The Problem Around The Suffering Servant Continually Attributed To Jesus

Continued from Part 1

ISAIAH 52:13-15

52:13:  “Behold My servant”

The phrase, “My servant,” presents a problem for the trinitarian doctrine:  servant and master are two separate entities.  A servant by definition is always in an inferior position to his master.  John’s Jesus acknowledges:  “A slave is not greater than his master, neither one who is sent greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:16).  The sending of Jesus would have taken place while the trinity trio supposedly were all equal.  If Jesus is an incarnate member of a coequal triune deity he could not become less than equal to the other two parts and still be coequal and of one essence with them (cf. Philippians 2:5-11).  Moreover, when is Jesus ever called directly “My servant”?  In Matthew 12:18 the phrase appears as part of a proof text, not as an appellative.

 Can the Messiah be called My servant? 

During the Messianic Era the promised king from David’s line will be placed over God’s flock (Ezekiel 34:23-31).  In that day, God the ultimate savior of his people will establish His covenant of peace.  How is the Davidic prince, the Messiah, referred to during the messianic reign? God calls him My servant—not My equal.  God never called Jesus His servant, during Jesus’ lifetime.

Is My servant a title to be applied to Jesus by God during the supposed second coming of Jesus when he will manifest himself not as a servant but as king of Israel and as one-third of the triune deity of Christianity?  In the Ezekiel passage the Messiah of Israel is called God’s servant, not his equal.   What that tells us is that Jesus is not the Messiah—not then, not now, not ever.

 The supposed “two natures of Christ”

Jesus is the god that never was.  Many Christians differentiate between what is called “the two natures of Christ.”  It is claimed that Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time, mysteriously interwoven yet separate.  Thus, it is said, Jesus could be knowledgeable about some things and ignorant about others.  Jesus’ statement that “A slave is not greater than his master, neither one who is sent greater than the one who sent him” refutes consideration of this two nature doctrine.  This statement says that a slave is of lower status than his master.  Anyone sent on a mission by another person is of inferior status.  In the case of Jesus, this would make his supposed supernatural nature inferior to that of God the Father even before becoming incarnate and even if done voluntarily.  It would mean that there was a period of time when the coequality of the triune deity was reduced to a dyad.  This state of inequality continues presently in that Jesus supposedly mediates between God the Father and mankind (1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrew 9:24), but it is God the Father who makes the final judgment not the “mediator.”

Learning obedience

Did the author of Hebrews have Isaiah 53 in mind when he said Jesus “learned obedience from the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8)?  Why did Jesus have to learn to be obedient if he is God?  Whom did he have to obey?  Can equals in any triune deity exercise dominance, one over the other?  How can God’s servant be none other than one-third of Himself.  Those who claim a pre-existent supernatural being was incarnate in the form of Jesus cannot escape the question:  Why did this incarnate being have to learn to be obedient through suffering if in both his humanity and divinity he was sinless to begin with and therefore was already obedient to God?

 52:13:  “He shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high”

Exalted, lifted up, very high

Rewarding the servant:  The servant is to be raised to a higher position in the estimation of those who were previously appalled at the sight of him.

Does “He shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high” refer to Jesus’ alleged rewards after death in heaven and on earth?  Christians believe that the meaning of these words is to be found in Philippians 2:5-11, which speaks of Jesus’ supposed exaltation in heaven and on earth following his death.

But why should such a divine creature receive a reward for doing what he was programmed to do from the very start?  If he was one-third of God or some sort of a supernatural being makes no difference.  Jesus is portrayed unlike a mere human who has free will and is capable of making the wrong choices and sinning.  Jesus had no choice but to do as he was programmed to do.

In fact, no matter what the temptation placed before Jesus he could not sin, he had no free will.  The New Testament’s Jesus could not deviate from the alleged preordained divine program.  Unlike a martyr who has no firsthand knowledge of what to expect for his sacrifice, Jesus, it is said, did have that firsthand knowledge.  If Jesus knew where he came from and he knew where he was going, and if he knew exactly what his rewards would be for his obedience to the will of God he sacrificed nothing.

© Gerald Sigal