On the Plains of Moab Blog
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February 2, 2012, 6:43 PM

The Servant Songs of Isaiah



This week, we finally get to look at one of the actual servant songs. The first one is in chapter 42 as I noted in the last blog entry. I will be covering the four verses of the poem, but, have decided to extend the preaching section to verse 12. It is just too rich not to talk about.

Let me tell you, this week has been glorious as I have been preparing for this message. It is quite incredible that these prophecies -- for that is truly what they are -- find their complete fulfillment in the person and ministry of Jesus, and yet there is still far too much scholarly hemming and hawing about it. Before I came to it afresh for this series, I was willing to walk softly about the matter. But as I look at it even closer, it is a shame that so much unbelief abounds in so-called biblical scholarship.

Let me be clear, there is no good reason for denying the identity of the servant of the Lord as Jesus Christ.  There.  I said it! The reason?  The context is so very telling. Israel was supposed to fulfill the mission -- be the light. They failed.  Oh yes, they did fail. These servant poems then, are taking it to another level altogether.  No way any mere human could fulfill this task now.  It is supernatural.  It is God-only stuff.

So...How in the world could anyone with all seriousness insist that the servant in these poems refers to the people of God collectively? Or, for that matter, any other historical personage put up outside of Jesus? That dog simply won't hunt!

As I was reading ahead to the fourth servant song in Isaiah 52:13-53:12, probably the most well-known of the servant songs in our circles (...he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. -Isa 53:5 ESV), I was startled to find out that most Jews today are grossly unfamiliar with this passage. You see, the Jewish "lectionary," the Haftarah, ends at Isaiah 52:12 and doesn't pick up again until chapter 54 -- skipping the offending text.  Or perhaps they believe it too obscure to read publicly?  Whatever the reason, this powerful text doesn't even get a hearing in the synagogue.

Let me tell you, this could be a rich time together in worship!  Please pray for your preacher, that he might speak powerfully -- or should I better say, be USED powerfully!


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