Isaiah 53:3-5

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 9, 2000


We have started one of those most amazing passages in the Bible.  The passage started in 52:13, as Isaiah began to describe the Suffering Servant.

:3 He is despised and rejected of men

despisedbazah hold in contempt; (Niphal) to be despicable; to be vile, worthless

rejectedchadel – rejected, fleeting, lacking; Literally, “He who ceases from men, “ that is, is no longer regarded as a man”

:3  a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief

sorrowsmak'ob pain, sorrow.

acquaintedyada` to know; learn to know; to know by experience; familiar by constant contact with

griefcholiy sickness; (NIV) “suffering”


Jesus understands pain

Some people don’t know how to relate.  They just have a hard time understanding what you’re talking about.
I think I have seen a difference in how people treat their waiters or waitresses at a restaurant.  It seems to me that generally those who have worked in a restaurant tend to be more considerate and kind to their waiter than those who have never worked in a restaurant.  If you’ve worked as a waiter, you know just how rude and inconsiderate people can be.  You identify with your waiter and tend to be more pleasant and leave a bigger tip.
If you’ve ever tried sharing a problem or concern with someone who can’t relate to what you’re talking about, you know the frustration.



(Heb 4:15-16 KJV)  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. {16} Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Jesus has been there.  He knows what pain and sorrow are all about.  And He knows how to help too.
As we begin to realize that Jesus knows exactly what we’re going through, the proper response on our part is to then come to Him in prayer.

Don’t underestimate the power of prayer.  Did you know that there is actual, scientific proof that prayer works?


Dr. William Harris published an article in The Archive of Internal Medicine on October 24, 1999 concerning a 50 week study he conducted at Kansas City’s Mid-America Heart Institute involving 990 heart patients.  In the study, he had a group of people from a wide variety of Christian groups (35% non-denominational, 27% Episcopalian, and the remainder as other Protestant groups or Roman Catholic) who agreed to pray for these patients.  Intercessors were given only the first name of patients whom they had never met and told to pray daily for the next 28 days for a “speedy recovery with no complications” and anything else which seemed appropriate to them.  Neither the patients nor the attending physicians knew that the prayer was going on.  Only Dr. Harris’ team and the hospital administration knew the study was being conducted.  At the end of the study, the patients who had been prayed for had shown an 11% reduction in their heart assessment scores over those who had not received prayer.

Imagine that!  That was with the patients not even knowing they were being prayed for!

Full article:

From  Alternative Therapies, January 2000, Vol.6; No. 1; pg.28 –


A leading lipid researcher based at Kansas City’s Mid-America Heart Institute (MAHI), St. Luke’s Hospital, has replicated the most celebrated prayer study of the century. Published in the October 24,1999, issue of The Archive of Internal Medicine, research by William S. Harris, Ph.D., and colleagues shows statistically significant beneficial effects for cardiology patients who received intercessory prayer (IP), similar to the famous 1988 study by Randolph Byrd, MD).

“We wanted to see whether praying for the sick makes a difference,” Dr Harris told Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. “The study was done as rigorously as possible to remove as much bias as possible.” Dr Harris hopes his work will encourage people who already believe in prayer and provide a stimulus for more studies on prayer.

Entitled, “A Randomized, Controlled Trial of the Effects of Remote Intercessory Prayer on Outcomes in Patients Admitted to the Coronary Care Unit,” the 50 week study involving 990 patients confronts the question of distant healing influences in the form of IP and is conducted in a double-blind, controlled environment.  It overcomes the Usual complaints about prayer studies such as the perennial “positive thinking” and placebo effects, differing from the Byrd study – conducted at San Francisco General Hospital – in that patients and physicians did not know a study was taking place.  Researchers obtained an exemption from the requirement to obtain informed consent from patients, as there are no known side effects from positive intercessory prayer. It was believed that the invitation to participate could have added unneeded stress to some patients.  “This is big news on the spirituality-and-medicine front,” said Larry Dossey, MD, executive editor of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine and author of 3 book on prayer and healing. “The study follows elegant, precise methodology and arrives at a statistically significant finding for prayer. It was done by a respected scholar in the field of cardiovascular disease and lipid research. Skeptics always say good journals won’t publish prayer studies because the studies are worthless. So much for that.”

A key tool in the IP study was the creation by Dr Harris and colleagues of a weighted and summed scoring system called the MAHI-CCU score. .’This was a categorical measurement of efficacy with our CCU system of scoring,” Dr Harris said. “We felt the score was intuitively reasonable and was applied equally to both groups” including those who did and those who did not receive prayer. The MAHI scoring system is a continuous variable measurement which assessed outcomes from excellent to catastrophic. Using this system, patients that developed an unstable angina, for example, received a score of 1, while a patient who suffered a cardiac arrest would receive a score of 5. Researchers found an 11% reduction in scores in the IP group compared to the group that did riot receive prayer.

The work, conducted by 2 Ph.D.s, 5 MDs. and statistician and hospital chaplain Jerry V. Kolb, was Dr Harris first venture into the realm of IP research.  “I’m a Christian and I believe in prayer, but it wasn’t until I moved to St. Luke’s Hospital that I felt the environment was amenable for this type of a study.  Plus, at St. Luke’s we have a huge cardiac population.”

The intercessors represented a cross-section of the Christian traditions with 35% non-denominational, 27% Episcopalian, and the remainder as other Protestant groups or Roman Catholic.  Intercessors (87% of which were women) reported at least weekly church attendance.  Intercessors were given only the first name of patients whom they had never met and told to pray daily for the next 28 days for a “speedy recovery with no complications” and anything else which seemed appropriate to them.

Dr. Harris says he was only mildly surprised at the results.  “Everyone was on pins and needles because we had already agreed ahead of time to publish regardless of our results.  This made some hospital administrators a bit nervous, wondering, “Will we be the ones who publish a study that says prayer doesn’t work?”

But Dr. Harris, Chaplain Kolb, and colleagues stepped out on faith and landed on solid ground.  “We received no specific instructions from above,” Dr. Harris laughs.  “I just wanted to show that if God is real, there ought to be a way to see Him in the real world.  I’m not saying God can be measured, but if God is real and He tells people in the Bible to pray for the sick, there ought to be a measurable impact.”

(James 5:13 KJV)  Is any among you afflicted? let him pray…

:3 and we hid as it were our faces from him

The idea is that of hiding our faces because of disgust, because of how horrible He looked. We talked last week about how Jesus was beaten for us

(Isa 52:14 NLT)  Many were amazed when they saw him--beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know he was a person.

In context, the idea here is that Jesus would be so beaten and bloodied that the people would turn their faces away in disgust.


Love the unlovely

I think there’s a sense in which we need to be careful that we don’t repeat this mistake.
(Mat 25:44-45 KJV) Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? {45} Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

When we do it to the least of these, we do it to Jesus.

It’s something that we seem to pick up in grade school, deciding who is cool and who isn’t.  It seems to get worse when we hit Jr. High, with all of those questions about ourselves ringing in our ears about whether we’re going to be accepted or liked, and so we put others down, ridicule them, or just walk away.
Jesus was willing to love the unlovely. He was willing to talk to the woman who was the outcast of her community (John 4). He was willing to touch those that were untouchable (Mark 1:40-41).
So, here is Jesus hanging on the cross.  His face is bloody and disfigured from the beatings He’s suffered.  His back has been shredded by the whipping.  Will you look at Him?  Will you love Him?
If so, will you love those of whom others “esteem not”?

:3  he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

despised – same as above, vs. 3

esteemedchashab to think, esteem, calculate, make a judgment, count


Jesus turned rejection into forgiveness

(John 1:11 KJV)  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Jesus came for the Jews, but they would reject Him.
Yet even in rejection, Jesus would not become bitter, but would forgive.  On the cross, after having been betrayed and crucified by His own people, He would say,
(Luke 23:34 KJV)  …Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…
The story of Joseph in the Bible  (Gen. 37-50) is also a story of rejection and forgiveness.
Joseph was not liked by his brothers.  They were jealous of all the attention that their father Jacob gave to this younger brother.  The day finally came when they decided to do something about the brat, and they sold him as a slave.  He ended up in Egypt where he was a good faithful servant, until his master’s wife ended up getting him thrown into prison unjustly.  And there he rotted for three years.  Because of the rejection of his brothers, he had gone from favored son to servant, and from servant to prisoner.  Through all his hard times, God was with Joseph.  There came a day when he had the opportunity to interpret the dreams of the Pharaoh, and he ended up being promoted to the second highest position in Egypt.  Through it all, he could have remained bitter and angry at his brothers for their rejection.  When he was finally reunited with his family, he had the chance to get even with his brothers, but he didn’t.

(Gen 50:19-20 KJV)  And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? {20} But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Jesus too was rejected, but like Joseph, He didn’t let his life become consumed with bitterness, but chose to forgive instead.
If you are struggling with the feeling of rejection, let it go.  Don’t become consumed with anger.  Choose to forgive.

:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:

Even though we despised and rejected him because He was a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief”, He went on to take on our griefs and sorrows.

bornenasa'   (Qal) to lift up; to bear, carry, support, sustain, endure; to take

griefscholiy sickness, bodily pains

carriedcabal to bear a load

sorrowsmak'ob pain, sorrow, pains of the mind.

Matthew says that Jesus was fulfilling this prophecy when He healed people:

(Mat 8:1-6 KJV)  When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. {2} And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. {3} And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. {4} And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. {5} And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, {6} And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.

{:13-17} And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. {14} And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. {15} And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. {16} When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: {17} That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

One of the things He came to do was to bring healing, both to the pains in our bodies and the pains in our minds.

:4  yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

esteemchashab to think, make a judgment, imagine, count

strickennaga` – to touch, reach, strike

smittennakah – to strike; (Hophal) to be smitten; to receive a blow; to be wounded; to be beaten; to be (fatally) smitten, be killed

afflicted`anah – to afflict, oppress, humble, be afflicted, be bowed down

The idea is that the people would make a judgment against Him, deciding that He was being punished by God for His sins, when He was being punished by God for our sins.

This was in the mind of the Sanhedrin when they condemned Him to death.

(Mat 26:65-66 KJV) Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. {66} What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.
They thought that He was worthy of being condemned to death because they saw Him as an ordinary man claiming to be the Son of God.  But He was the Son of God.

This was in the mind of the people as they taunted Him while on the cross.

(Mat 27:39-43 KJV)  And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, {40} And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. {41} Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, {42} He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. {43} He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
They thought that if He was the Son of God, that God would rescue Him, yet why would God stop the very thing that He sent Jesus to do?  God sent Jesus to earth to die on a cross and take the punishment for our sins.

:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions

I think this is one of the most important verses in the entire Bible.  This is what puts the whole thing together, explaining the very reason why Jesus came and died.

Again, there is irony here.  Even though the people thought He deserved to be put to death, the fact was that when He was killed, He would be wounded for the sins of the people, not for His own sins.

woundedchalal to wound (fatally), bore through, pierce.  It speaks of a bodily wound, not just mental anguish. What an appropriate word to describe the One whose hands, feet, and side were pierced.

David prophesied

Ps 22:16  For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

Zechariah prophesied about how Israel would respond when Jesus comes back,

(Zec 12:10 KJV)  And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

The ancient Jews understood this of the Messiah.  They write, “chastisements are divided into three parts,  one to David and the fathers,  one to our generation,  and one to the King Messiah; as it is written,  “he was wounded for our transgressions; and bruised for our iniquities”:” (John Gill, quoting Mechilta apud Yalkut,  par. 2. fol 90. 1.)

The Messiah would be wounded, pierced for us.  Who could this be talking about?  Is there any doubt?  God told the Jews through Isaiah 700 years before it would happen.

for our transgressionspesha` transgression, rebellion


The Gospel

The Bible says that all of us are sinners.  We have all rebelled against God.
(Rom 3:23 NLT)  For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard.
The Bible says that our sins bring a separation between us and God.  Isaiah writes,
(Isa 59:1-2 NLT)  Listen! The LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. {2} But there is a problem--your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.
In order for there to be a restoration of communication between us and God, someone would have to pay the price to remove our sins.  This is what Jesus did, dying in our place.
Drawbridge Parable.
A man had the duty to raise a drawbridge to allow the steamers to pass on the river below and to lower it again for trains to cross over on land. One day, this man's son visited him, desiring to watch his father at work. Quite curious, as most boys are, he peeked into a trapdoor that was always left open so his father could keep an eye on the great machinery that raised and lowered the bridge. Suddenly, the boy lost his footing and tumbled into the gears. As the father tried to reach down and pull him out, he heard the whistle of an approaching train. He knew the train would be full of people and that it would be impossible to stop the fast-moving locomotive, therefore, the bridge must be lowered! A terrible dilemma confronted him: if he saved the people, his son would be crushed in the cogs. Frantically, he tried to free the boy, but to no avail. Finally, the father put his hand to the lever that would start the machinery. He paused and then, with tears he pulled it. The giant gears began to work and the bridge clamped down just in time to save the train. The passengers, not knowing what the father had done, were laughing and making merry; yet the bridgekeeper had chosen to save their lives at the cost of his son's.

:5 he was bruised for our iniquities

bruiseddaka' (Pual) to be crushed, be shattered.  The word seems to speak of both inward and outward pain, both mental anguish and physical pain.

iniquities`avon perversity, depravity

Some have made the terrible mistake through the centuries of blaming the Jews for the death of Jesus.

What put Jesus on the cross?

Jesus was dying for my sins.
If anyone is to “blame” for Jesus’ death on the cross, it is all of us.  He died to pay for all of our sins.

:5  the chastisement of our peace was upon him

chastisementmuwcar discipline, chastening, correction. This is the correction inflicted by a parent on a child for their good, like spanking or a time out.

peaceshalowm completeness, soundness, welfare, peace

Our sins brought us into a state of war with God.  The thing that was required to make peace, the chastisement for our sins, was put upon Jesus.

(2 Cor 5:21 NLT)  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

When we come to ask God for forgiveness and we come to trust that He has forgiven us because of the sacrifice of Jesus for us, we have peace with God.

Ro 5:1  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

:5 and with his stripes we are healed.

stripeschabbuwrah bruise, stripe, wound, blow.  The marks of a whip across a person’s back.

Not only has Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be “pierced”, but he has now said that Jesus would be whipped, or, scourged.

Mt 27:26  Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered [him] to be crucified.

healedrapha' to heal, make healthful

1Pe 2:24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.


Receive healing

I believe that in the context of the passage the healing that Jesus makes available to us is both spiritual and physical.  He has borne our illnesses.  He was pierced for our sins.  All that really remains is for us to receive.  He may not always heal you physically, but He will always heal you spiritually.