SERIES: Jesus: Hope Foretold
MESSAGE: His Death Foretold
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 52:13-53:12

To foretell someone’s death seems morbid and macabre—unless that someone’s death will bring life to the world. The prophet Isaiah predicted the virgin birth, the sinless life, and the atoning death of the Son of God. Jesus Christ is the personification of hope for all who receive Him; He is Hope Foretold. In this section of Scripture, we are on holy ground as we muse over the prediction of the death of our great Sin-Bearer. (See Revelation 13:8.)

Connect Group Recap: December 20, 2015
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: His Death Foretold
Text: Isaiah 52:13-53:12


To foretell someone's death seems morbid and macabre—unless that someone's death will bring life to the world. The prophet Isaiah predicted the virgin birth, the sinless life, and the atoning death of the Son of God. Jesus Christ is the personification of hope for all who receive Him; He is Hope Foretold. In this section of Scripture, we are on holy ground as we muse over the prediction of the death of our great Sin-Bearer. (See Revelation 13:8.)


The Anticipation of His Death (52:13-15):
The Abandonment at His Death (53:1-3):
The Atonement in His Death (53:4-9):
The Accomplishment of His Death (53:10-12):

Connect Up: How does Christ's sacrifice draw you closer to God—both literally (through forgiveness) and emotionally (through praise)? Take a moment to thank God for providing Christ on your behalf.

Connect In: How does Christ's service and sacrifice shape how you work with and for your fellow Christians?

Connect Out: While it might seem morbid to discuss death with other people, especially at Christmastime, how can the truth of Christ's death and resurrection bring life to those around you through evangelism? Discuss ways that you can share the accomplishment of Christ's death with unbelievers this season.


  1. Introduction
    1. Divine providence
      1. The Old Testament prophets predicted Jesus' death more than 700 years before His birth
      2. Jesus' death was predicted, but it was not expected
      3. People did not understand His death when it happened, though they knew the prophecies (see Isaiah 9:6)
    2. People did not realize there was a difference between Jesus' first coming and His second coming
      1. Between those two events was His death, resurrection, and ascension
      2. There is also the time that is passing for God to collect His people—the church—from the earth before His reign
    3. They did not expect their Messiah to suffer
      1. They wanted a sympathetic Messiah who would rescue them from Rome and others
      2. There was no room in their thinking for a suffering, dying, Savior Messiah
    4. This passage is the fourth of the Servant Songs (see Isaiah 42; 49; 50; 52-53)
      1. Passages where God announces His ideal Servant
      2. References the coming Messiah
      3. Quoted multiple times in the New Testament (see Matthew 8:17; John 12:38)
      4. A eunuch was reading Isaiah's writings when he encountered Philip on the road (see Acts 8:27-39)
  2. The Anticipation of His Death (52:13-15)
    1. Most Jewish rabbis do not consider this to be a messianic passage
      1. They do not see this as being fulfilled in Jesus Christ
      2. This passage has been called "the torture chamber of the rabbis" because it is so obvious that Jesus fulfilled it
    2. They say it is not a description of Jesus, but rather the nation of Israel
      1. There is a contextual problem with this thinking
        1. The Servant Songs are a description of the ideal Servant of Israel
        2. God speaks to His Servant about His servant Israel (see Isaiah 49:1-7)
        3. They are not one and the same
      2. There is a historical problem with this thinking
        1. Historically, the Jewish people have looked at Isaiah 52-53 as being messianic prophecies
        2. The Talmud always refers to this passage as being messianic
        3. In the eleventh century AD, the rabbi Rashi began interpreting this passage as a reference to Israel
        4. This passage could refer to Jesus' resurrection, ascension, and glorification (see v. 13; Philippians 2:9-11)
        5. It could also refer to when He was lifted off the ground and onto a Roman cross (see John 12:32-33)
        6. He came to save all nations (see John 3:16)
    3. His own people did not recognize Him as their Messiah (see John 11:1)
  3. The Abandonment at His Death (53:1-3)
    1. Unbelief (v. 1)
      1. Jesus had followers, but not many believed His report
      2. After His resurrection and ascension, only 120 people were authentic believers (see Acts 1:15)
      3. Even during His ministry, most people did not believe in Him (see John 12:37-38)
      4. No other religion has at its heart the humiliation of its God (see 1 Corinthians 1:23)
    2. Unfruitfulness (v. 2)
      1. The nation of Israel was hard, barren ground (see Isaiah 5:1-7)
      2. By the time Jesus came, the priesthood was corrupted by the Sadducees and the truth corrupted by the Pharisees
      3. The root in Isaiah 53:2 was Jesus
      4. When Jacob was on his deathbed, he predicted that Shiloh would come from the tribe of Judah (see Genesis 49:10)
        1. Shiloh = he whose it is
        2. Historically, the Jewish rabbis believed this was a prediction of the Messiah coming from Judah
        3. The interpretation
          1. Scepter = right to rule
          2. Judah would rule itself until Shiloh came
          3. Twenty-three years before Jesus' trial, the Romans came and took the right to rule away from the people
    3. Unaccepted (vv. 2-3)
      1. We know Jesus suffered on the cross, but we forget about His emotional grief at being rejected
      2. At the Last Supper, He had twelve friends with Him in the upper room (see Matthew 26:20-30; Mark 14:17-26; Luke 22:14-38; John 13-17)
      3. In the garden of Gethsemane, He had eleven friends with Him (see Matthew 26:30-35; Mark 14:27-32; Luke 22:39-44; John 18:1)
      4. He took Peter, James, and John with Him to pray, and they fell asleep (see Matthew 26:37-45; Mark 14:33-41; Luke 22:45)
      5. After He was arrested, Peter denied Him (see Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; John 18:25-27)
      6. "They all forsook Him and fled" (Mark 14:50)
      7. John was the only apostle who showed up at the cross (see John 19:25-27)
      8. Jesus felt the distance between Himself and His Father because of the weight of sin (see Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34)
  4. The Atonement in His Death (53:4-9)
    1. Vicarious atonement
      1. Substitutionary atonement
      2. 2 Corinthians 5:21
      3. God the Father treated Jesus Christ as if He were guilty for every single sin ever committed by everyone who ever lived
      4. God treated Jesus like we deserve to be treated so we could be treated like Jesus deserves to be treated
    2. Jesus is the one who came to save people who need saving (see Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11)
      1. The gifts of the magi alluded to this (see Matthew 2:11)
        1. Gold = metal of a king
        2. Frankincense = fragrance of a priest
        3. Myrrh = embalming fluid
          1. Prediction of the purpose of His life: death
          2. Myrrh gives off no scent unless it is crushed
      2. Even at His birth, the shadow of the cross fell upon Him
      3. The purpose of His life was hinted at back in the garden of Eden (see Genesis 2:16-17)
        1. Adam and Eve did not physically die when they ate the fruit
        2. They died spiritually
        3. Something else died in their place
        4. God clothed them with animal skins (see Genesis 3:21)
          1. Possibly lamb skin
          2. One for each person
      4. Lamb sacrifice
        1. One lamb per person after the fall
        2. At Passover, one lamb was sacrificed per family (see Exodus 12:1-13)
        3. When Yom Kippur was established, one lamb was sacrificed to cover the sins of the entire nation
        4. When Jesus came, He was the perfect Lamb of God who was sacrificed for the sins of the world (see John 1:29)
  5. The Accomplishment of His Death (53:10-12)
    1. What delight could the Father find at seeing His Son butchered?
      1. The delight was the accomplishment (see Hebrews 12:2)
      2. Jesus had the joy and delight of seeing all those who would believe in Him and be saved
    2. Coming to know God through Jesus (see John 17:3)
    3. Think of what God can do through your life if you see your life as a sacrifice
      1. For His people
      2. For His glory and kingdom

Figures referenced: Rabbi Akiva, Rashi, William Thomas Stead, Mark Twain

Hebrew words: Shiloh

Cross references: Genesis 2:16-17; 3:21; 49:10; Exodus 12:1-13; Isaiah 5:1-7; 9:6; 42; 49; 50; 52-53; Matthew 1:21; 2:11; 8:17; 26:20-35, 37-45, 69-75; 27:46; Mark 14:17-41, 50, 66-72; 15:34; Luke 2:11; 22:14-45; John 1:29; 3:16; 11:1; 12:32-33, 37-38; 13-17; 18:1, 25-27; 19:25-27, 32-33; Acts 1:15; 8:27-39; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 12:2

Topic: Jesus' Death

Keywords: divine providence, Servant Songs, Messiah, Savior, Servant, prophecy, Israel, grief, apostles, atonement, vicarious atonement, substitutionary atonement, magi, garden of Eden, lamb, salvation, sacrifice

His Death Foretold - Isaiah 52:13-53:12 |
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