By | April 3, 2021


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DATE: April 4, 2021


Devotional Reading: Philippians 2:1-11

Background Scripture: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Luke 24:1-35

Lesson Scripture: 1saiah 53:4-11


But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Objectives: By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:

•        Describe the characteristics of the suffering Servant;

•         Examine the benefits of complete obedience to God;

•         Appropriate the rewards of the suffering Servant to our lives..


Our grandfather was a good story-teller. We loved to visit him in the village during our holidays so that we can hear and learn many stories. One of the most exciting stories he told was the story of a village head who sacrificed his son in order to maintain peace between two communities. According to our grandpa, there was a dispute between two neighbouring communities over the ownership of a piece of land for a long period of time. Many people lost their lives and valuables during the period. However, when the new village head of one of the communities emerged, he sought for peace and reconciliation by calling on the two communities for dialogue. Eventually, he offered one of his sons to be killed as a substitution for the lives already lost from both communities to appease them. Ever since then, peace has returned to the two communities.

Isaiah is one of the prophets through whom God spoke to the people of Israel to restore them back to Himself. Today’s lesson focuses on Isaiah’s prophecy about the suffering Servant (Jesus Christ) who endured the suffering that would have been ours. He suffered and died for the salvation of humankind. Simply put, His death was a sacrifice that brought forgiveness of sin to believers. Therefore, we can say that He (Jesus Christ) played substitutionary role in our lives, as believers.


A.              The Suffering Servant: A Perfect Substitute             Isaiah 53:4-6

The first few verses of Isaiah chapter 53 tells of the people’s response to God’s promise of a suffering Servant who will rescue Jerusalem. It shows how the Servant was shunned, despite the divine mission. But from verse 4, the suffering Servant is described as a man who endured suffering that would have been ours and pains for our sake. Even though He was wounded because of our sins, Prophet Isaiah further prophesied that He would bear the consequence of the sins of many. He would carry their grief and sorrow but they would think it is punishment from God (. 4). In verse 5, He played the role of a perfect substitute. He was wounded and bruised for our iniquities (1 Peter 2:24), and by the punishment He suffered, we are healed and made whole. Nonetheless, in verse 6, humankind is depicted as reckless sheep that lack direction, but the Lord brought upon Him the punishment we deserve.

Isaiah’s prediction in this passage is the climax of four servant’s songs as recorded by him. The description of the suffering Servant rightly fits the person of Jesus Christ, as it relates to His suffering and death on the cross. Therefore, He is the revelation of the One who would suffer for the nation of Israel and by extension, humankind. The suffering Servant was sinless (Hebrews 4:15) but He bore the whole burden of sin, which estranged humanity from God and it cost Him His life. By implication, He suffered in order to secure our peace with Him. The testimony, however, is that His sufferings guaranteed our salvation. More importantly, the affirmation of the suffering Servant being a substitute for the sins of others is repeated several times in the New Testament as a description of Jesus’ ministry (Matthew 8:17; 1 Peter 2:22).


1.           Discuss the substitutionary roles of Christ and its implication in the life of a believer

2            What is the significance of Christ’s suffering in evangelism?

B.             Obedience of the Suffering Servant              Isaiah 53:7-9

Having explained how the suffering Servant shouldered the consequence of the sins of humankind and the righteous wrath of God upon Him, Prophet Isaiah also listed some characteristics of the suffering  servant in relation to His obedience to God.

•        Though He was treated harshly but He humbly endured it without saying a word,

•        He gave Himself like a lamb about to be slaughtered (i.e, He played the role of a sacrificial lamb) and a sheep about to be sheared but never opened His mouth.

•         He was arrest and sentenced to death like a criminal. Unfortunately, no one showed concern about His fate.

•         He was finally put to death for the sins of other people.

•         He was buried in the grave, despite the fact that He had no sin. In his letter to the Christians of his time, Apostle Peter encouraged them to emulate Jesus’ suffering. He alluded to the fact that Jesus never committed a crime or told a lie. Despite the insults and sufferings, He only placed His hope in God, the Righteous Judge (1 Peter 2:22-23).

The suffering Servant totally submitted to His oppressors (v. 7). He was obedient even to the point of death (Philippians 2:8), and eventually became victorious. Jesus Christ died so that through His redemption work, we will receive salvation and the righteousness, which is of God. It is rather unfortunate that many people still do not understand Jesus’ role in the plan of salvation; therefore, they will not enjoy the benefits of His substitutionary work and obedience to God. No doubt, the passage clearly emphasises the importance of complete obedience to God’s will and purpose as demonstrated by Jesus, our perfect example. Therefore, without obedience, we may not fully understand and enjoy the benefits of His substitutionary role that has earned us salvation.


1.         Discuss three reasons why Jesus Christ had to suffer for the sins of humankind.

2.         To what extent should believers tolerate insults or punishment, which they are not guilty of?

C.             Rewards of the Suffering Servant               Isaiah 53:10-11

The climax of the mission of the suffering Servant is the success, reward and exaltation, which He received. Of course, it was to the astonishment of the nations. After all, none would have thought He had a mission to fulfil because He bore the pain and death, which would have been ours (vv. 4-5). According to verse 10, God spoke again that it was His will that the suffering Servant should suffer on behalf of others. Therefore, His death became a sacrifice that offers forgiveness and through Him God’s purpose would be achieved. Ultimately, the suffering servant will have joy and know that His suffering and pain is not in vain. More so, He would endure the punishment of others and for His sake, they will receive forgiveness (v. 11).

There is always a reward for any act of obedience. Jesus obedience to the will of God offers us the gift of salvation. It was also written concerning Him that His days shall be prolonged. By implication, He would rise from the dead and live to reign forever. The one time sacrifice He made would be enough for the forgiveness that would lead to the justification of many. Noteworthy in the passage is the statement that “out of his anguish he shall see light” (v. 11), which confirms the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fulfilment of the prophecy concerning the suffering Servant and the rewards attached to His obedience is an indication that God is ever faithful to His promises. Therefore, believers should not doubt God’s promises because whatever He says He will do, He will surely do.


1.         Mention two ways you can convince a sinner that Jesus suffered for his/her sin.

2.        The suffering Servant justified many. Discuss ‘justification’ in relation to our salvation.

3.        Let a class member share a practical example of how he/she suffered for the sin he/she never committed and how he/she felt.

Fellowship and Ministry Building Activities

•        List the characteristics of the suffering Servant in the passage

•         Suggest to the evangelism committee to plan a crusade during this Easter period. Let the people you ministered to know about the substitution role of the suffering Servant and the benefits attached to it.

Take Home

•         Jesus Christ is the perfect substitution for our sins.

•       Christians should be hopeful of resurrection, just as Christ resurrected.

•       Jesus suffered and died for the sins of the whole world.

•        Death has been conquered as a result of the resurrection of Jesus.

•        Every act of obedience brings reward.

•        Jesus was humble, even unto death.

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