We now turn to the most significant and mysterious passage in the Bible, known as the Suffering Servant Passage from the pen of Isaiah. It runs from Isaiah 52 and verse 13 through to 53, verse 12. It is clear that it is set out in five stanzas. This time we are dealing with the first stanza: a mysterious servant.
See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
Just as there were many who were appalled at him—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness—
so he will sprinkle many nations,
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand. (Isa 52:13-15)
This dramatic Hebrew prophecy here speaks of a servant of God –my servant – a servant who will act with wisdom and who will then be raised up and highly exalted.
Who is this one who can be spoken of in both the future and the past, the one to be highly exalted?
This servant, for the joy that was set before him, will endure so much that will be thrown at him, abuse, slander, anger, rejection, arrest, a kangaroo court, denial by friends, betrayal by a trusted one, false testimony, judgment, excruciating torment, unimaginable humiliation, total exhaustion and painful, slow execution.
This servant, is the one who serves, who waits upon the LORD, who listens for his orders, for his assignments and who is entrusted with the greatest of all tasks in the heavenly and earthly places. This is a task that demands the greatest wisdom and not the wisdom of the world! not the wisdom of men but the wisdom of God.
This task will involve the greatest, the ultimate sacrifice, the expenditure of his very life. His sacrifice will be so complete and so public, that countless many will be appalled at him and his lowliness, his servanthood, his self-giving for the living dead who look on him. For they will cause his beauty to be disfigured beyond that of any other human being ever, so marred that his humanity will be unrecognisable. He will allow them to ruin his perfect form.
But, incredibly, his offering, his suffering, his frightful experience and degraded condition, will have the supernatural effect of the sprinkling, the cleansing, the setting free, of many. Even kings will be speechless at what he has accomplished. But will they see, will they understand?
Many will see what has happened and will understand. You are reading this but do you see with your innermost eyes? You have heard about this, but do you understand, has it stricken your heart?