Part 9: The Satisfied Servant

Yet the Lord was pleased to crush him severely. When you make him a guilt offering, he will see his seed, he will prolong his days, and by his hand, the Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished. After his anguish, he will see light and be satisfied. By his knowledge, my righteous servant will justify many, and he will carry their iniquities. Therefore I will give him the many as a portion, and he will receive the mighty as spoil, because he willingly submitted to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet he bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.

Isaiah 53:10-12

The previous sections describe a silent, sin-bearing servant who suffered and died on behalf of others. This description could have been true of any martyr who died or animal that was sacrificed to God. The difference between a martyr, an animal sacrifice, and the servant, is found in the enduring effectiveness of the offering and magnified in the resurrection of the servant.

The final section of this passage shows that not only did the servant suffer and die, but he also had his days prolonged, he “will see light,” and he will be given “the mighty as spoil.” This means that the servant will be restored to life again! Indeed, in the New Testament, there is clear evidence of Jesus’ resurrection. He predicted his death and resurrection multiple times while he was alive, stayed in the grave for three days, and appeared to many people after rising from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15 makes it clear that a Christian’s faith is dependent upon the reality of a risen servant. This is because Jesus’ resurrection confirms the promise of a future resurrection for all who have lived. Additionally, while his intercessory death benefits believers during their lifetime, it promises so much more in eternity.

Parallel to the truth that the servant would be raised form the dead is the fact that the servant’s offering was accepted. If the offering had not been accepted, the servant would have failed in his mission. The first section (Isaiah 52:13-15), though, reminds us that the servant would be successful! In this section we see the success of the servant in a variety of ways. First, the servant was successful because, by being made a guilt offering, “the Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished.” This means that God was pleased to accept his death as an atoning sacrifice for sins. Colossians 1:19-20 declares, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile everything to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Second, the servant was successful because he will “be satisfied.” The servant’s satisfaction follows his anguish. MacDonald says, “Seeing the multitudes of those who have been redeemed by His blood He will be amply satisfied.”[1] Third, the servant’s success is seen in his ability to “justify many.” Justification is the result of being “declared righteous” by a judge. Jesus’ death made it possible for people to be justified before God by faith. Romans 1:1 confirms this, saying, “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Finally, the servant was successful because he “will receive the mighty as spoil.” Matthew Henry explains, “He shall have the glory of obtaining an incontestable victory and universal dominion.”[2] Ephesians 4:8 explains this in part when it says, “when he ascended on high, he took the captives captive; he gave gifts to people.” Jesus became victorious in his death and resurrection God put his stamp of approval on the work by allowing him to keep the spoils. Believers today can live in assurance of their future resurrection because of the resurrection of the suffering servant. This assurance motivates Christians to live without fear, just as Jesus taught his disciples, “Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Additionally, when Jesus’s sacrifice was accepted, he was given the spoils of war. Ephesians 4:8 teaches believers that Jesus has given some of those gifts to men and women. Thus, Christians are to use the gifts in service to God for the benefit of the body.


[1] MacDonald, William. Believer’s Bible commentary. Thomas Nelson, 2008.

[2] Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s commentary in one volume. Zondervan Publishing House, 1964.

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