TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Isaiah 53
Isaiah: This man of dignity, faith, and fearlessness, a “major prophet” in every way, a spokesman of the Lord and prophet to the kings, picks up his quill and begins to write. He has written of national tragedy (the death of a king who has reigned for over 50 years) and of sticky political situations (Isaiah 36:2-22; 37:8). His is a strong pen (See 9:19). But his prevalent theme is salvation (incidentally his name means “salvation of Yahweh”). He is known as the Messianic prophet, and there is perhaps no more famous passage to that end than when he, moved of the Spirit, writes Isaiah 53.
Isaiah is quoted over 50 times in the New Testament, more often than any other Old Testament prophet. In fact, it is a roughly 700-year-old text from Isaiah that the Ethiopian eunuch is reading in Acts 8 when he is led to the Lord’s atoning grace. That text today, nearly 2,750 years old, still stirs our hearts toward the power of Jesus. It begins with a disarming description of one who we would not think we could be drawn to: “…a root out of dry ground…no form or majesty that we should look at Him…no beauty that we should desire Him…despised and rejected by men…a man of sorrows…acquainted with grief…as one from whom men hide their faces…despised” (vs. 2-3).
Why would men and women worship one so described? The reason is found in the rest of the prophecy. It shares the work of Christ with remarkable beauty and clarity over 600 years before Christ comes, and it draws us to love Him more, believe in Him more deeply, and praise God’s Spirit for these faith-building words: “…He has borne our griefs…carried our sorrows…smitten by God…afflicted…pierced for our transgressions…crushed for our iniquities…upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace…with His wounds we are healed (vs. 4-5).
Today, I will…sing a song of praise for the Lord’s atoning mercy.