THE SUFFERING SERVANT KING – 2
He was despised so we would be comforted.
Dear fellow redeemed: Last week we talked about the Glory of the Lord, His victory, and our sharing in it. The victory is over sin, and the death which we deserve. The Servant of the Lord is victorious, and He brings us into glory.
The church is to rejoice in its victory: Isaiah 52:9–10 (CSB) 9 Be joyful, rejoice together,
you ruins of Jerusalem!
For the Lord has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has displayed his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations;
all the ends of the earth will see
the salvation of our God.
In our text last week, Isaiah revealed how this is done. Shockingly! The servant of God descends into the depths to lift us up. Now Isiah elaborates: Isaiah 53:1–4 (CSB)
Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a young plant
and like a root out of dry ground.
He didn’t have an impressive form
or majesty that we should look at him,
no appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from;
he was despised, and we didn’t value him.
4 Yet he himself bore our sicknesses,
and he carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
This song, you understand, is YOUR song. We are the ones recounting our life of faith. To start with, we cling to the theology of glory (Remember this term!). The theology of glory is the idea that because God is good and powerful, the church can expect to be glorious and powerful in this world, and the Messiah would establish His power and glory over the world.
But the suffering servant-king (Jesus) turns out to be a nobody. Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
. 2 He grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at him, no appearance that we should desire him.
If we need a rescuer, don’t we want somebody powerful? When we need help, do we call somebody who seems weak? Jesus is just a twig, and we want a towering Cedar of Lebanon.
Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?
Can anything good come out of Nazareth?
Along with this is the idea that people get what they deserve. What does this mean for the suffering servant-king? 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him.
This is a picture of the rejection and disgust due to someone who had broken the laws of Moses with some abomination or other. Send him away! Don’t even look at him! People believe in “karma,” the idea that there is a particular retribution for a particular sin. See someone suffering and know that they are getting what they deserve.
That is how Jesus was treated. They saw what happened to him and thinking Him evil, they turned away.
The theology of glory despises Christ. This is where we were, and where many are today. Religious groups (“Christian churches”) offer promises of victorious living. 7 steps to emotional freedom. 6 pathways to personal peace. 5 principles of prosperity. 4 keys to living up to your potential. Etc.
But Jesus gathered people around Him who were broken and sinful and hurting. They couldn’t rise above their poverty, their sickness, their weaknesses or their mortality. When Rome surrounded Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D., they didn’t rise up and throw off the oppressors. They fled with little or nothing. You and I are like that. We haven’t overcome our weaknesses. We have lost loved ones and our hearts are not yet mended. We have regrets – things done which cannot be undone, things said that cannot be unsaid. We have people in our lives who are sick and may never get well, in conflict and may never be at peace.
This is the suffering that is in the world because of our sin.
The suffering servant king gave a foretaste our rescue. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, gave sight to the blind hearing to the deaf, and He raised the dead. But with all that show of might and power, He still suffered. How could that be?
Do you know what you deserve because of your sins? You deserve regrets, disappointments, a life without love – despised and rejected. What if people knew your worst thoughts or needs, wouldn’t they turn away from you?
This is what Jesus suffered because He bore our sins. It is in understanding this that we understand the Christian faith and the theology of the cross. 4 Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
What he suffered was what our sins deserved, not just on the cross, but in his sore feet, in a bad cold or the stomach flu. He suffered cold nights, long hard days, resentment, rejection, scorn, and all the other afflictions of sinners, though He is righteous. He lived out what we deserve, to what He deserves awaits us.
I can say that a bunch of ways, but you and I need to mull it over. He gave a glimpse of our deliverance, a hint of what awaits us because He shouldered our sickness and pain. I can assure you – indeed Isaiah is speaking to you who know it already – as He carried your sin, the glory of heaven, His glory, is in store for you.