I have done a poor job of walking through Messianic prophesies this Advent season. I am on five and there are 226! However, we now come to the granddaddy of prophesies: Isaiah 53
1 Who has believed our messageand to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.Like one from whom men hide their faceshe was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmitiesand carried our sorrows,yet we considered him stricken by God,smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,each of us has turned to his own way;and the LORD has laid on himthe iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,yet he did not open his mouth;he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.And who can speak of his descendants?For he was cut off from the land of the living;for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,and with the rich in his death,though he had done no violence,nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,he will see his offspring and prolong his days,and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,he will see the light of life and be satisfied;by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,and he will divide the spoils with the strong,because he poured out his life unto death,and was numbered with the transgressors.For he bore the sin of many,and made intercession for the transgressors.
The New Testament references portions of Isaiah 53 repeatedly to make clear Christ’s fulfillment of every aspect of this important Messianic text. We stand on the shoulders of giants in our understanding of how these Old Testament scriptures relate and support the New Testament. We have the benefit of 2000 years of teaching and preaching.
Isaiah 53 and the other Messianic prophesies were critical to the early church, led by the Holy Spirit, grasping the import of Jesus, who he was, and why he died and rose again.
Thus, less than a generation after a man named Jesus died a criminal’s death on a Roman cross in an obscure Roman province, Christianity was emerging as an unstoppable force conquering the hearts of men–not through the sword but simply by the transmission of a story, the Word of God.