This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, The Biography of the King.
Seven hundred years before the Lord Jesus Christ was born, Isaiah the prophet wrote a biography of Jesus. If you read Isaiah 53 with an open heart, you will be convinced of three things: 1) the inspiration of Scripture, 2) Christ is fully God and fully man, and 3) Christ is the promised Messiah.
The “arm of the LORD” means God’s mighty power, and it is a person. “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground” (Isaiah 53:1-2a). We look for something mighty, and we see a tender plant—this pictures the birth of Jesus.
Yes, Isaiah knew about the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ. (Read Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6.) If Jesus had not been born of a virgin, He could not have been sinless—He would have been a son of Adam like you and me, and in Adam, all die. (See 1 Corinthians 15:22.) Had He not been sinless, He could not have offered blood atonement. No atonement, no forgiveness. No forgiveness, no hope of Heaven.
Jesus is totally man, and totally God. He did not begin in Bethlehem. Jesus is not the Son of God because He was born of a virgin; He was born of a virgin because He is the Son of God.
“He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (Isaiah 53:2b-3).
Jesus did not step out of Heaven in royal robes, with angels preceding Him. The only announcement was made to shepherds in a field. He was born in an insignificant village, laid in straw near cow dung. He was nondescript. Jesus walked in sandaled feet, going about doing good.
Why? Because God wants faith. Someone might say, “If God is so great, why doesn’t He prove Himself to us?” He could. If He did, we would fall on our faces and say, “He is God, He is God!” But that would not be faith—only a reaction to what we have seen.
Faith is a response of the heart to the character of God. Jesus laid aside all of His splendor, but none of His character. When your heart is right, it responds to God in faith like the eye responds to light. When you look at Jesus in Scripture, you will find your heart turning to Him.
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6).
Christ never sinned! (See Hebrews 4:15.) He took our place, as a substitute.
“He was wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5a). In the Hebrew, “wounded” here literally means pierced!
Jesus cast Himself on the ground in Gethsemane and prayed, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Matthew 26:39). He wasn’t talking about a literal cup, but something He must drink spiritually. In that cup was all the sin of all the centuries. That sin was about to be laid upon Jesus Christ.
Jesus dreaded the cross! He prayed with such intensity that the capillaries in His skin broke and He sweated drops of blood. Jesus knew that when our sin was laid on Him, He would become the object of the loathing of God, and the fires of God’s wrath would burn themselves out on Him. Do not take the substitutionary death of the King lightly!
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
He was put to death by judicial murder. He had a mock trial, a travesty of justice. But Jesus did not say anything. Why? He could not have justified Himself without condemning us.
“He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken” (Isaiah 53:8).
He died alone. The rabble taunted Him—“He saved others; Himself He cannot save” (Matthew 27:42a). The demons of Hell tormented Him. The disciples drew away.
And God the Father turned His back on Jesus. The Bible says of God, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness” (Habakkuk 1:13a). At this time, Jesus was carrying the iniquity of us all. He cried, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46b). The answer: because Jesus was bearing what we will bear if we are not saved: eternal separation from Almighty God.
“They made His grave with the wicked—but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth” (Isaiah 53:9).
Nobody ever suffered like the Lord Jesus Christ suffered. You might say, “Other people were crucified.” You don’t understand: Christ was suffering bruising from the hand of the Father on whose bosom He had rested for eternity. The damned in Hell cannot begin to know how much Jesus suffered. They are only paying for their sin, and they will always be paying.
But in this offering, Jesus paid it all, for all His people. He, being infinite, paid in a finite period of time what you, being finite, could not pay in an infinite period of time. (Read Hebrews 10:1-10.)
Isaiah 53:9 speaks of Christ’s grave “at His death.” In the original language, “death” here is a plural intensive—“His deaths.” Think of it as, “He died a thousand deaths.”
“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand” (Isaiah 53:10).
Wait…wasn’t He dead? How can a dead man do God’s pleasure? “He shall see His seed…” How can a dead man have descendants?
He is not dead—He lives! Isaiah is talking about the God-man who was dead and is now living.
Jesus is King!
“He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11).
Do you know Jesus the King? Not, do you know about Him. Do you know Him? Are you saved? Isaiah 53:11 looks forward to His coming to rule and reign. Your only hope is the coming of Jesus Christ the King.