Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Advent 2023: December 19 - Promise

Tuesday, December 19th: Promise

Read Isaiah 52-53.

Isaiah is sometimes called the 5th Gospel because Isaiah, in the clearest way out of all the prophets, depicts for us the whole life of Jesus Christ.
If you will remember, Isaiah 7-9 showed us the Birth and ministry of Christ.  But Isaiah 52-53 covers the death of Christ is no small detail.

Isaiah chapters 40-55 compose a unit in Isaiah’s prophecy that focuses on the person of the Servant of the Lord.  This servant is described as a priest for God and also God’s King.  He is described as both suffering and also being glorified.  

It is from this chapter that the Ethiopian Eunuch, whom Phillip meets in chapter 8 of the book of Acts, asks about who this servant is.  Philip says that this is about Jesus and about his death and love for us.
We can see that throughout this chapter.  As verses are quoted, think of Jesus.

“He was despised and rejected by men.”  
“surely he has borne our griefs.”  
“yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.”
“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities.”  
“with his stripes we are healed.”
“The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  
“Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”

With just a few of these verses, we are given such a rich and beautiful way to describe the work of Jesus Christ for our salvation.  You would be hard pressed to discover a better way (even in the New Testament) to describe what our Savior did than what is said here.

The Church has seen fit to read this chapter during the Good Friday service.  Usually it is read at the beginning as a way to set the stage and provide us with an image to contemplate as we ponder our Lord’s work for us.

Once I had a professor in college who was doing some mission work with the Jews in his area.  He went up to one and read this passage.  Then he said, “Do you know who this is referring to?”
The Jew he was talking to said, “your Jesus.”

And my professor said, “Do you know who said it?”
To which he heard back, “No.”

So my professor said, “Your prophet.”

When we read the prophets we can certainly get lost in their dense poetry and deeper reflections and images.  But the image that we should always hold up to help us see through the foliage is our Lord Jesus Christ.