Old Testament Survey - Lesson 28

Isaiah's Vision of the Messiah

In this lesson, you explore the depths of Isaiah's Vision of the Messiah through Alec Motje's analysis, who outlines three distinct but unified portraits of the Messiah across the book of Isaiah. Initially, the Messiah is depicted as a king in chapters 1-37, demonstrating his rule and righteousness. Subsequently, in chapters 38-55, the Messiah is portrayed as a servant, intertwining his roles and responsibilities with divine revelation and salvation extending beyond Israel to the Gentiles. The final portrayal from chapters 56-66 shows the Messiah as an anointed conqueror, blending divine justice with mercy. Each portrait consistently emphasizes the Messiah's endowed spirit and word, righteousness linked to the Davidic line, and a mission that extends salvation from Israel to the global stage. 

Daniel Block
Old Testament Survey
Lesson 28
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Isaiah's Vision of the Messiah

I. Introduction to Isaiah's Vision of the Messiah

A. Overview of the Book of Isaiah

B. Key Focus: Theological Vision of the Messiah

II. Portraits of the Messiah in Isaiah

A. The Messiah as King (Chapters 1-37)

B. The Messiah as Servant (Chapters 38-55)

C. The Messiah as Anointed Conqueror (Chapters 56-66)

III. Unifying Themes in the Portraits of the Messiah

A. Endowment with the Spirit and the Word

B. Righteousness as a Central Element

C. Davidic Connection and Descent

D. National and Gentile Outreach

IV. Detailed Analysis of the Servant's Role

A. Servant as a Vehicle of Divine Revelation

B. Geographic and Symbolic Representations of Israel

C. Contrast between Minimalist and Maximalist Definitions of the Promised Land

V. The Servant's Dual Role

A. Governing Israel and Serving as Universal King

B. Serving as Yahweh's Agent of Salvation

VI. Features Common Across Messianic Portraits

A. Humanity and Divinity of the Messiah

B. Servant's Suffering and Exaltation

VII. Specific Passages and Their Implications

A. Isaiah 40-55 as a Message of Comfort to Exiles

B. Detailed Exploration of Servant Songs

1. Isaiah 42:1-9

2. Isaiah 49:1-7

3. Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12

VIII. Conclusion

A. Summary of the Servant's Mission and Role

B. Broader Theological Implications and Messianic Interpretations

IX. New Testament Reflections

A. New Testament Validation and Expansion of Isaiah's Themes

B. Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Servant Songs

X. Implications for Understanding the Book of Isaiah

A. Integration of Messianic Expectations

B. Role of the Servant in Redemptive History

  • Learning about the First Testament's language, geographical, and cultural contexts, and how these factors contribute to its frequent misinterpretation and underappreciation in modern times.
  • Gain insights into the literary and cosmic foundations of grace and glory in the Torah, understanding its role as more than law.
  • Learn that to be made in God's image entails embodying divine qualities and functioning as His representative on Earth, which extends a universal dignity upon all humans and shapes a theological ethic that influences how you treat others.
  • Genesis 1-3 frames human response to divine creation, emphasizing human dignity, work's moral role, free will's consequences, and the persistent grace amid sin.
  • This lesson reviews the Israelite covenant, understanding its stages, implications, and its role in God's redemptive plan.
  • Gain insights into Abraham's covenant with God, exploring his faith and God's promises.
  • Learn how the Exodus from Egypt marked Israel's transformation from a family to a nation under Yahweh.
  • Understand how the covenant at Sinai transforms Israel from slaves into a treasured nation destined for a divine mission, fulfilling God's ancient promises.
  • This lesson covers the covenantal expectations at Sinai. The covenantal agreement provided a constitutional and ethical framework for societal living, focusing on community rights and responsibilities.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into how the tabernacle was both a physical manifestation of God's presence and a profound symbol of His grace, emphasizing the holiness and detailed guidance He provided to the Israelites for worship and daily life.
  • Gain insights into Deuteronomy, recognizing its focus on teaching rather than legislation, and understanding Moses' role as an instructor of Yahweh's will.
  • In this lesson, you explore how to interpret the First Testament's historiographic writings, emphasizing the divine inspiration and literary artistry that guide the selective storytelling and theological themes.
  • Learn how the books of Joshua and Judges illustrate the fulfillment and failure of Israel's covenant with Yahweh, highlighting divine promise, cultural assimilation, and the cyclical nature of faith and apostasy.
  • The Book of Ruth, highlights divine providence, social justice, and personal righteousness while exploring the role of Boaz as a pivotal figure in maintaining the lineage of King David.
  • Samuel had a significant yet complex role in Israel's history; judge, priest, prophet, and crucial figure in establishing monarchy.
  • Learn of David's central role in the Bible, understanding his unique portrayal and the extensive attention he receives compared to other figures.
  • Learn about the Davidic covenant's role in shaping biblical history and theology, emphasizing its eternal impact on Israel and beyond.
  • The books of Kings and Chronicles use historical events to underline theological themes, highlighting the role of scribes in documenting Israel’s history.
  • In this lesson on 1 and 2 Kings, review the downfall of Israel through kings' forgetfulness of God's covenants.
  • Learn about Solomon's temple's historical and theological significance, its divine design and purpose, and its role in Israelite worship and communal life.
  • Gain insights into the transformation and resilience of the Judean people during their exile in Babylon from 586-539 BC, exploring their struggles and adaptations in a new socio-political and religious context.
  • Learn about Daniel's exemplary life in Babylon, his integrity, and his prophetic visions, which highlight divine sovereignty and the vindication of the faithful amidst calamities.
  • Review the Persian period's impact on the Jewish diaspora, analyze the Book of Esther's literary and theological significance, and reflect on divine providence and cultural identity.
  • Explore the crucial roles of Ezra and Nehemiah in reconstructing the Jewish community and faith post-exile, understanding their historical significance, source materials, and theological insights.
  • Gain insight into the roles and significance of prophets in ancient Israel, learning about their historical context, and their critical function in guiding and correcting the nation through direct communication from Yahweh.
  • Learn about the lives and ministries of prophets Amos and Hosea, their calls for justice and return to divine covenant amidst Israel's political and spiritual turmoil, through prophetic books that blend personal biography with national prophecy.
  • This lesson reviews Jonah's struggle with divine grace and Micah's advocacy for justice and the messianic hope.
  • In this lesson, you learn how Isaiah's vision portrays the Messiah as king, servant, and conqueror, emphasizing his divine roles and global mission.
  • Learn of the political and social contexts of Jeremiah and Ezekiel's exile, including Babylon's rise, Jerusalem's fall, and the crisis of faith portrayed in Lamentations, emphasizing hope amid despair through God's faithfulness.
  • Learn about Jeremiah's life and prophetic ministry, navigating challenges with kings, themes in the Book of Jeremiah, and profound passages on true religion and a future covenant, offering lessons on prophetic burdens, God's faithfulness, and spiritual transformation.
  • Explore Ezekiel's life as a priest in exile, his bizarre actions, and profound messages revealing Yahweh's passion and eternal promises of judgment and restoration.
  • Learn about Nahum and Joel's prophecies on judgment, hope, and Yahweh's character. Explore the day of the Lord and the expansion of the covenant community.
  • Explore Obadiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah's prophecies. Discover themes of judgment, faith, and restoration in God's plan.
  • Gain insight into Haggai's role in motivating temple rebuilding during the Persian rule. His brief yet impactful ministry fosters hope and action amid community disillusionment, recoginizing God's presence and reign.
  • Gain deep insight into Hebrew poetry: its forms, parallelism, acrostics, and emotional depth. Explore its celebration and lamentation of Yahweh's glory.
  • Gain insight into Psalms which reflect diverse emotions and experiences. Structured into five divisions, attributed to various authors, their interpretation involves understanding Torah context, literary devices, and applying timeless principles to life.
  • Explore biblical wisdom's depth: from practical skill to moral insight, rooted in the fear of Yahweh. It contrasts with secular knowledge, emphasizing God's order and universal application.
  • Engage with Proverbs to unravel its diverse wisdom, from aphorisms to discourses. Understand its practical guidance for righteous living and leadership.
  • Discover the Song of Songs, a rich exploration of love's nature. From its allegorical interpretations to its celebration of covenantal love, it examines human relationships with wisdom and depth.
  • The book of Job offers insights into faith and suffering, exploring theological themes and character dynamics. It emphasizes trust in God amid life's most difficult trials.
  • Uncover Ecclesiastes' profound journey from despair to hope. Koheleth's existential ponderings contrast with the narrator's faith, urging a shift from worldly pursuits to finding fulfillment in God's sovereignty.

This Old Testament Survey course offers a deep exploration of the Old Testament's literary structure, divine covenants, and historical context. Lessons cover the Pentateuch, emphasizing its narrative over legalistic interpretations, and extend through key biblical figures like Abraham and Moses. Topics such as the covenant at Sinai, the concept of imago Dei, and the tabernacle rituals highlight the continuity of God's grace and the ethical implications of divine laws. The course critically addresses common misconceptions, the role of the Torah as instruction, and the portrayal of God’s plan, underscoring the relevance and complexity of these ancient texts.

Dr. Daniel Block 
Old Testament Survey
Isaiah's Vision of the Messiah
Lesson Transcript


Hearing the Glory and Grace of Yahweh in Isaiah's Vision of the Messiah. There is so much we could say about the book of Isaiah that would take up an entire course, or two, or three, and you have John Oswalt in this biblical training series. But I would like to focus here simply on what many of us who read the New Testament have found to be the heart of Isaiah's theological vision, Isaiah's Vision of the Messiah.

Alec Motje recognizes that Isaiah presents the Messiah from three important angles. In book one, the Messiah is king, that is chapters 1 to 37. In book two, the Messiah as servant, and here he combines 38 and 39 with 40 to 55, that's the Messiah as servant.

And then in the last part, 56 to 66, the Messiah as anointed conqueror. Far from being disparate or contradictory, these portraits display significant, unifying colors. In each portrait, the Messiah is revealed as endowed with the Spirit and the Word, 11 1 to 2 and 11 4, 42 1, 49 1 to 3, 50 4, and 59 2 and 61 1 to 3. Second, in each portrait, righteousness is an important element.

It's the righteousness of the throne of the king, 9 7, his rule, 11 4, the work of the servant, 53 11 and 54 17, the anointed conqueror's character, 61 10, 63 1, and the end result of his activity, 61 3 and 11. He produces righteousness. Third, the Davidic connection is highlighted in each.

His Davidic descent, 9 6 to 7, his Davidic identity, 11 1, his covenantal work, which involves the realization of the sure mercies of David, 55 3, and the climax of his victory is presented as a Davidic conquest of Edom in 63 1. Fourth, each Messianic portrait embraces both national Israel and the Gentile world, and moves out from the former to the latter. We have the restoration of Zion in 1 26 to 27, merging with and flooding of the nations in 2 2 to 4. Nations will stream to the city, a text that echoes Micah's message. Then we have the royal David, 11 1, ruling over a transformed world, an Edenic world, 11 6 to 9, and his harmonized people, 11 13 to 14.

They become the troops assaulting Philistia and subjugating the Gentiles, which are represented in the oracles against the nation. The servant is the vehicle of divine revelation to the Gentiles. It's not just about Israel.

In Genesis 13, we should have noted that when God defines the land promised to Israel, he gives us two definitions. There is what I call the minimalist definition, which is the territory that is eventually distributed among the tribes of Israel, the land of Canaan. But there's also a maximalist definition in which it is defined by the southern boundary, the river of Egypt, and then the northern boundary, the great river, the river Euphrates.

Now the land of Israel was never expanded that far, but the kingdom of David was. And in my understanding, these two definitions represent the vision that this servant will fulfill. Namely, he is the servant who governs his own people Israel, but he is also the universal king of kings and lord of lords.

He becomes the Yahweh of salvation to the ends of the earth. Now, the benefits of his saving work, 52, 13 to 53, 12, extend to both Zion, chapter 54, and the entire world. As redeemer to Zion, 59, 20 to 21, the anointed conqueror brings the nations to Zion's light, and Zion's salvation becomes a universal theme.

But in 66, 19, his missionary enterprise reaches its fullest expression, especially 63, 7 to 66, 24, we see this. A fifth common feature, each messianic portrait presents this figure as plainly man, but truly God. He is born of David's line, 11, 1. He is the branch, 11, 10, but he is mighty God, 9, 6. The servant is human in ancestry and appearance, 53, 2, and in his rejection, 53, 3, but his appearance is greater than any human's, 56, and 52, 14, but he is also the arm of Yahweh, 53, 1. Compare that with 51, 9 and 52, 10.

The arm reappears in 59, 16, as Yahweh dons his garments of salvation, but the garments are passed to the anointed one, 61, 10, whose righteousness and vengeance are finally accomplished. The sequence beginning with Yahweh's arm ends with the arm of the anointed conqueror. Conclusion.

In fulfillment of 2 Samuel 7, 19, and this is the Torah for humanity, the king rules in righteousness over his own community, Israel, but through him the sure mercies of David are open to the entire world. But let's take a closer look at the servant of Yahweh in Isaiah 40-55. As I noted earlier, Isaiah 40-55 is the message of comfort to beleaguered exiles.

41-11 functions as a thesis statement declaring, this is a message of comfort. Comfort ye my people, says your Lord. This message is guaranteed by Yahweh who stands behind his word.

The hope of this message is based upon the presence of Yahweh among his people. Your God is here. As the text unfolds, his presence is presented as in omnipotent, 40-12 to 41-4, exclusive, 44-6 to 20, effective, 44-24-27, and historically sovereign, 44-28 terms.

Omnipotent, exclusive, effective, and historically sovereign in his presence. Clifford has insightfully recognized that Isaiah 40-66 is dominated by five polarities. First and last things, Babylon and Zion, Yahweh and the gods, Israel and the nations, the servant, and Israel.

The word servant, eved, occurs 20 times in Isaiah 50-55. All agree that the 13 of these apply to Israel the nation. Israel is the servant of God.

The remaining seven are found in four servant songs which supply the heart of Israel's message of hope. So let's hear the word of Isaiah, the word of the Lord through Isaiah in these servant passages. We begin with Isaiah 42, 1-9, which is biographical in form.

That is, the servant is referred to in third person. Look at my servant whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one who pleases me.

I have put my spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or raise his voice in public.

He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged. He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth.

Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction. God, Yahweh, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it.

He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth. And it is he who says, I, Yahweh, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people Israel as a symbol of my covenant with them.

And you will be a light to guide the nations. You will open the eyes of the blind. You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dungeons.

I am Yahweh. That is my name. I will not give glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols.

Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens. This is from the New Living Translation, modified in several respects.

Well, we can summarize the message of this one. What does it tell us about the servant? Well, the servant is especially chosen and beloved of God and empowered by him. Second, the servant is meek in character but firm in faith.

Third, the servant's mission involves bringing justice to the entire world and mercy to the oppressed. And fourth, the servant is endowed with the Spirit and the Word. That's the first servant song.

A second servant song, Isaiah 49, 1-7. This one is autobiographical in form, as if the servant himself is talking. Listen to me, all you in distant lands, pay attention, you who are far away.

Yahweh called me before my birth. From within the womb he called me by name. He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword.

He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand. I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver. He said to me, you are my servant, Israel, and you will bring me glory.

I replied, but my work seems so useless. I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose, yet I leave it all in Yahweh's hand. I will trust God for my reward.

And now Yahweh speaks, the one who formed me in my mother's womb to be his servant, who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him. Yahweh has honored me, and my God has given me strength. He says, you will do more than restore the people of Israel to me.

I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth. Yahweh, the Redeemer and the Holy One of Israel says to the one who is despised and rejected by the nations, to the one who is the servant of rulers, kings will stand at attention when you pass by, princes will also bow low because of Yahweh, the faithful one, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you. Summary.

The servant's mission and destiny are predetermined by God. The servant's mission is pointed and cutting. Third, the servant's mission will be difficult and painful.

Fourth, the servant is endowed with the word of Yahweh. And fifth, the servant's mission involves salvation for Israel and light for the nations. The third servant song, Isaiah 54 to 9, this one again is autobiographical.

Adonai Yahweh, usually translated the Lord God with Lord in capitals at this point. Adonai Yahweh has given me his words of wisdom so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he awakens me and opens my understanding to his will.

Adonai Yahweh has spoken to me and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away. I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard.

I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting. Because the Lord Yahweh helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will, and I know that I will not be put to shame.

He who gives me justice is near. Who will dare to bring charges against me now? Where are my accusers? Let them appear. Look, the Lord Yahweh is on my side.

Who will declare me guilty? All my enemies will be destroyed like old clothes that have been eaten by moths. Again, New Living Translation adapted. This is a melancholy soliloquy in first person, emphasizing the total submission of the servant to the will of God.

We get the feeling that the cross looms ever nearer on the horizon, but he offers himself to his enemies, confident in the Lord's strengthening presence. Three specific things we can say. One, the servant fulfills his mission in total obedience to God.

Second, the servant submits voluntarily to violence and humiliation at the hands of his enemies. 

Third, the servant is assured of success and vindication because of the help of God. Isaiah 52, 13 to 53, 12. This is the one that's most familiar. We generally speak about Isaiah 53, but the chapter division is unfortunate here. It begins at the end of chapter 52.

This one is biographical, again, rather than autobiographical, where God is talking about his servant. He begins with, See my servant, the Messiah's exaltation, 32, 13 to 15. There are 15 verses in this servant passage consisting of five strophes.

Each strophe is three verses, and each of these strophes reflects a different role played by the servant. So we'll start out with the first, chapter 32, verse 13 to 15. This is, See my servant, the Messiah's exaltation of the servant.

Hear the word of the Lord. See, my servant will prosper. He will be highly exalted, but many were amazed when they saw him.

His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man. And he will sprinkle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence, for they will see what they had not been told, and they will understand what they had not heard about, the great reversal.

In 53, 1 to 3, we have, See the man of sorrows, the Messiah's humiliation. Who has believed our report, our message? To whom has Yahweh revealed his powerful arm? My servant grew up in Yahweh's presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in the dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.

He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not kick the man of sorrows.

Isaiah 53, 4 to 6, See the vicar, the Messiah, our substitute. That's the meaning of the word vicar. Isaiah 53, 4 to 6, Yet it was our weaknesses he carried.

It was our sorrows that weighed him down, and we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins. But he was pierced for our rebellion. He was crushed for our sins.

He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.

We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet Yahweh laid on him the sins of us all. See the vicar, our substitute.

The fourth, See the lamb, our liberator, verses 7 to 9. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away.

No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone.

But he was buried like a criminal. He was put in a rich man's grave. The lamb, our liberator.

And then finally, See the righteous one, the perfect sacrifice for sin, verses 10 to 12. But it was Yahweh's good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for guilt, he will have many descendants.

He will enjoy a long life, and Yahweh's good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.

He will give him the honors of a victorious soldier. Because he exposed himself to death, he was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

As we summarize this text, we learn that this is the heart of Isaiah, the heart of the first testament, and the heart of scripture. Here the nature of the servant's mission becomes crystal clear. First, the exaltation of the servant is certain, but it involves incredible suffering and humiliation.

Look at 52, 13 to 15. Second, the servant is despised and rejected by all, verses 1 to 3. Third, the purpose of the servant's rejection and suffering is vicarious. He is divinely smitten for our sin and to win for us shalom.

Yahweh caused our sin to fall on him, verses 4 to 6. Fourth, though he is innocent, the servant passively accepted the suffering and the humiliation, 53, 7 to 9. And the servant's suffering is divinely imposed, but the positive results are guaranteed. Yahweh was pleased to crush him, not because he delighted in somebody else's pain, but because of what this would accomplish. And then he made him prosper for the justification of many and his own ultimate exaltation.

This is the climax of God's grand plan of redemption. But who is this person, this servant? Many suggestions have been offered, Israel the nation, Moses the righteous remnant, Moses the righteous remnant, the high priest, one of the prophets, one of the kings, Cyrus the Messiah. Well, or even, some suggest, second Isaiah himself, that is the author of this section, if one assumes a tripartite division of this book and three different authors.

Well, in answering the question, we need to consider several factors. First, the source of the motif. Although 53, 4 to 6 is permeated with Levitical terminology and ideology, the inspiration for Isaiah's vision of the servant lies in the Davidic messianic tradition.

David's servant status is clearly reflected in 2 Samuel 7, the account of the Davidic covenant upon which all messianic hopes are based. In this text, Yahweh refers to David twice as, my servant David, verses 5 and 8 of 2 Samuel 7. And David responds by referring to himself as, your servant, no fewer than 10 times in verses 19 to 21 and 25 to 29. Hereafter, the expression, my servant David, functions almost technically as a messianic title in Psalm 78, 70, 89, 3, and 20, Psalm 132, 10, and 11, 144, 10

But we have it in the prophets, as in Jeremiah 33, 26, Ezekiel 34, 23, and 37, 25, but also in the New Testament, in Luke 1, 69. Nowhere else is this servant portrayed in such painful and pathetic terms. Ever since Christians began using this as a basis of their messianic understanding, our Jewish friends interpret the servant as being Israel.

And in Isaiah 53, for example, they see the sufferings of the Jewish and Israelite people throughout history. The internal evidence of Scripture suggests, though, that biblical authors understood Isaiah's servant messianically. Isaiah 49, 5 to 6, and later Isaiah 61, 1 point in an individualized messianic direction.

In the statement, I will bring forth my servant the branch, Zechariah 3, 8 conflates two strands of messianic thought. The branch ties in to the horticultural imagery of the root of Jesse in Isaiah 11, 1. According to Zimmerle, the translators of the Septuagint seem to have interpreted the servant messianically. While there is some question about the reliability of their interpretation, Eisenman and Wise in The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, the book, have discovered an intriguing reference to the wounding and death of the branch of David, that expression, at Qumran.

It is not clear that this text actually alludes to Isaiah 53, 5. However, the question by the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, 34 certainly opens the question of a pre-Christian messianic interpretation. Philip asks the Ethiopian eunuch, Do you know what you are reading? And he's been reading Isaiah 53. In reaction to this early Christian interpretation, Jewish interpreters abandoned any possibility of an individual messianic understanding in favor of the collective Israel interpretation.

Ironically, Christians abandoned the messianic interpretation during the Enlightenment, when Gentiles became increasingly blinded to the light to the Gentiles. This is kind of ironical. Christopher North has an excellent discussion of the topic in The Servant in Deutero-Isaiah.

That's his title. But what shall we make of this servant in the New Testament? There's no question about where the New Testament stands on the suffering servant of Isaiah. In fact, as we move from the First Testament to the Gospels, the spirit of Isaiah seems to be in the air everywhere.

John, the most theological of the Gospels, is filled with illusions. 1, 12, 14, 29, 2, 4, 3, 16, and following 6, 1, and following 8, 12, 28, 11, 47 to 52, 12, 23 to 26, and 13. The interweaving of a criminal's death with a royal motif in the passion narrative, we see this especially in 19, 28 to 30.

It is finished. That is a declaration of the work of the servant. But this is true of all the Gospels.

According to Luke 4, 18 to 19, Jesus' inaugural speech was based on Isaiah 61, 1 to 2, which in turn assumes the servant's songs. Simeon's recognition of Jesus as the light of revelation to the Gentiles, Luke 2, 29 to 32, recognizes him as the fulfillment of Isaiah 42, 6 and 49, 6. Remarkably, in Isaiah 53, for the first time in the Bible, the work of the Messiah, a royal figure, is linked with sacrifice for sin. Verse 10, he will be an asham, a guilt offering.

But this plan was conceived, downloaded, and activated before the world began. The benefits of Christ's sacrifice were accessible even to the Israelites. I'm not sure they understood fully how this would work, but those with true faith who came to God and presented their sacrifices according to the plan that God had graciously revealed experienced the joy of forgiveness just like you and I do, based on the work of the Messiah, slain once for all.

This is the Gospel according to Isaiah.