Did Jesus fulfill Isaiah 53:7?

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Did Jesus fulfill Isaiah 53:7 that describes the suffering servant “as a lamb that is led to the slaughter” and as someone who “opened not his mouth“?

Answer:

According to the Gospels, both the Jewish officials and Pilate, when questioning Jesus, directed their inquiry to his messianic pretensions. Far from showing the humility and silence with which Isaiah describes the servant in verse 7, the encounter between the high priest, the elders, and Jesus is highlighted by a vigorous verbal exchange. In addition, Jesus did not show humility and silence during his confrontation with Pilate. At their meeting, Jesus is depicted as skillfully defending himself. Jesus at no time humbled himself, but, on the contrary, presented a clever verbal defense before Pilate (the one man who could condemn him to death), pleading shrewdly that his messianic teaching was a nonviolent, “not of this world” movement, one which the Romans need not fear. Since Pilate was concerned with messianic movements, which posed a political and military threat to the Roman Empire, he would not be interested in a movement which was not of “this world” and which would not be in conflict with the Empire. Jesus was obviously defending himself by presenting a shrewd verbal response when he tried to convince Pilate that he was not the head of a seditious movement but that his intentions were peaceful. Thus, contrary to what many Christian missionary theologians would have us believe, Jesus presented a strong defense before the Jewish officials and Pilate. Jesus was not “dumb” before his accusers, Jewish or Gentile, and it is simply not true to say of Jesus that “he humbled himself and did not open his mouth.”

On the contrary, Jesus declared himself to be a king. “You say that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice” (John 18:37). After having heard Jesus admit that he is a king the author of John would have his audience believe that Pilate goes out to the Jews and declares that he does not find him guilty of anything. “Behold, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no guilt in him” (John 19:4; see also Mark 15:2, Luke 23:3).

Earlier, the Gospels claim, Jesus acknowledged before the Sanhedrin that he was the Messiah. When the high priest asks him whether he is the Messiah he

Answers in the affirmative. “I am, and you will see the son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62; see also Matthew 26:64, Luke 22:69). Matthew and Luke have Jesus Answer the high priest in the affirmative, with a statement similar to that which John uses for Jesus’ Answer to Pilate, “you say that I am.” It is quite obvious that Isaiah 53:7 makes no reference to Jesus.

© Gerald Sigal

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