The Gospel before the Gospel

Chic Broersma

READ : Isaiah 53:1-12

He was pierced for our transgressions. (v. 5)

Isaiah writes “the gospel before the gospel.” Someone new to the Bible may wonder how this chapter could be considered “good news.” For the same reason we call it Good Friday. We would never call the days John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr. died “good.” How then can we call Isaiah 53 good news when it portrays the suffering of Jesus on a cross?

We call it good news because Jesus died to take away our sins. Read the verses carefully, thoughtfully. You’ll find 12 statements in 12 verses about how the Servant of the Lord suffers and dies for the sins of others. The cross that held Jesus is a paradox of disgrace and glory. Out of humanity’s darkest hour comes the glorious means of our salvation. Jesus suffers not for himself but to heal us with his wounds (v. 5). He saves us not by taking our suffering away but by sharing it with us. The world around us is filled with so-called gods. But only Jesus, the Son of God, invites us to view the wounds in his hands and side.

At the outset we noted Isaiah includes not only the darkness of God’s judgment but also the sunshine of salvation. Nowhere is it more true than in this chapter. It’s as if we’re lost in a dark woods when suddenly the way out opens before us!


Lord Christ, light of the world, shine in all the dark places. Illumine my path too.