Theme: Jesus’ Exemplary Life and Divine Commissioning
This week’s lessons explain how Isaiah 53 clearly points to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Suffering Servant who would accomplish salvation for his people.
Scripture: Isaiah 53
The third section deals with the Messiah’s exemplary life. “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth.” I take this as pointing to the character of His life, because that is precisely the way Peter takes it in his first letter, chapter 2, beginning in verse 19. Peter speaks of this being an unjust world, and with the fact that there are always going to be times in life when Christians are going to suffer unjustly. The question is, how are we going to endure these injustices? Are we to take them mutely? Are we to rise up and fight them? Are we to complain? Peter asked, “But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Pet. 2:20, 21). 
Then Peter quotes what is said in Isaiah 53: ‘‘‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (vv. 20–22). Peter is citing Jesus’ life as our example. 
I would like you to see the prophecies of incidental things that were going to happen when Christ came. Verse 8 says, “By oppression and judgment, he was taken away.” The best way to treat the word “oppression” is as a descriptive adjective of “judgment.” That is, by oppressive judgment He was taken away. This is pointing to the injustice of Christ’s trial. It was judicial murder, and it is prophesied here in Isaiah. 
In verse 9 Isaiah writes, “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death.” “Rich” is in the singular. It means a rich man’s death. We recognize this as a prophecy of the way Jesus was buried. He died with the wicked, that is, on the cross between felons. But when He was buried, He was not buried as one would expect. Those who were executed did not receive a burial afterward. Their bodies were just taken out and thrown into a worthless place. Jesus was actually buried in a rich man’s tomb. How could Isaiah have known that? What possible reason is there to throw this particular detail in? There is none whatever, except that the Holy Spirit, who directed Isaiah in the writing of this prophetic anticipation of the coming ministry of Jesus Christ, directed him to put down that detail, because that was the way it was going to happen. And so he did.
The fourth point is the Messiah’s divine commissioning, which we have in verse 10. This means that what happened to Him did not happen by accident, but by the will of God. It was God’s will to put Him to death.
One of the questions which has troubled the church in past ages, and sometimes troubles it even today, is that of assigning blame for the crucifixion of Christ. Who was responsible for His crucifixion? Or, if you want to put it as crudely as you can: Who killed Jesus? You know how the debate was handled. Was it the Jews who killed Jesus? Or was it the Gentiles? The Gentiles would point their finger at Jews and say, “You Jews did it. You killed our Lord.” The Jews would point back and say, “No, it wasn’t we who did it. We didn’t even have the power to inflict the death penalty at the time of Christ. You Gentiles did it. Pilate was a Gentile.”
In a sense both are right and both are wrong. In another sense it does not really matter. What matters is that the Lord God sentenced Christ to death. And that is what Isaiah says. His death was no accident. This was no tussle between Jew and Gentile. This was not even a case of Jesus somehow falling afoul of the evil designs of men in general, whether Jews, Gentiles, or whoever they might be. This was Jesus Christ coming to earth to do the will of God. “It was the LORD’S will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer.”
An understanding of what has gone before this verse explains a very important word in it, which is the word “yet.” Why does it say “yet”? It does so for this reason. One could say it was the Father’s will to crush Jesus and cause Him to suffer, and not have any moral problem at all, if Jesus was a godless, blaspheming, wicked, unrighteous man. If the person who was crucified upon that cross was a man like that, you could eliminate the “yet” and say, “It was the LORD’S will to crush him, and rightly so. He was a wicked man. He deserved it.” 
But this was not the kind of man He was. He was one led as a lamb to the slaughter—not a murderer, not a pervert, not one who deserved the wrath both of men and God. He was an innocent man, helpless in the hands of those who were doing Him wrong. “Yet,” as it says in verse 10, “it was the LORD’S will to crush him.” How can that be? We know that God does right. So how can it be that it was God’s will to crush that person?
The only possible answer is that it was for us. Jesus was innocent, yes. But He died in our place. It was God’s will to take the innocent one and allow Him to suffer in our place, so that by His grace we might go free.
Study Questions:

Read over vv. 7-9.  What are some ways you see these verses fulfilled in Jesus’ life and ministry?  How did Jesus respond to it?
What is the reason all these things happened to Jesus?
What is the significance of the word “yet” in v. 10?

Application: Can you recall a time when you were treated wrongly by someone else, even by another Christian?  How does 1 Peter 2:20–25 provide an example from Christ for how to handle such experiences?
For Further Study: Suffering in various ways is part of the Christian’s calling.  To learn more about why suffering comes and what God does through it, download for free and listen to James Boice’s message, “God’s Purpose in Human Suffering.”  (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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