THE SUFFERING SERVANT
Most Christians know that Christ fulfilled Isaiah 53, many renown church leaders have explained the
scripture. Except for the Messianic Jews however, most Jews don't believe that Isaiah 53 was about
Christ. This interpretation is written for those unbelieving Jews, to show them that Christ fulfilled Isaiah
53 perfectly and to strengthen their brethren, the Messianic Jews, in their efforts to bring all Jews to
"And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the
heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to
them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more
at all: and David My servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also
walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them." (Ez. 37:21,22,24).
(I feel that I have a ministry to the Jews. I should perhaps add that my love for the Jews began when I was
young. Leon Uris' book, "Exodus," made me weep repeatedly and since then my soul has been knit to the
souls of the Jews.)
"Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" (Is. 53:1).
Shepherds believed the report of angels. "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the
field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the
glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear
not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born
this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall
find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a
multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the
shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to
pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph,
and the babe lying in a manger." (Luke 2:8-16).
The arm of the Lord was revealed to wise men from the east. "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of
Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying,
Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to
worship Him. And, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over
where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when
they were come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and
worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and
frankincense, and myrrh." (Matt. 2:1,2,9,10,11).
"For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor
comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him." (Is. 53:2).
Christ grew up before God as a tender (tender-hearted, God-loving) plant (seed chosen by God). "And
the Child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him. And
when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they
had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His
mother knew not of it. And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in
the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were
astonished at His understanding and answers." (Luke 2:40,42,43,46,47).
Christ was uprooted from the dangerous (dry, dangerous to plants) soil of Israel and hidden in Egypt, "as
a root out of a dry ground." "Behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise,
and take the young Child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word:
for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him. When he arose, he took the young Child and His
mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called My Son." (Matt. 2:13-15).
Christ was not beautiful, "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty
that we should desire Him." While men will rely on beauty of form and face to raise themselves in the
eyes of men, Christ had only the power given Him by the Holy Family. "And the Child grew, and waxed
strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him." (Luke 2:40). "And Jesus being
full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness... (Luke 4:1).
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were
our faces from him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not." (Is. 53:3).
Christ was "despised and rejected," His neighbors sought to kill Him. "And he came to Nazareth, where
He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and
stood up for to read... And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with
wrath, and rose up, and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city
was built, that they might cast Him down headlong. But He passing through the midst of them went His
way... (Luke 4:16,28-30).
Even one of the disciples "despised and rejected" Christ. "And the chief priests and scribes sought how
they might kill Him; for they feared the people. Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of
the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how
he might betray Him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he
promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him unto them in the absence of the multitude." (Luke 22:2-6).
Christ was "a man of sorrows," knowing of His end from the beginning. "From that time forth began Jesus
to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and
chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." (Matt. 16:21).
Christ was "acquainted with grief," particularly He grieved for Jerusalem, whose destruction He foresaw.
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how
often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her
wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." (Matt. 23:37,38).
From that day to this, most Jews have turned their back on His words, "we hid as it were our faces from
Him." They have reviled Him as a false prophet, and taught that He is unimportant, "He was despised, and
we esteemed him not."
"Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of
God, and afflicted." (Is. 53:4).
This verse contains a hidden reference to Christ's miracles. Christ lifted the grief of the survivors of the
three people that He resurrected: the father of a beloved daughter (Mark 5:35-43), a widow who lost her
only son (Luke 7:12-15), and His friends Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus (John 11:1-44).
Christ lifted the sorrows of countless others when He cured them of sickness and affliction. The New
Testament is full of incidents of healing by Christ and His disciples.
These miracles are hidden in the Old Testament scriptures. If they had been overt, the priests would
have accepted Christ. So Christ's miracles are almost hidden here and are only suggested in the signs
that God gave Moses to prove that God sent him to deliver Israel from bondage. (See No. 67, "Feed My
Lambs" and No. 92, "Yeshua And The Messianic Prophecies, Part 2, The Hidden Messiah.")
Because Christ's miracles were hidden, God was able to break the bonds between Judah and Israel, the
ten lost tribes. "And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto Me
two staves; the one I called Beauty (Christ), and the other I called Bands (the Mosaic Law); and I fed the
flock. Three shepherds also I cut off in one month (the three men most influential in causing the
crucifixion of Christ, the priests Annas and Caiaphas and the governor Pontius Pilate); and My soul
loathed them, and their soul also abhorred Me. Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die;
and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another (God
disowned Judah). And I took My staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder (let Christ be crucified), that I might
break My covenant (of mercy, see Exodus 20:6) which I had made with all the people. And it was broken in
that day (when Christ died): and so the poor of the flock that waited upon Me knew that it was the word of
the Lord (prophecy fulfilled). And I (Judas Iscariot) said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and
if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto
the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them
to the potter in the house of the Lord (Judas repented, see Matt. 27:2-10). Then I cut asunder Mine other
staff, even Bands (took the Mosaic Law from the Christian church), that I might break the brotherhood
between Judah and Israel." (Zech. 11:7-14). (For full details, see No. 44, "Zechariah 11, Estranging Israel.")
Why did God break the bonds between Judah and Israel? He set up a test to determine who among His
people is obedient. For Christians (Israel), the test is willingness to leave the cities and set up farms in
the countryside, accept the Mosaic Law and return to Israel when called. "Behold, I will take the children
of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring
them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel... they
shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them." (Ez. 37:21,22,24). For the Jews
(Judah), the test is acceptance of the Christians as Israel (the lost tribes), acceptance of Christ's King as
leader of all, and acceptance of Christ as the Messiah. "I will make them one nation in the land upon the
mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither
shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: and David My servant shall be king over them;
and they all shall have one shepherd..." (Ez. 37:21,22,24).
Returning to Isaiah 53:4, the prevailing attitude toward Christ at the time of His crucifixion was that God
was striking Him down for the sin of blasphemy, "we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and
afflicted." "And they that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest
the temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself. If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the
cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others;
Himself He cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will
believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of
God." (Matt. 27:39-43).
"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our
peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." (Is. 53:5).
Christ took the place of the innocent animals who were slain in the temple to intercede with God and take
away the sins of Israel. There are many sins in the Law of God punishable by death, for example: "every
one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death... (Lev. 20:9). In His Sacrifice, Christ
lifted the curse of sin and death from erring mankind. He took the curse upon Himself, and was punished
and died for the sins of all mankind.
Parts of this prophecy are repeated in Daniel 9. "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be
cut off (killed), but not for himself (for all mankind)... And He shall confirm the covenant (satisfy the
requirements of the Law and confirm its validity) with many (of the people of Judah) for one week (seven
years, 3 1/2 years personally before His crucifixion, 3 1/2 by His disciples after): and in the midst of the
week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease (by presenting Himself as an offering for sin
and being crucified)..." (Dan. 9:26,27).
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on
Him the iniquity of us all." (Is. 53:6).
Every person has sinned, gone astray from God and His Law. Christ, in His role of Passover Lamb, has
borne the sin of all men, "the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
"He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet he opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the
slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth." (Is. 53:7).
Christ, who was an innocent man, did not open His mouth to stop His death. "And Jesus stood before the
governor: and the governor asked Him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him,
Thou sayest. And when He was accused of the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then said
Pilate unto Him, Hearest Thou not how many things they witness against Thee? And He answered him to
never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly." (Matt. 27:11-14).
"He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off
out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken." (Is. 53:8).
First Christ was imprisoned and questioned by the priests, then taken to Pilate to be judged,"He was
taken from prison and from judgment." (See John 18:24,28.) His disciples over the centuries were the
generation that declared that Christ had been crucified to bear the sins of all mankind, "who shall declare
his generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He
stricken." "A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come,
and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that He hath done this (died on the
cross for the sins of others)." (Ps. 22:30,31).
"And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no
violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth." (Is. 53:9).
Christ was placed in a grave like any other sinning man, "He made his grave with the wicked." Christ was
lain in a rich man's tomb. "When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named
Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: he went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then
Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a
clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a
great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed." (Matt. 27:57-60).
Joseph of Arimathaea chose to give his tomb to Christ because Christ was a man of beautiful character,
"because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth."
"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering
for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His
hand." (Is. 53:10).
Despite the perfection of Christ's character, God used him as an offering for sin, "yet it pleased the Lord
to bruise him; he hath put him to grief... (and made) his soul an offering for sin..." When Christ was given
as an offering for sin, God blessed the seed that declared Him, "He (God) shall see His seed." As God
raised Christ to heaven, so He will reward those who declare Christ to mankind, "He shall prolong His
days." God wishes to bring the lost sheep of the house of Israel back into the fold, this will be
accomplished by Christ and those who declare Christ, "the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His
"He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall my righteous
servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities." (Is. 53:11).
Christ, in His suffering, was Our Perfect Sacrifice, sufficient to justify repentant sinners through all the
ages before God.
"Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He
bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Is. 53:12).
In the Kingdom of the saints of the Most High, Christ will sit on an earthly throne as High King, "therefore
will I divide Him a portion with the great." Christ will accept the gain as the Holy Ghost and the hosts of
God trample down the wicked, "He shall divide the spoil with the strong." "Arise and thresh, O daughter
of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many
people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole
earth." (Micah 4:13).
These things are Christ's reward because He died on the cross between two thieves, "because He hath
poured out his soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors." Because of His sacrifice,
men can make reconciliation with God, "and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the
Amo Paul Bishop Roden