The Servant of the Lord in Isaiah Part I -- By: Allan A. MacRae

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 121:482 (Apr 1964)
Article: The Servant of the Lord in Isaiah Part I
Author: Allan A. MacRae


The Servant of the Lord in Isaiah
Part I

Allan A. MacRae

[Allan A. MacRae, President, Faith Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]

Isaiah 53 is one of the best known predictions of Christ in the Old Testament, and one of the chapters most frequently quoted in the New Testament. Actually, the passage begins with chapter 52:13. As we read the last three verses of chapter 52 and the whole of chapter 53, we are repeatedly impressed with its clear statements of substitutionary atonement. It describes One who “bare the sin of many,” One who lived a singularly faultless life and yet suffered greatly, One who accomplished something that will last for all eternity. Phrase after phrase fits precisely with our understanding of the work that Jesus Christ performed on the cross.

It is noticeable that the passage begins with the words: “Behold, my servant” (52:12), and that its next to last verse includes the statement: “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many” (53:11). Christians have no doubt that the One who is here described as God’s righteous servant is indeed the Lord Jesus Christ.

However, this is not the first passage dealing with the servant of the Lord. In fact, as we shall note later, it is the climax of a series of passages. Some interpreters of Isaiah 53 seek to deny its relevance to the Lord Jesus Christ by insisting that the one who is described as the servant of the Lord is really the nation of Israel. This contention cannot be lightly brushed aside, for many of the related passages seem to state it as a fact. Thus Isaiah 41:8 includes the words: “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen.” Isaiah 44:1 says: “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen.” Isaiah 44:2 includes the words: “Fear not, O Jacob my servant.” Isaiah 44:21 says: “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant.” Isaiah 45:4 says: “For

Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect.” Isaiah 48:20 says: “The LORD hath redee...

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