Isaiah 53 – a paraphrase
1We’ve been proclaiming a message, God’s mighty power is revealed. Did you see it? Have you heard it? Do you believe? 2He (the one the revelation is all about) grew up like a young plant before God. His coming was like a root springing up unexpectedly from dry, arid land. However, physically speaking you wouldn’t have though he was much to look at. 3We despised and rejected him. We considered him a man to be pitied. Carrying great sorrow on his shoulders, he knew suffering only too well. We were so embarrassed of him, we looked the other way when we saw him, we could not even maintain eye contact. We felt he had nothing of value to offer.
4Come on, let’s be honest. It was our troubles and suffering that he willingly took upon himself but we thought that it was his fault that God was punishing him. 5He was defiled, violated, wounded because of our sins. He took on the crushing weight of our guilt. He was punished so we could know peace and stand complete in him, reconciled to God. He was mocked, whipped, beaten so that we could know true healing. 6We were like wandering sheep, all over the place and lost. We were like men choosing their own path, trespassing onto land where we were not meant to go. Yet, God chose to declare him guilty instead of us.
7Oppressed and attacked like a lamb driven to the slaughter, he suffered silently without complaint, like a ewe quietly and patiently allowing itself to be sheared. 8His enemies used coercion disguised as justice to remove him. He could not rely on his friends and contemporaries. They just were not interested. He was cut off, he died for the evil deeds of his people, those who actually deserved the death penalty. 9He was innocent both of wicked actions and treacherous words but they gave him a criminal’s burial, his tomb was borrowed from a rich man.
10However, get this! It was actually Yahweh’s will and good pleasure to crush him and cause him grief. This was the plan all along. He became a sacrifice for our sin and because of this he will live to see many descendants. Yahweh will bless and prosper all that he does. 11More than that, he will be satisfied when he sees what his suffering has achieved. Through his experience, the righteous servant enables many more to be declared righteous. He will bear their sin for them. 12Therefore he will receive a tremendous and bountiful inheritance. It will be a reward that demonstrates his strength, valour and greatness. This is his reward because he poured out his life to death and willingly allowed himself to be counted with sinners. In doing this he bore the sin of many and made intercession for them.
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