Note from the Christian Basics Bible
In chapters 53 and 61, two of Isaiah’s most famous chapters, Isaiah saw the coming Messiah with amazing clarity, about seven hundred years before he came.
Chapter 53 foresees the Messiah’s death—a death that would not only be a sacrifice but also a substitution—it is our griefs and sorrows he carried (53:4), our rebellion and sins he paid for (53:5-6), not his own. Through this death, people are healed (53:5)—brought into God’s wholeness (shalom). The prophecy also has many details about Christ’s final hours: how he was oppressed, was treated harshly, remained silent, and was buried in a rich man’s grave. But Isaiah saw that it would not all end in death; he anticipated Christ’s resurrection (53:10-11) and exaltation (53:12), which would enable him to “make it possible for many to be counted righteous” (53:11) because of the way that he “bore the sins of many” (53:12).
Chapter 61 foresees the Spirit-anointed nature of the Messiah’s work. Jesus quoted from this passage in the synagogue at the start of his ministry (Luke 4:18-19), declaring that “the Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” (Luke 4:21), thus making it clear that he saw himself as the Servant that Isaiah had prophesied.
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