“CHRIST’S PASSION: HE OPENED NOT HIS MOUTH”
1. Please turn in your Bible to Isaiah 52.13. Once you are there, please stand for the reading of God’s Word:
13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
2. Although Jewish commentators and scholars typically interpret this passage as referring to the suffering nation of Israel in the Babylonian captivity, it has always been so very clear to Christian students of God’s Word that this portion of Scripture, written some 700+ years prior, describes the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ, beginning in the garden of Gethsemane and concluding on the cross of Calvary.
3. Why would Jewish scholars interpret this passage in the way they do? My guess is because this passage so describes what actually happened to Jesus of Nazareth that they cannot in good conscience continue in Judaism when Isaiah so powerfully shows Jesus to be the Messiah. Thus, they either interpret the subject of this prophecy to be Jesus and be force by consistency to become Christians, or they deny that the subject of this prophecy is Jesus and continue in their practice of Judaism.
4. You might think to yourself, “But that is intellectually dishonest, pastor.” Yes, it is. But it is a less offensive crime than to fully acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah and refuse to bow to Him. Is it not? Yet that is precisely what so many Gentiles do who profess to be Christians, while denying Him the allegiance that He is due.
5. Before brother Isenberger comes to lead us in a song, allow me a few minutes to address three things about the person who is the subject of today’s text, Isaiah 53.7: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
1A. First, HIS IDENTITY
1B. Who is this person Isaiah speaks of in this prophecy? Could it be the nation of Israel? Could it be, as some say, Abraham or Moses or Ezra or Zerubabbel or Jeremiah?
2B. As Bible believers, we can eliminate Ezra, Zerubabbel and Jeremiah from consideration. It is very clear from internal evidence, which is to say references and comments made within the book of Isaiah, that Isaiah lived and died during the reigns of kings Hezekiah, Uzziah and Manasseh. This being true, Isaiah lived and died a century before Jeremiah, and almost two centuries before Ezra and Zerubbabel, therefore would not have written of the history of their sufferings.
3B. Additionally, it is very clear from the passage that we have just read that an entire nation of Jewish people are not being referred to here, for various reasons. First, the pronouns are all wrong. If Isaiah was referring to the Jewish people we would be reading about “they” instead of “he.” But most importantly, when the Jewish people were sent by God into Babylonian captivity they suffered for their own sins. But this passage we have read speaks of One Who suffers, not for His Own sins, but for the sins of others.
4B. But Who does the Bible speak of suffering for the sins of others? Both Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospel indicate that the Lord Jesus Christ is the subject of this passage, as do the apostles Paul and Peter in their epistles. The writer to the Hebrews also indicates that what Isaiah predicted refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.
5B. How can we be sure that Jesus Christ is this One spoken of by the prophet Isaiah? When the Ethiopian eunuch who had been reading from this very passage asked that question of Philip, we are told his response, in Acts 8.35: “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” But Jesus is not only the subject of this prophecy, He is the subject of all the Old Testament prophecies: “To him give all the prophets witness,” Acts 10.43 tells us.
6B. Okay. The subject of the prophets is Jesus Christ. The subject of this prophecy is Jesus Christ. But Who is Jesus Christ? I can show you many verses in the Bible that show Jesus to be the Creator and Sustainer of all things. I can show you verses that show Him to be the God of Israel. But suppose we allow one man, who initially doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead, to identify Him. His name is Thomas.
7B. In John 20.27, Jesus said to the doubting Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” How did Thomas react when confronted by His now risen from the dead Lord? Verse 28: “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”
8B. Therefore, keep in mind Who we are dealing with here, the Lord of glory, the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel.
2A. Next, HIS EXPERIENCE
Our text describes the experience of our Lord Jesus Christ using two words: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted.”
1B. The word “oppressed” translates a Hebrew word meaning “press, drive, oppress, exact.” In the book of Exodus the word is translated “taskmaster” five times, and by the word “oppressor” seven times in the rest of the Old Testament. Might this refer to the relentless brutality the Lord Jesus Christ experienced, from the garden of Gethsemane to the cross of Calvary? Yes.
2B. The word “afflicted” translates a Hebrew word meaning to “be bowed down,” with the idea of being depressed and browbeaten. If you keep in mind what Paul wrote in Romans and Philippians, then it is clear that the affliction the Lord Jesus Christ experienced was actively submitted to for the purpose of obeying His Father.
1C. Romans 5.19, where Adam’s disobedience and Christ’s obedience are contrasted: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
2C. Philippians 2.8, where our Lord’s humility is shown with His accompanying obedience: “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
3B. In John 10.18, the Lord Jesus Christ pointed declared that no man could take His life from Him, but that He voluntarily laid it down, that He had the authority to both lay His life down and take it up again. The meaning of all this? What the Lord Jesus Christ experienced He experienced voluntarily.
3A. Finally, HIS IDENTIFICATION
1B. Referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul wrote these words to the Corinthian congregation: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” Thus, God made the sinless one sin for us. But do we see that in this passage before us?
2B. Look at verse 4: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” Now look at verse 5: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” How can one bear our griefs, carry our sorrows, be wounded for our transgressions, be bruised for our iniquities, be chastised for us, and receive stripes for us apart from being identified with us?
3B. Verse 6: “. . . the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Verse 8: “. . . for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” Verse 10: “. . . thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin . . . .” But remember that He is the sinless Son of God. So, the sinless One takes upon Himself our iniquities, our transgressions, and His soul becomes an offering for sin.
4B. Verse 11: “. . . for he shall bear their iniquities.” Verse 12: “. . . he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
5B. So you see, the Lord Jesus Christ so completely became sin, so completely identified with sinners, that God could punish His Son instead of sinners, that God had to punish His Son instead of sinners. By identifying with sinners in this way, by becoming sin for us, the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Testament typology of the sacrificial Lamb. Indeed, “All the references in the New Testament to the Lamb of God . . . spring from this passage. . . .”
1. So, it is established that Isaiah 53.7 refers to Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, the second Person of the trinity, the one who spoke the universe into existence. His identity has been established.
2. His experience has also been determined. Our text states that He was oppressed and afflicted. The passage that it is nestled in elaborates and shows us the brutalities He experienced. The New Testament reveals to us His voluntary obedience to the Father through it all.
3. The meaning that is given to the Lord Jesus Christ’s unimaginable and inexpressible sufferings comes from an awareness of His identification with sinners, with His bearing of our sins, with His becoming sin for us, and thus evoking the wrath of His Own Father.
4. But how is the benefit gained? Since Jesus Christ suffered and bled and died and sinners still die and go to Hell, how does one receive the benefit of the doing and dying and raising up again of Jesus Christ? Faith. Faith in Christ.
5. Brother Isenberger now comes to lead us as we stand to sing.
1. To remind you, our text is Isaiah 53.7: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
2. Have you ever wondered why “he opened not his mouth”? Ever wonder why “as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he” opened not His mouth?
3. Of course, we know that the Lord Jesus Christ did speak at various times during His passion. But why did He not speak when He did not speak, when others certainly would have spoken in His situation?
4. Allow me the liberty of trying to answer that question:
1A. First, HE WAS SILENT WHEN HE WAS SILENT, TO SHOW HIS DESIRE
1B. My friends, the Lord Jesus Christ wanted to do what He did. He wanted to suffer and bleed and die for our sins. In John 4.34, Jesus told His disciples, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
2B. How could He, then, speak words of defense or protest when He was tried by the Sanhedrin, and when He was tried by Pilate, and when He was tried by Herod Antipas?
3B. No. He was exactly where He wanted to be, doing exactly what He wanted to do, experiencing exactly what He wanted to experience, so that He might do the will of His Father. There would be expressions of dissatisfaction or defense that might be construed wrongly. Therefore, He was silent.
2A. Next, HE WAS SILENT WHEN HE WAS SILENT, TO PERFORM HIS DUTY
1B. The Lord Jesus Christ was our Sin-bearer. He was the kinsman-redeemer. He was qualified, as to being a near kinsman, as to being willing, and as to being able to redeem.
2B. Therefore, if He became sin for us, how could He speak to His Own defense when He had become, after all, guilty? For what purpose and to what end does the innocent sacrificial lamb exist on Passover, but to shed its blood to atone for the sins of the people?
3B. How could He then speak in His Own defense and be our Passover, as Paul declares Him to be in First Corinthians 5.7? He could not. Therefore, in order to perform His duty as our sinless substitute, in order to fulfill His high and noble task as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, He was silent when He was silent.
4B. And it could not be otherwise for this One Who is truth. How could He protest His innocence when He had become our guilt? Had He spoken in such a manner it would have been untrue. But this One Who is truth cannot be untruthful. Therefore, He was silent when He was silent, so that by being silent He would be ever truthful.
3A. Third, HE WAS SILENT WHEN HE WAS SILENT, TO EXPRESS HIS DEITY
1B. It could not be denied that the One Whose raw and bleeding flesh had been savagely mutilated and horribly tortured was a man. Indeed, Pilate, himself, said to his audience of Jewish and Roman onlookers, “Behold the man!” So, the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ was never in doubt from Gethsemane to Calvary.
2B. Hebrews 10.5, which hearkens back to psalm 40.6, makes it very clear that the coming of Jesus to this earth to do His Father’s will was a coming by means of humanity: “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” What kind of a body? A man’s body. Here was no deception or trickery. He really was, He really is, a man.
3B. But a man is not all that Jesus Christ was, or is. Thus, His silence when He was silent. Reflect upon His trial before the Sanhedrin, and then before Pilate, and then before Herod Antipas. How could someone who was man only remain silent in face of such agony, confronted with such pain and suffering, bearing such unbearable burdens? Someone who was only man could not.
4B. When Jesus began to take upon Himself our sins, when He began to become sin for us, He was in the garden of Gethsemane. And even then the physical demands of becoming our sin-bearer were so great that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
5B. To enable Him to continue His journey to the cross, with so much that yet lay before Him, “there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” So, you see, it was not only a human effort that was required to see Him through to His crucifixion, but a supernatural effort.
6B. What means, then, the silence when He was silent? Not that He was man, for that was plain to see, but that He was God. Only the Son of God could possibly have remained quiet when He was quiet, for man only could not have withheld crying out for mercy and relief and an end to the suffering.
7B. All flesh is flesh, and human nature by itself is predictably weak and inept. Adam and Eve show us that even sinless flesh is unreliable. But the Lord Jesus Christ was faithful to His Father, reliable to the nth degree, because He was not only man, but also God. Therefore, as God He was silent when He was silent, not crying out for mercy, for relief, for as easing of the pain. No, He silently took the full cup of His Father’s wrath as only the God-man possibly could.
4A. Finally, HE WAS SILENT WHEN HE WAS SILENT, TO EXTINGUISH ALL DOUBTS
1B. Not that there were not doubters. But doubters exist even when there is no doubt. A man is a doubter when he has no faith. A man is a doubter when he sees only what can be seen with the physical eyes, and has no perception beyond the limitations of his senses. But with the eyes of faith, when a man perceives reality beyond the limitations of his five pitiful senses, doubts are dispelled.
2B. So, there were still doubters when Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross at Calvary. But that doesn’t mean there was still doubt. That only means there was no faith to see reality! At the foot of the cross, at the very end, when Jesus yielded up the ghost, and the veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom (signifying the end of the Mosaic order), God gave to our race a glimpse to attest that once and for all Jesus had removed all doubt.
3B. Strangely, it was not an apostle God gave the glimpse to. They would come later. Nor was it His Own mother, now relegated to a very secondary role until the resurrection, at which time she would then fade into the background. The man God gave the glimpse to wasn’t even a Jew. Strangely, he was one of Christ’s crucifiers, a centurion, who was joined by the others who were with him, is seeing and in saying, “Truly this was the Son of God.”
4B. Later, as the Spirit of God provided illumination to others, they too would see that there was no doubt. The resurrection’s empty tomb would confirm it for them, but the fact of it had already been established by our Lord’s silence when He was silent. It was established beyond all doubt Who He was and what He had done by what He did not say, and when He did not say it. Anyone other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel, would have cried out instead of being silent, would have pleaded, would have begged. But He did not . . . to extinguish all doubts. He was at no one’s mercy on His way to the cross, or even hanging from the cross. He was in charge, fulfilling the charge given to Him before the foundation of the world by His Father. No doubt.
1. There is no doubt Who Jesus is. He is the Son of God. There is no doubt what Jesus is. He is the Savior of sinful men’s souls.
2. If you have doubts and reservations, that is your problem. If you have questions and reluctance, that too is your problem. For you see, there is no doubt.
3. Why was He silent when He was silent? To show His desire to fulfill His Father’s will and to show His desire to save sinners. To perform His duty. To express His deity, that He is the Son of God and God the Son. Finally, to extinguish all doubts.
4. Doubters there will always be. But doubt has been dealt with. That’s why Paul could write, in Second Timothy 1.12, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” You see, he knew that the doubt had been removed.
5. I challenge you, this morning. Are you a doubter? What do you doubt, that Jesus is Who He is and that He did what He did? Doubt not. Be not unbelieving. Come to Christ.
 See Gill’s comment on Isaiah 52.13, John Gill, The John Gill Library, (Paris, AK: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., 2000)
 Matthew 8.17; Mark 14.61
 Romans 4.25; 5.15-19; 2 Corinthians 5.21; 1 Peter 2.23-24
 Hebrews 7.25; 9.28
 Francis Brown, S. R. Driver & Charles A. Briggs, The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew And English Lexicon, (Peabody, MA: 1979), page 620.
 Ibid., page 776.
 2 Corinthians 5.21
 C.F. Keil & F. Delitzsch, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT, (AGES SOFTWAREÔ, INC. · Rio, WI USA · Version 8.0 © 2000)
 John 19.5
 Luke 22.44
 Luke 22.43
 Matthew 27.54