Jesus in the Old Testament (Part 5): Isaiah 53

Jesus in the Old Testament Isaiah 53

Christ’s wounded hand, Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, France by John Kroll – Creative Commons

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. -Isaiah 53:5-6 (You can read Isaiah 53 in its entirety at the bottom of this post)

Isaiah 53 Written After Jesus’ Death and Resurrection?

Isaiah chapter 53 is so descriptive of Jesus Christ it seems out of place. There’s just no way this should be here. It should come after the New Testament, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, not before. But in the late 1940s, archeologists discovered a copy of the book of Isaiah in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and this copy was dated hundreds of years before the life of Christ. You might be asking yourself, How can that be?

Jesus in Isaiah 53

What we see here in Isaiah 53 is that, what Jesus said about the Old Testament is true, “These are the very Scriptures that testify about me…”  (John 5:39) Isaiah chapter 53 is a prophecy describing Jesus Christ. Most scholars put the date of authorship around about 700 years before his coming.

For me, personally, I can’t read this chapter and the four corroborating gospels without believing Jesus is who he said he is.

More of Jesus in the Old Testament

This is the last in a series of posts about how Jesus is found in the Old Testament. (You’ll find links to the four related previous posts in the series at the bottom.) But this series is nowhere close to exhaustive. Jesus’ virgin birth is prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 and his birthplace prophesied in Micah 5:2.

Jesus’ triumphal entry, documented in Luke 19:28-42, was prophesied in Zechariah 9:9. (As well as Daniel 9:25-26–see previous post about Daniel’s prophesy.)

The beating Jesus endured is prophesied in Isaiah 50:6.

Jesus’ crucifixion is prophesied in Psalm 22:16-18.

And there are many other Old Testament prophecies concerning Jesus.

Still More

There are also appearances of Jesus in the Old Testament before his virgin birth called Christophanies. In these Christophanies he’s often described in the Old Testament as “The Angel of the Lord.”

There are also foreshadows of Jesus found in the Old Testament called types. The tabernacle is a type of Jesus, the Old Testament sacrificial system is a type of Jesus. (For further study I recommend Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament Volumes 1 and 2)

There are also titles that refer to Jesus in the Old Testament such as Son of Man, Redeemer, Savior, Lord of Glory, Light, Rock, and Shepherd.

I Cannot Not Believe

For me, personally, I just can’t: I cannot, not believe Jesus is who he said he is, after looking at all these places where he’s revealed in Old Testament scripture. It really is the way he said it is. The Old Testament writers, Moses and the prophets, were writing about him.

For me, I have no where to go–but to believe.

(If you have questions, I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at

Isaiah 53

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

You might also like:


Finding Jesus in the Old Testament by Rabbi Jonathan Bernis

Where does the Old Testament predict the coming of Christ? from

Where is Jesus in the Old Testament? by Aaron Armstrong

Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Volume 1, Nelson 2005

C. S. Lewis, MiraclesNew York: Macmillan 1960

[Image via John Kroll – Creative Commons]

11 thoughts on “Jesus in the Old Testament (Part 5): Isaiah 53

  1. Hello Kurt and company, do you have a personal relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? The Son of God. And do you pray always that you will be accounted worthy to escape the hour of temptation that is going to come upon the entire world? And do you pray always that you will also be accounted worthy to stand in the presence of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? The Son of God.

  2. Pingback: 2013′s Most Popular Posts on God Running | God Running

    • Thank you for your comments Andy! And no, I don’t mind at all if you link to this page from your site. You can use any content originated on this site, anyway you like, including use of it as your own, as long as:

      1) You use it to draw people closer to Christ.
      2) You don’t charge for it.

      God’s peace be upon you!

  3. Yes, this is so helpful Kurt. Thank you. By the way, which translation of the Bible is your quotation taken from? I like the wording.

    Of course we could add the evidence of the historical record explored recently so well by the Cold Case Christianity book. And the actual experience of Christians or would-be Christians who have found Jesus’ words to be true in their own experience when they agreed to try it out. You know my own story already here
    And there are many stories of other believers and doubters over the years.

    Once an honest seeker admits that God raised Christ from the dead (and there is much evidence historically that He did) and recognises the need to therefore acknowledge Him as Lord of oneself…that’s it, that’s how Christianity begins, isn’t it?

    Great series. Thanks again.

    • Thanks for stopping by Ambling, And thank you for pointing out about the additional evidence, both historical and experiential. Of course you’re correct, I’m really nowhere close to covering all the evidence for the reality and truth of Jesus Christ in this short series.

      To answer your question about the translation used in this post, it’s the NIV.

      Your own story that you linked to, “Can Christ Be Tested Out in Practice?” is one of my all time favorites. Thanks for including it in your comments.

      • Thanks Kurt, this is a great series. Very helpful and I love the way you engage with the mystery of prophecies BEFORE Jesus coming true in His life. As my brother once said – it’s so weird it MUST be true!

    • Thank you so much for posting this. Kurt, I hope you do not mind but I would like to recommend a book that really helped me. I was raised in a Jewish household and my entire family refuses to believe in Jesus’ divinity because, they were brought up not to believe, because their Rabbis told them so, or their parents told them so, etc. I was fortunate enough to marry a Christian woman who spent 20+ years slowly working on me and leading me to Christ. When I finally arrived I wanted to learn and share with my family in the hopes that they could seek their salvation, a good friend pointed me to this book:

      I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist — it blew my mind that there is so much evidence of the truth of God and the truth of Jesus’ divinity, it helped my faith grow.

      I am seeking out more and more books on Apologetics so if anyone has suggestions I’d love to hear them.

      Keep the faith brothers and sisters!


      • Cold case Christianity is great for detective work around the facts of the gospel stories.
        Unapologetic is a lovely chat through the emotions of a believer and how it feels to pray. (Uses f word)
        From Eternity to Here is the love story of Christ, not apologetics but beautiful.
        Places of abiding with Jesus is my own inner journey of learning to walk in His beautiful Presence daily.

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