A couple questions for Jewish counter-missionaries and their converts:
(1) Why are the 52nd and 54th chapters of Isaiah read aloud every year in the synagogue, but Isaiah 53 is never read? This chapter seems to describe the life, trial, death and resurrection of Yeshua.
(2) Also, if the suffering Servant of this chapter is "Israel" as the rabbis today claim, how can the servant die as a substitute for the sins of Isaiah's people - Israel? That would mean that Israel is dying as a substitute for the sins of Israel...which doesn't make much sense....Furthermore, can Israel be wounded for our transgressions? Can people take Israel's garments and divide them?
The rabbis of course will respond to the above by accusing us of misinterpreting "Suffering Servant" and "Israel" and denying that the 53rd chapter of the Book of Isaiah was never read. They will insist that the Jews have taken the "Suffering Servant" to be a symbol of the Jewish people and suggest ALL Jews are suffering servants and all serve to purify God through their suffering.
So, what do you think? Check Isaiah 53 below with an open mind and the help of the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit), and make up your own mind:
The Suffering Servant
1 Who believes our report? To whom is the arm of ADONAI revealed? 2 For before him he grew up like a young plant, like a root out of dry ground. He was not well-formed or especially handsome; we saw him, but his appearance did not attract us. 3 People despised and avoided him, a man of pains, well acquainted with illness. Like someone from whom people turn their faces, he was despised; we did not value him.
4 In fact, it was our diseases he bore, our pains from which he suffered; yet we regarded him as punished, stricken and afflicted by God. 5 But he was wounded because of our crimes, crushed because of our sins; the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him, and by his bruises we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, went astray; we turned, each one, to his own way; yet ADONAI laid on him the guilt of all of us. Or: and in fellowship with him 7 Though mistreated, he was submissive - he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb led to be slaughtered, like a sheep silent before its shearers, he did not open his mouth.
8 After forcible arrest and sentencing, he was taken away; and none of his generation protested his being cut off from the land of the living for the crimes of my people, who deserved the punishment themselves. 9 He was given a grave among the wicked; in his death he was with a rich man. Although he had done no violence and had said nothing deceptive, 10 yet it pleased ADONAI to crush him with illness, to see if he would present himself as a guilt offering. If he does, he will see his offspring; and he will prolong his days; and at his hand ADONAI's desire will be accomplished.
11 After this ordeal, he will see satisfaction. "By his knowing [pain and sacrifice], my righteous servant makes many righteous; it is for their sins that he suffers. 12 Therefore I will assign him a share with the great, he will divide the spoil with the mighty, for having exposed himself to death and being counted among the sinners, while actually bearing the sin of many and interceding for the offenders."