The Suffering Servant, Part 1
Lesson 16 | Sabbath, 16 April 2022
“How unmistakably plain were Isaiah’s prophecies of Christ’s sufferings and death!… 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. 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…. Even the manner of His death had been shadowed forth.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 225, 226.
1. According to the prophet Isaiah, how many would believe in the revelation and miraculous works of God’s Servant? Who would recognize God’s power to save man?
Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
John 12:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
“The entire system of the Jewish religion was the gospel of Christ presented in types and symbols. Then how inappropriate was it for those who were under the Jewish dispensation, to reject and crucify Him who was the originator and foundation of what they claimed to believe. Where did they make their mistake? They made their mistake in not believing what the prophets had said concerning Christ, ‘That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?…’
“It is not God that puts the blinder before the eyes of men or makes their hearts hard; it is the light which God sends to His people, to correct their errors, to lead them in safe paths, but which they refuse to accept–it is this that blinds their minds and hardens their hearts.” –Review and Herald, October 21, 1890.
AS A ROOT OUT OF DRY GROUND
2. How would the Lord’s faithful Servant grow before Him? Would He have special beauty to attract people’s attention?
Isaiah 53:2 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.
Revelation 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
“These words [Isaiah 53:1-3] do not mean that Christ was unattractive in person. In the eyes of the Jews, Christ had no beauty that they should desire Him. They looked for a Messiah who would come with outward display and worldly glory, one who would do great things for the Jewish nation, exalting it above every other nation on the earth. But Christ came with His divinity hidden by the garb of humanity, unobtrusive, humble, poor. They compared this man with the proud boasts they had made, and they could see no beauty in Him. They did not discern the holiness and purity of His character. The grace and virtue revealed in His life did not appeal to them.
“… This chapter should be studied. It presents Christ as the Lamb of God. Those who are lifted up with pride, whose souls are filled with vanity, should look upon this picture of their Redeemer, and humble themselves in the dust. The entire chapter should be committed to memory. Its influence will subdue and humble the soul defiled by sin and uplifted by self-exaltation.” –(The Youth’s Instructor, December. 20, 1900) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1147.
3. How did men treat God’s Servant? How respectful were they of Him? In comparison to how human beings generally respond to provocation, how did He react to pain and suffering?
Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and re- jected 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.
Psalm 22:6, 7 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head.
“Think of Christ’s humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. He took our sorrows, bearing our grief and shame. He endured all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple. ‘The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,’ because by so doing He could associate with the sinful, sorrowing sons and daughters of Adam.” –(The Youth’s Instructor, December 20, 1900) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1147.
TAKING MAN’S PAIN AND SUFFERING
4. What griefs and sorrows did the Scriptures prophesy that He would bear? What erroneous assessment did people make when they saw Him stricken and afflicted, even though they did not understand what was happening to Him?
Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Matthew 8:16, 17 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
“It was generally believed by the Jews that sin is punished in this life. Every affliction was regarded as the penalty of some wrongdoing, either of the sufferer himself or of his parents…. Hence one upon whom some great affliction or calamity had fallen had the additional burden of being regarded as a great sinner.
“Thus the way was prepared for the Jews to reject Jesus. He who ‘hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows’ was looked upon by the Jews as ‘stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted;’ and they hid their faces from Him. Isaiah 53:4, 3.
“God had given a lesson designed to prevent this. The history of Job had shown that suffering is inflicted by Satan, and is overruled by God for purposes of mercy. But Israel did not understand the lesson. The same error for which God had reproved the friends of Job was repeated by the Jews in their rejection of Christ.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 471.
5. For whom was He wounded and bruised? For what crimes did He pay a very high price? What punishment did He accept? Why was He beaten?
Isaiah 53:5 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.
Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.
“What a theme for meditation is the sacrifice that Jesus made for lost sinners!… How shall we estimate the blessings thus brought within our reach? Could Jesus have suffered more? Could He have purchased for us richer blessings? Should it not melt the hardest heart when we remember that for our sakes He left the happiness and glory of heaven and suffered poverty and shame, cruel affliction and a terrible death? Had He not by His death and resurrection opened for us the door of hope, we should have known nothing but the horrors of darkness and the miseries of despair. In our present state, favored and blessed as we are, we cannot realize from what depths we have been rescued. We cannot measure how much deeper our afflictions would have been, how much greater our woes, had not Jesus encircled us with His human arm of sympathy and love, and lifted us up.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 316.
6. How far did man go from God’s path when he went astray? How aware are human beings of their real moral condition? What person would be willing to accept the consequences of other people’s faults?
Isaiah 53:6 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.
Psalm 119:176, first part I have gone astray like a lost sheep….
“He would give His life for the world, which is represented as the one lost sheep that had strayed from the fold, whose guilt as well as helplessness was charged against them and stood in the way, hindering their return.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 283.
“The human family are in trouble because of their transgression of the Father’s law. But God does not leave the sinner until He shows the remedy for sin. The only-begotten Son of God has died that we might live. The Lord has accepted this sacrifice in our behalf, as our substitute and surety, on the condition that we receive Christ and believe on Him. The sinner must come in faith to Christ, take hold of His merits, lay his sins upon the Sin Bearer, and receive His pardon. It was for this cause that Christ came into the world. Thus the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the repenting, believing sinner.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 215.
NOBODY CONSIDERED FROM WHOM HE SUFFERED
7. Did Jesus react in a discontented, complaining manner, or did He remain silent before the ones who judged and condemned Him? In whose hands did He place the physical abuse when He was struck by His persecutors?
Isaiah 53:7 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.
Acts 8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth.
1 Peter 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.
“Not one word did Jesus answer to all this. While the nails were being driven through His hands, and the sweat drops of agony were forced from His pores, from the pale, quivering lips of the innocent Sufferer a prayer of pardoning love was breathed for His murderers: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ All heaven was gazing with profound interest upon the scene. The glorious Redeemer of a lost world was suffering the penalty of man’s transgression of the Father’s law. He was about to ransom His people with His own blood. He was paying the just claims of God’s holy law. This was the means through which an end was to be finally made of sin and Satan, and his host to be vanquished.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 208, 209.
FOR ADDITIONAL STUDY
“God has given us sufficient evidence of His love, and we are not to doubt His goodness because we cannot understand the workings of His providence. Said the Saviour to His disciples, foreseeing the doubts that would press upon their souls in days of trial and darkness: ‘Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.’ John 15:20. Jesus suffered for us more than any of His followers can be made to suffer through the cruelty of wicked men. Those who are called to endure torture and martyrdom are but following in the steps of God’s dear Son.” –The Great Controversy, p. 47.
“But He who was to suffer death at the hands of evil men was to rise again as a conqueror over sin and the grave. Under the inspiration of the Almighty the Sweet Singer of Israel had testified of the glories of the resurrection morn. ‘My flesh also,’ he joyously proclaimed, ‘shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell [the grave]; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.’ Psalm 16:9, 10.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 227.