Isaiah 53 – The Vicarious Sacrifice of Christ, Jehovah’s Servant & Medical Assistance versus Idolatry

I’m glad that I stopped taking my epileptic medicine, my doctor had told me that I could never quit.  I had started the medication at the age of 16 when I was in the coma so I didn’t know that it was the medicine that kept me tired all the time, I couldn’t taste or smell very well, among other things.

When did Christianity stop being a Jewish sect and become its own religion?
The cross-shaped marble baptistery is one of the new archaeology discoveries at the fourth-century church in Laodicea that shows just how old is Christianity in Turkey. There was already a well-established Christian community here for hundreds of years by the time this magnificent church was built. When did Christianity stop being a Jewish sect and become its own religion?

At first Christians met together mostly in private homes. Even as Christian populations grew, distrust and persecution by their Roman rulers forced the early church to stay out of the public eye.

The situation changed in 313 A.D. when the emperor Constantine made Christianity a licit religion of the Roman Empire. With this acceptance came the construction of large public buildings, or churches, to serve the worship needs of Christians.

Remains of these churches are now turning up in Biblical archaeology findings around the world, helping to answer the questions: How old is Christianity in places like Turkey and Egypt? And when did Christianity begin to spread beyond Israel throughout the Roman Empire?

I hear that when you take medicine you may have to take another to counteract what bad side effect that one causes.  Also, prescription medicine that saves lives, also kill over 100,000 people a year.

1 Who hath believed our report?  And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

Quoted in whole or in part in Jn 12:38; Rom 10:16.

“Our report” – the good news about salvation, given by the prophets to Israel and the nations.

2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

“Tender plant” – the Messiah would grow from the “stem of Jesse”  His beginnings would be humble.  Christ has nothing of the bearing or trappings of royalty.

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Quoted in part in Matt 8:17 with reference to Jesus’ healing ministry.  Diseases often result from sinful living and are ultimately the consequences of original (Adamic) sin.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

“Bruised” – crushed in spirit (see Ps 34:18).  The sins of the world weighed heavily upon Him.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

“Have gone astray” – all have walked away from God.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

“Lamb to the slaughter” – John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God.”

Moabites, Amorites, Canaanites, Jebusite
These were ancient people groups known primarily through Biblical reference until the age of modern archaeology. Recently, archaeologists have discovered a Moabite Temple which is now making headlines.

The temple discovery, full of figurines and other ritualistic furnishings is just the latest discovery to reconfirm the Bible’s veracity, or “truthfulness” in what it states. The Moabites were real people that were often in conflict with their neighbors to the west, the Israelites.

Like many details in Scripture, the existence of such nations was held in suspicion until modern archaeological artifacts like the Mesha Stele (bearing the earliest know reference to “YHWY”, the Hebrew name for God; picture below) confirmed what was recorded in the Bible over two-thousands earlier.

“Openeth not his mouth” – Jesus remained silent before the chief priests and Pontius Pilate.

8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation?  For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

“From prison and from judgment” – Jesus was given an unfair trial.

9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

“The wicked” – the manner of His death would indicate that as far as those who condemned Him were concerned, He was to be buried with executed criminals.

“With the rich” – not as a burial with honor.  The parallelism (with its effective wordplay in Hebrew) makes clear that Isaiah here associates the rich with the wicked, as do many Old Testament writers because they acquired their wealth by wicked means and/or trusted in their wealth rather than in God.

According to the Gospels the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea gave Jesus an honorable burial by placing His body in his own tomb.  But this was undoubtedly an act of love growing out of his awareness that he had been forgiven much (see Lk 7:47).

Thus the fulfillment fitted but also transcended the prophecy.

“He had done no violence, neither…deceit in his mouth” – Peter quotes these lines as he encourages believers to endure unjust suffering (1 Pet 2:22).

10  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

“Bruise him…an offering for sin” – an offering where restitution was usually required (Lev 5:16, 6:5) and the offender sacrificed a ram (Lev 5:15).

Medical Assistance versus Idolatry

Is going to a doctor the same as idolatry?  No, it is not.  

You can find many scriptures that tell of incidents when a physician was or was not used, but it doesn’t answer the above question.  As far as I know, nowhere in the Bible does is speak for or against medical assistance.  Yet, throughout the Bible God used people to help others:

Abraham – circumcision (Gen 17:11).

Joseph – his physicians embalmed his father Jacob (Gen 50:2).

Elisha – told Naaman to dip himself in the river seven times to heal his leprosy (2 Kgs 5:10).

Isaiah – treating King Hezekiah (Isa 39:21).

Jeremiah – requests physicians for the sick (Jer 8:22).

God says – the leaf of a tree used for medicine (Eze 47:12).

John tells what God said – the leaves of the tree were for healing (Rev 22:2).

The apostle Luke was a doctor and I doubt he stopped his practice and was even called the “beloved physician” (Col 4:14).

You can say that these were mighty men with God and that’s why they could do it, but no.  God does have His favorites, people He uses, but He loves all believers the same:

For there is no respect of person with God (Rom 2:11).

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respector of person:

But in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him (Acts 10:34-35).

Here’s the thing, no doctor has any healing power without God.  Not meaning that the doctor has to believe in God, the patient does.  The doctor just does what he knows.

Some people go to doctors and some don’t, it depends on their faith in God, and that’s okay, as the below scripture states:

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath receiveth him (Rom 14:1-3).

I won’t go to a doctor, but at one time I did.  I had epilepsy and they say epilepsy never goes away.  I stopped my epileptic medicine, depending on God, and in His time God did take it away

I have Hepatitis C and according to the state of Texas’s medical records it’s bad so they wanted to treat it for me, and they were even going to pay for it.  I said no because my faith in God is that if He wants me to die from it no one can stop it.  As far as I know I still have it, had is since 1987, but I can’t tell.

Now if I get a headache, sinus problems, anything that over the counter medicine can cure I use.  That is where my faith with God stands. 

The relationship each person has with Jesus is different.  Like DNA, no one has the exact same DNA, and no one has the exact personal relationship with Jesus.

We can say that the use of doctors is like the 10th amendment of the United States Constitution:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

God does not delegate what physician we use.

“Prolong his days” – Christ would live forever.

11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

“With the great…with the strong” – God will reward His servant as if he was a king sharing in the spoils of a great victory.

Doctors and medication is expensive.  What if the people back then didn’t have any money?