Posted by Christine Pack
Dr. John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church, has just finished a wonderful sermon series on Isaiah 53 and Jesus Christ as the ultimate Servant. From The Astonishing Servant of Jehovah, the first sermon of the series:
Now for this morning, I finally want you to open your Bible to the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, Isaiah chapter 53, and we are about to embark on a study of this immensely important portion of the Old Testament.......
Now if you’ve been a Christian for any time at all, you’re very familiar with this section of Holy Scripture, and you should be. It has been called by some scholars in the past, “The Fifth Gospel…The Fifth Gospel,” to be added to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It was Augustine who said way back in the fifth century, “It is not a prophecy, it is a gospel.” It was Polycarp, the student and friend of the Apostle John who called this section of Scripture “The Golden Passional of the Old Testament. Martin Luther himself said, “Every Christian ought to be able to repeat it by heart.” So, that is going to be your assignment, to memorize Isaiah 52:13 through 53:12, and you will draw on it the rest of your life. It is very likely that you already know most of it if you have been a student of Scripture for any length of time.
A couple of German scholars writing in 1866 said, “It looks as if it had been written beneath the cross of Golgotha. They further said, “Many an Israelite has had it melt the crust of his heart.” The same German scholars went on to say this, “This chapter is the most central, the deepest and the loftiest thing that Old Testament prophecy out stripping itself has ever achieved,” end quote.
You’re going to find in this section of Holy Scripture the root of Christian thinking, even though it is Old Testament. You’re going to find here phraseology that has entered and remained in Christian speech and conversation. You’re going to find in this section of Scripture the text that has been used by more gospel preachers and writers through history than any other portion of the Old Testament. In fact, Isaiah 53 is the heart of Hebrew writings. It is the epoch messianic, prophetic Scripture that stands above all others in the Old Testament.
(Dr. MacArthur, introducing his sermon series on Isaiah 53)The entire series can be listened to below: