The Suffering Servant

suffering servant 1

Q. Who is the servant that Isaiah 49 v 1-7 is talking about?

A. It is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s examine the clues. Some identified the servant as the nation Israel based on v 3:
49:3 He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
But this cannot be the case since v 5a and 6a indicate that the servant’s mission is to bring back Jacob or Israel to the LORD:
49:5a And now the LORD says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself,
• 49:6a he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.

A better explanation is Jesus as the true Israel, who gathers or restores national Israel to the LORD. This is reinforced by other evidences in this passage:

Sword:
49:2a He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
• Rev 1:16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword.
• Rev 2:12 These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.
• Rev 2:16 Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Superficially In vain:
49:4a But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
• John 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

Light:
49:6b I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
• Luke 2:30-32 For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.
• John 8:12a When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.”
• John 9:5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

Based on the above most scholars conclude the servant to be Jesus Christ Himself.

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