Articles & News

Jesus in Isaiah

April 29, 2024

The Fifth Gospel

The fifth Gospel. That’s what many call the book of Isaiah, as Jesus’ birth, His character, His life, His death, His resurrection, and His second coming are all presented with definiteness and clarity, yet written 700 years before Jesus Christ was born. Specifically, Isaiah invites us to see something of the suffering of Christ that we’ll not find anywhere else.

How do we know Isaiah is referring to the death of Christ? That’s the question the Ethiopian eunuch raised when Philip hitchhiked a ride from him (Acts 8). The eunuch was reading Isaiah 53, so that’s where Philip began as he taught him about Jesus. Jesus Himself, in John 12:38, quotes Isaiah 53 and applies it to Himself.

Isaiah 53 pictures the cross of Christ as He died there. In the first nine verses, we see Jesus’ suffering; in the final two verses, we see His satisfaction. These two belong together, but suffering always comes first.

He suffers as no one else ever suffered. We’re strangely drawn to Him and His cross. Jesus said in John 12:32, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” Suffering has a singular attraction. Pain draws us all together. It’s a common bond uniting all the frail children of suffering humanity. Let Him draw our cold hearts into the warmth of His sacrifice and the radiance of His love.

Candidly, we do not understand why God should treat His Son this way. Christ hung between heaven and earth for six hours. In the first three hours, man did his worst. He ridiculed and insulted him, spat upon Him, nailed Him without mercy to the cruel cross, and then sat down to watch Him die. At 12 noon, God drew a veil over the sun and darkness covered the scene, shutting out from human eyes the transaction between the Father and the Son. For Christ became the sacrifice for the sins of the world. God made His soul an offering for sin. He was treated as sin. We are told that Jesus Christ was made sin for us, He who knew no sin. If you want to know if God hates sin, look at the cross!

If you want to know if God will punish sin, look at His Son enduring the tortures of its penalty. That cross became an altar where we behold the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world! He was taking your place and mine. He’d done nothing amiss. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. He was a substitute that the love of God provided for you and me so that He might save us.