God’s Rescue Plan (Isaiah 52-53)

In Sermons, The Whole Story, Year 2024 by harvest.admin

Resource by Rich Bowman


In his book titled Written In Blood, author Robert Coleman tells the story of a little boy named Johnny who donated his blood  to save the life of his sister, Mary.  

It was said that Mary had a rare disease that required her to have a blood transfusion in order to survive. The doctor explained to Johnny that because he shared the same unique blood type as his sister he would be the perfect person to donate his blood and save her life. 

So, the Doctor asked him the question: “Johnny, would you be willing to donate your blood for your sister? With his lips trembling, heart beating, and fear in his eyes, he answered “Yes, I’ll do it for my sister”! 

Shortly after, the two children were taken into the hospital room and the nurse inserted the needle into Johnny’s arm while he carefully watched blood flow through a tube from his body into a bag the blood was being collected in. 

As time went by, Johnny looked at the doctor and asked the question… “Doctor, when am I going to die”? 

You see, Johnny thought giving his blood to his sister meant giving up his life. When he said yes, he said yes believing he had to die so that his sister could live. 

Fortunately, the doctor replied, no you are not going to die from donating your blood! Giving your blood will save her life, but it will not take yours. 


The reason I tell this story is because it is a great example of our spiritual condition and what Jesus did to rescue us. Like Mary we all have a disease. It’s a spiritual disease called sin that has affected every area of our lives and ultimately leads to death. 

  • Sin has affected our bodies… which is why we can’t escape the agony of physical pain, sickness, and even death. 
  • Sin has affected our desires… which is why from childhood we all have a natural impulse to do what’s right in our own eyes instead of doing what’s right in the eye’s of God’s.  
  • Sin has affected creation… which is why we experience the tragedy of natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, or landslides that can destroy the lives of millions. 
  • Sin has affected our minds… which is why the bible says our understanding has become darkened and our thoughts are evil continuously… 
  • Sin has even affected our relationships… and the most important relationship sin has affected is our relationship to God, which is why the Bible describes us as being cut off and separated from him…                           

But, in the same way Mary’s brother willingly offered his blood to rescue her from a deadly disease, Jesus willingly offered his blood, through death to rescue us from the deadly disease of sin… 

In fact, that’s what the entire biblical story is all about. From Genesis to Revelation it’s all about Jesus and God’s plan to rescue and redeem us through him. 

And what I love about these chapters we are about to explore is that they are the most beautiful prophetic descriptions of what Jesus accomplished for us in the entire OT. 

Some have even called these chapters “The Mt. Everest of Old Testament Prophecy” OR “The most majestic thing that Old Testament prophecy has ever achieved” and for the next few moments I have with you my goal is for us to climb this prophetic mountain together so that we can have a better view and understanding of what Jesus did to rescue us. 

Four things that I want us to see are:  

  1. Jesus Suffered our Pain
  2. Jesus Carried our Sorrows 
  3. Jesus Bore our Sins 
  4. Jesus Gave his righteousness


Starting in chapter 52 verse 13, here’s what the prophet Isaiah writes. 

13] Behold, my servant (Speaking of Jesus) shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.  [14] As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind [15] so shall he sprinkle many nations. 

Notice that Isaiah mentions the appearance of Jesus here expressing that many were astonished at him… The word astonished doesn’t convey the idea that people were in awe of him as if he were beautiful and wonderful to look at. 

It conveys the idea that people couldn’t bear the thought of seeing him because he was marred beyond human recognition. 

That is to say, physically speaking the appearance of Jesus was extremely disfigured from being beaten and tormented so badly… 


For example, when describing what it was like for him to be beaten by Roman soldiers, historians say that the Romans would make the accused person bend over a tree-stump-like object while naked. 

They would then whip the person several times with leather strips containing sheep bones and metal balls. The metal balls would bruise the accused person and the bones would dig into their muscles, ripping out chunks of flesh and exposing their bones. 

Jim Caviezel, who played the role of Jesus in a movie called The Passion of Christ even said that while filming the scene of Jesus being whipped they were pretending to hit him and at one point they accidentally did hit him. He said the force and sting of the whip was so horrific that he couldn’t even breath 

For reference, most people believe Jesus would have received about 39 of these lashes with full force and my guess is that they were so volatile towards Jesus while beating him that they probably hit his back, hit his arms, hit his legs, and they likely even hit his face leaving his entire body covered in blood and mangled. 

Not to mention, he had a crown of thorns wedged onto his head which likely penetrated through his scalp causing further bleeding and agonizing pain. 

And to make matters worse, when they nailed him to a wooden cross he had 6-8 inch nails driven into each of his wrist and driven into his feet and when they lifted it up into a vertical position, the weight of his body would have collapsed downward making it difficult for him to breath, but also causing extreme nerve and tissue damage to his body. 

And that’s not even all of it! Time doesn’t allow me to talk about him being spat on, pushed, punched, kicked, mocked, you name it. 

So, when you think about the level of physical pain Jesus suffered it makes sense why Isaiah would say people were astonished and that Jesus no longer looked human…


But, shockingly, that wasn’t even the worst part of the pain he suffered for us… The worst part was the spiritual and emotional pain he was going to experience…  

In verse 10 of chapter 53, Isaiah say’s “it was the will of the Lord to crush Jesus”… 

For you to feel the weight of that, You have to understand that at this point the only relationship that the son Jesus has ever had with God the father is one of intimacy, love, joy, happiness, and delight. But at this moment in history when Jesus was about to be crushed all of that was taken away.  

Instead, God was about to unleash the fullness of his anger, wrath, and condemnation onto Jesus for our sins to pay the penalty of breaking his law and to satisfy god’s wrath and that was a painful feeling to Jesus. 

The NT even depicts how painful it was as it describes him being in such agony over the reality of suffering that he began sweating drops of blood from how stressed he was to the point of even asking God if there was any other way… (Mark 14:32-37). 

Interestingly, when Jesus was praying this he happened to be in the Garden of Gethsemane which is a name that means oil press and it’s an orchard of olive trees at the foot of the mount of olives. 

Often, people would take olives off the tree and would crush them in order to get olive oil and ironically in the very garden where olives are crushed, Jesus is about to be crushed by his own father… 

To put this in further perspective, consider this… “The bible says in Galatians chapter 3 that “cursed is everyone who does not do everything written in the book of the law, but Christ redeemed us from the curse, by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:10-14). 

Now watch this, in Deuteronomy chapter 27 & 28 the Levitical Priests of Israel were commanded to stand on Mount Ebal and declare out loud both the blessings and curses of God in response to Israel’s obedience and disobedience.  

In Chapter 27, they declared… 16 “‘Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother.’19 “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’24 “‘Cursed be anyone who strikes down his neighbor in secret.’  25 “‘Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’26 “‘Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them… 

When the bible says that Jesus Christ became a curse for us, it means that the curses you and I deserved for our disobedience are the curses that were put on Jesus, in our place. 


So, he bore both the physical and spiritual pain of Judgement that we deserved to bear which is so amazing because he would have been fair to simply abandon us to our own fate of death, but he didn’t. 

Instead, he was so compelled by love that it moved him to pursue us and to rescue us from eternal death because he deeply longs to have a relationship with us through Jesus Christ. 

How does that make you feel inside? 

What does it do to your heart to know that there’s a God who loves you so much he was willing to come to earth, put on flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, and suffered both the physical and spiritual pain you deserve to suffer because of your sin?


He also loved us enough to carry our sorrows… 

Look at what Isaiah continues to write in v.15… 

He says, [15] so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. 53:[1] Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? [2] For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.  [3] He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4] Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  

I love that Isaiah depicts Jesus as the one who bears our griefs and carries our sorrows. That’s really two ways of saying the same thing. 

Specifically, that Jesus is the type of savior who puts the griefs and sorrows we go through upon his shoulders. 

  • When we grieve the loss of family and friends 
  • When we are saddened because life’s circumstances are hard and confusing 
  • When we weep because of how mistreated we are by other people 

When life is hard and we experience deep unhappiness that exists because of sin in our world, Jesus is not the type of savior who pushes us away, he invites us in to comfort and care for us.

Jesus even extends an invitation for us to come to him with our burdens. 

  • In Matthew 11 he says “28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
  • In 1st Peter 5:6 & 7 the bible says “Humble yourselves, therefore under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
  • In Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you

You see, Jesus deeply delights for us to come to him and to cast our sorrows upon him because He is human enough to know what sorrow feels like. Yet, He is God enough to be with us in our sorrow and to carry it for us.


I can remember when my wife and I experienced several miscarriages the sorrow that filled our hearts felt unbearable.

  • We felt a lot of shame 
  • We asked the question, what’s wrong with us
  • We felt alone at times and even confused on how to move forward 

But, the greatest comfort and assurance we had was the truth that God knows, God sees, God hears, God remembers, & God is with us! 

The reason we knew that to be 100% true is because 2000 years ago God knew, God saw, God heard, and God remembered the spiritual need of humanity and he sent his Son Jesus to rescue us. 

We knew that if he did not forsake us back then, he would not forsake us right now in the present. 


Maybe you are here today and you believe God doesn’t care about  you. 

  • You feel forgotten in your pain 
  • You feel unseen in your sorrow 
  • You feel ignored in your grief 

Let me remind you, “What a friend you have in Jesus, All your sins and griefs he bears, What a privilege you have to carry everything to him in prayer! 

You will never find a friend and savior so faithful and all your sorrows he shares. Jesus knows your every weakness, so take it to Him in prayer!” 

HE BORE OUR SINS  | ISAIAH 53:5 – 9, 12 

So, Jesus came to suffer our pain, he came to carry our sorrows, he also came to bear our sins…

Look at it with me in v.5 Isaiah says “[5] But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. [6] All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. [7] He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8]  By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah emphasizes this idea of bearing our sins again at the end of v.12 where he writes “yet he bore the sin of many and makes intercession for the transgressors” 

Now, what I’m about to say may have some overlap with the first point I made about Jesus suffering our pain, but it’s important to understand that what Jesus did for us wasn’t just about him paying the penalty for our sins, it was also about him removing the presence of our sins away from us.  

So when it says he bore them, it literally means that our sins were taken from us and were put on him to carry the weight of and take the blame for. 


For example, in the Old Testament God’s people Israel had an annual practice of something called the day of atonement which was instituted by God. 

Every year on the day of atonement the High Priest would bring two goats. 

  1. One goat would be sacrificed for the sins of Israel and its blood would be sprinkled on the ark of the covenant which is the holy sacred place where the presence of God dwelt. 
  1. The other goat was used as a scapegoat. A scapegoat is the idea of someone else taking the full blame for another person’s wrongdoings. 

So, the priest would place his hands on the head of the scapegoat and confess the sins of the people as a symbolic way of putting all of their sins on the goat. 

But, then he would send the goat into the wilderness as a way to remove all of their sins as far away from them as possible. 

Now, the reason God had the people of Israel do this isn’t because there is salvation and forgiveness in sacrificing the blood of bulls and goats. 

Many people around the world, including here, think that by offering animals, money, good deeds, even their own children, God is going to hear them, or forgive them, and that’s not true. 

The reason why God had Israel practice this annually is because it was a symbolic picture of what Jesus Christ would one day be and do for us. 

So when Israel followed this practice every year, it was their way of saying “we believe in the savior that God promised is going to come one day in the future” 

  • And when Jesus came he was like the first goat that was sacrificed and shed his blood for our sins on the cross. 
  • But Jesus would also be like the second goat that removed the sins of the people by taking them on himself. 

He is the scapegoat that God puts all of our sins on so that we don’t have to suffer the blame for them. 

Also, because the death of Jesus happened once and it accomplished God’s plan of rescue for all time, Jesus doesn’t have to be sacrificed every year and neither does he have to be like a goat that is cast away into the wilderness every year. 

No, it is finished and because Jesus didn’t stay dead, but rose from the grave 3 days later as the proof that he was God in the flesh and his sacrifice was enough to rescue us, now all our sins in the past, all our sins in the present, and all our sins in the future are not only forgiven, they are forgotten. 

As the psalmist says “As far as the east is from the west, so far has God removed our sins away from us!”  

They have been 100% totally wiped away from our record of guilt never to be put on our record again.


But what he did for us doesn’t stop at simply taking away our sins, he also gifted us his righteousness.

This is why, in v.11 it says “He will make many to be accounted righteous and he shall bear their iniquities”

That means when God puts our imperfect record of sin and disobedience onto Jesus, in exchange, he gives us his perfect record of obedience as if it were our own.

This doesn’t mean that when we believe we automatically start living a perfect life, what it means is that when we put our faith in Jesus we are legally declared righteous before God. 

He sees us as and he treats us as if we never sinned… We are viewed as Righteous, Holy, and Blameless children of God. 

  • So, it’s not our perfection that makes us righteous before God,  it’s the perfection of Jesus Christ given to us… 

Therefore, when we sin and when we fall short we no longer have to feel shame. We no longer have to feel guilt. We no longer have to feel fear of God punishing us, we no longer have to worry about if God loves us! 

We are 100% free from the stain and guilt of sin…

As I close, I think it’s important for me to acknowledge that for some of you, this may not be true though. For some of you here, maybe you don’t believe in Jesus therefore you aren’t guilt free, you aren’t declared righteous before God, you are still stained by sin, so the day you stand before him you will be condemned to eternal death and separation from him. 

The reason you are here listening to this message is because God in his mercy is pursuing you and he desires to rescue you from sin and death, and I believe he wants you to know you can leave here today confident that the death of Christ was not an attempt to save but it was an accomplishment. 

He doesn’t need your sacrifice, your good works need not speak for you! You can leave here rejoicing knowing that if you come to Jesus your sins are now covered under the blood because Jesus took them in your place. 

He paid for every drop of it, he paid for every sin you have committed, every sin you are going to commit, every sin you’ve thought about committing, it was nailed to the cross and you don’t have to bear it any more

So come to him, believe in him, receive his grace, and let him give you the hope and rescue your soul desperately needs. 

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