The Misunderstood Messiah1 An Exposition Of <span class="bibleref" title="Is 53:1–3">Isaiah 53:1–3</span> -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 021:1 (Summer 2012)
Article: The Misunderstood Messiah1 An Exposition Of Isaiah 53:1–3
Author: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

The Misunderstood Messiah1
An Exposition Of Isaiah 53:1–3

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Lewis Johnson served as a teaching elder and regularly ministered the Word at Believers Chapel in Dallas, Texas for more than thirty years. During his academic career he held professorships in New Testament and Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. At the time of his death in 2004 he was Professor Emeritus of New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Dallas Seminary. Both MP3 files and printed notes of Dr. Johnson’s sermons and theological lectures may be downloaded from the website of the SLJ Institute «». His recordings may also be downloaded from the Believers Chapel website «».


In our previous study of the first of the five strophes of this famous passage (Isa. 52:13–53:12), the fourth of the prophetic songs of the Suffering Servant of Jehovah, we made the point that the most critical problem of life is not universal prevalence of war and nuclear armaments, nor the increasing violence of the age and its support now from world political powers, nor the rampant immorality and license of our sex-mad twenty-first century, nor the economic problems of the day, such as inflation and the national deficit, nor even the drift to an almost totally consumerist society with its pervasive avarice and greed. We might add that it is not ignorance, as educators sometimes argue, nor maladjustment, as might be argued by a psychologist, nor the sheer sense of the meaninglessness of life and despair, which philosophers and psychiatrists ponder.

We have claimed that the most critical problem of life—for the simple reason that it touches the most critical aspect of human life, namely, the spiritual being of man—is the ancient question phrased accurately and pointedly by Job: “In truth I know that this is so; but how can a man be in the right before God?” (Job. 9:2).

At countless points in its revelation, the Bible provides a key to the solution of the problem, and one of its sterling pointers to the right answer is found in this fourth of the Suffering Servant Songs. The prophet Isaiah found the solution in the ministry of the Suffering Servant of Jehovah, whom the New Testament identifies as the Lord Jesus Christ.

This identification, however, is not undisputed by modern scholars. Some identify the Servant wit...

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