Who is the Servant of the Lord depicted in Isaiah 53? While much attention has been focused upon this biblical chapter, there are four important passages that Isaiah penned on the ministry of the Servant of the Lord that lead up to and include Isaiah 53. These “Servant Songs” show us how to understand his Messianic task.

The Servant Songs of Isaiah round out the Messianic portrait that culminates in the stunning verses of Isaiah 53. They reveal one who obediently suffers with, and on behalf of, humanity, yet who triumphs, vindicated, on behalf of the same humanity for which he has suffered.

“. . . the Son of Man [Messiah] did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many”  (Matthew 20:28).


The Servant Is Chosen for a Specific Task

Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house. (Isaiah 42:1a, 6-7)

The Servant Restores the Jewish People

Indeed He says,  “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.” Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation abhors, to the Servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel; and He has chosen you.” (Isaiah 49:6-7)

The Servant Is Tormented

The Lord God has opened my ear; and I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. He is near who justifies me; who will contend with me? Let us stand together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near me. (Isaiah 50:5-8)

The Suffering Servant Will Be Vindicated

Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men; so shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider. (Isaiah 52:13-15)


So he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written:  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-21)

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. (Luke 1:32-33)