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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Isaiah 53



Verse 1


This may very well be called the Chapter of Chapters, concerning the Lord Jesus Christ; in which the two great features of his character are drawn to the full: the sufferings of Christ; and the glory that should follow. The Prophet, under the Holy Ghost, most blessedly sets forth the Lord Jesus, under both.

Isaiah 53:1

The Gospel of Christ is a report, and full of glad tidings of good things; yet so very generally is it despised and scorned, that the question is here put, who hath believed it? Reader! when we consider who Christ is in himself, and how essentially necessary his salvation is to all men; it becomes a matter of wonder that all men, universally speaking, do not embrace it in transports of joy. But, on the other hand, when we consider how sunk and fallen our nature is, even to the total ignorance of our ruin, it becomes a matter of still greater wonder, that any should receive it. Nothing, indeed, but sovereign grace can accomplish it in the heart. It is the Lord, that must make his people willing in the day of his power; Psalms 110:3; Philippians 1:29.

Verse 2

Reader! do mark the prominent features, which the Holy Ghost here gives, of your Redeemer: then turn to the original, as he appears in the Evangelists, and compare the striking likeness. How did Jesus appear when he was born in the streets of Bethlehem? Was there ever a more tender, a more exposed plan? And, do remark, that this growing up is said to have been before Jehovah. And as his obscure birth hath nothing attracting in it, so neither had his person: a root dry; a form of no comeliness. Precious Lord Jesus was this the state thou wert pleased to make choice of, in coming to seek and save thy people?

Verse 3

As his person was without attraction, so the treatment he received corresponded to it. So very ungracious was the general abuse and contempt of him, that he said himself, I am a worm, and no man; a very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people; Psalms 22:6. And they who should have countenanced him, blushed to own him for a time, and hid their faces from him. W hat a subject of wonder and astonishment is all this!

Verse 4

Nothing can be more decisive than what this verse contains of the causes and ends of Christ's sufferings and death. They were wholly as the surety and representative of his people; nor can anything be more satisfactory to the confirmation of the faith of the believer, than when we do esteem the Lord Jesus in this gracious character, as stricken and smitten of God, as the sinner's surety.

Verse 5-6

It is most blessed and delightful, everlastingly to view Jesus, in all he did and wrought, as the sinner's surety. Christ is never to be looked at, or regarded as a private person, but as the public head of his redeemed; and to endear this view of Christ still more, it is blessed to trace the hand of God the Father in all that concerns redemption. Did Jesus bear my sins in his own body on the tree? Then he did it, that I might be made the righteousness of God in him. And it was God the Father, not himself, who laid those iniquities upon him. Reader! I know not whether you enter into a rich enjoyment of those precious things; but to see the hand of God the Father in all, is what gives stability and confidence to our trust, and demonstrates that our faith is not found in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God; 1 Corinthians 2:5.

Verses 7-9

Who that attends to these words, and beholds Jesus led forth to crucifixion can hesitate to apply them to the person of Christ, and to him only? Had Isaiah seen him led to Calvary; had he been pre sent to witness the taunts and reproaches of the multitude; had he heard all that passed before Pontius Pilate, and seen the events which followed; surely it were impossible that he could have then described the person and character of the Lord Jesus more fully than he hath here done. The expression being taken from prison and from judgment, is uncommonly striking, and plainly confirms the doctrine of his propitiatory offering. For being cast into prison, and taken from judgment, fully proves that in all this Jesus stood as the believer's head, and not as a private character. Therefore, when he was cast in, the debt of his people was the cause; and his being taken out, is a plain proof that the prison keeper was paid, and the prisoner could no longer be left in confinement. If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed, John 8:36. Making his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, received a literal accomplishment, in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, the honourable counsellor; and his being crucified between two thieves, as literally fulfilled the Prophet's other prediction.

Verses 10-12

This pleasure of Jehovah, at the sufferings and bruises of Jesus, opens a sweet and consolatory thought to the faithful! So very great and important, in the sight of God the Father, are the bruises which Jesus received for his Church, that in the blessings of redemption, consequent upon them, the Lord Jehovah took delight to behold them, knowing that by his stripes we are healed. Not all the blood of beasts, on a thousand altars; neither all the services of angels and men, through endless generations, and forever, could do that which was done by the bruises and putting to grief, which Jesus sustained. Het*e the soul-travail of Christ, which he felt, both in the garden and on the cross, to bring forth the blessed fruits of it, in the real conversion of sinners to God. Christ's travailing pains for his people are until he is formed in the heart, the hope of glory. And the assurance that these points are to be accomplished, the promise of a seed to serve Christ is beautifully introduced, and declared to be so great, and so finished, that Jesus shall himself be satisfied, and see of the travail of his soul, in the multitude of sinners converted to the doctrine of the cross. Blessed promise to our glorious Head, and in him to all the seed; for all is yea and amen to the glory of God the Father in Christ; Ps 72 throughout.

Verse 12


MY soul! ponder well this blessed, this glorious, this divine chapter; and do not dismiss it, until the Lord hath both taught thee the many gracious things contained in it, and brought home all that is said of Jesus to thine own experience and joy. And when dismissing it from thy present review, dismiss it but for a short season, and let thy frequent return to it, in solemn meditation, testify how very precious every part and portion of it is in thy esteem.

Behold here, my soul, thy Jesus, under his twofold character, in which the Spirit of Christ, which was in the Prophets, did signify, when testifying of his sufferings, and the glory that should follow. And as thou passest over the several parts of the chapter, see whether thou art not constrained to cry out, in the same words as the Lord Jesus himself did, when he made the hearts of his disciples burn within them in the account: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

And oh! thou precious Jesus! who art the sum and substance of this chapter, and of the whole Bible, give me to enter into an heartfelt enjoyment of the greatness of what is here related of thee, in the all-sufficiency of thy sacrifice, and of my personal interest in it. Yea, Lord! I see that thou hast, by the dignity of thy person, and the glory of thy work, made full satisfaction, yea, more than satisfaction, for all the injuries which sin hath occasioned among the works of God! The glory of God's holy law, which sin had darkened, is more than restored by the perfect obedience of the Lord, our righteousness. And the image of God, which sin had defaced in man, is more than brought back to perfection in that nature which thou hast taken, in a pure and holy portion of it, and which, by being united to the Godhead, gives to all thine actions and sufferings the merit of the Godhead. Oh! for grace then to believe, and to stand in that belief, eternally secure, that God the Father's covenant promise is and must be fulfilled: Thou shalt see of the travail of thy soul, and be satisfied. The dew of thy birth shall he as the womb of the morning. Thy people shall all be righteous in thy righteousness; and in thee and thy glory they shall shine as the stars forever and ever. Amen.


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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 53:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

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