|Posted: 12 October 2018 at 8:58am | IP Logged | 8
In no way did the ancient Hebrews interpret it as a reference to the/a Messiah.
You're throwing a lot of people under the same umbrella. In the Gospels, we clearly see different factions all with their own set of beliefs--the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots, and the followers of John the Baptist, and there are also mentioned others claiming to be the Messiah, and they had followers. One of the beliefs of the Pharisees (and Jesus had plenty of problems with them) was that God was sending a Messiah to rule the world from Israel. So, obviously, you can't say that there was one interpretation of the Suffering Servant idea or that the people had given up on their Messiah. And even if the "Israel as Suffering Servant" idea was prevalent, that doesn't make it right. A cursory reading of ISAIAH 53, the main Suffering Servant text, would seem to lean towards it being a single person--a prophet, king, or judge. With its history of falling away and isolating, it's hard to believe that Israel as a whole would see itself in many of these verses:
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 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.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 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.
6 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.
7 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.
8 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.
9 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.
10 Yet it was the Lord’swill 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.
11 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.
12 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.
(And, of course, there are at least fifteen prophetic references here that Jesus ended up fulfilling, 700 years later.)
Edited by Eric Jansen on 12 October 2018 at 9:01am