4, Isa 53:6, Isa 53:10).
    2. That thereby he made atonement for the sin of man (Isa 53:4-6, Isa 53:8, Isa 53:11, Isa 53:12), for it was not for any sin of his own that he suffered (Isa 53:9).
    3. That he bore his sufferings with an invincible and exemplary patience (Isa 53:7).
    4. That he should prosper in his undertaking, and his sufferings should end in his immortal honour (Isa 53:10-12).

    By mixing faith with the prophecy of this chapter we may improve our acquaintance with Jesus Christ and him crucified, with Jesus Christ and him glorified, dying for our sins and rising again for our justification.
Picture by Benjamin Earwicker

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