Sermon Summary | "Tell Them That Again"

On Resurrection Sunday, C.J. reoriented our gaze upon Jesus, the suffering Servant. Drawing from Isaiah 53:1-10, we are reminded afresh of the gospel through a suffering substitute. Below is the outline and summary of his sermon, Tell Them That again.

Outline:

1. Appearance of the Suffering Servant (Isa 53:1-3)

2. Reality of the Suffering Servant (Isa 53:4-6)

3. Significance of the Suffering Servant (Isa 53:10)

Summary:

1. Appearance of the Suffering Servant (Isa 53:1-3)

Isaiah 53 opens with two questions, which function rhetorically to draw the reader into the poem. It begins with the prophetic cry, “who has believed what he has heard from us?” followed by the second provocation, “to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? (53:1) J. Alec Motyer concludes, “The true reply to the first question therefore, is ‘No-one,’ and the second question purposes to explain why this is so. There can be no belief without prior divine revelation; on the basis of human observation alone there is no discernment of who the Servant really is” (Motyer, The Prophecy of Isaiah, 427).

The proclamation of God’s message falls on deaf ears and hard hearts apart from divine disclosure. Thus, the power of God (i.e., the “arm of the LORD”) is on display. However, the revelation of God’s strength is described in unimpressive and unpromising terms. Paradoxically, God’s strength appears in a suffering Servant. He is described as a “young plant” and a “root from dry ground” (53:2a); he has no form of “majesty” or “appearance” that would appeal to our attention. Truly, he is a “man of sorrows” and “acquainted with grief” (53:3).

2. Reality of the Suffering Servant (Isa 53:4-9)

In Isaiah 53:4-6 the reader is drawn further into story of the Servant and his suffering. The poem’s vivid imagery details his suffering for our sins as our substitute. Surely, the Servant is depicted with imagery that highlights his undergoing of suffering and pain. Nonetheless, such suffering is not owing to his transgression, but on behalf of a disobedient people that have turned from God like a wandering flock (53:6). He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (53:5). Furthermore, he suffers for our sin as our substitute. The innocent Servant himself becomes a slaughtered “lamb” and “guilt offering” for the salvation of his wayward flock (53:7-10; cf. Lev 16).

3. Significance of the Suffering Servant (Isa 53:10)

The Servant’s suffering finds its deepest significance in the purpose of God. Verse 10 makes explicit, “it was the will [literally, the “delight”] of the LORD to crush him.” The righteous One bears the iniquities for the unrighteous, so that they may share in the inheritance of God’s blessing (53:10b-12). God sovereignly sends his Servant to suffer as a substitute for a sinful people: this is God’s delight; this is God’s purpose. The fullest expression of God’s purpose is fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the suffering Servant. Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus suffered for our sin as our substitute—“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet 2:24).

 

[by Andrew Preston]