500 Years Before Jesus, a Prophecy about Good Friday

500 years before Jesus, a prophet shared good news. When we reconstruct the prophet's epic poem, we see the story of Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection. We see Jesus bearing our iniquities and lifting our sins, in his bruised and battered body. And we see him rising again, granting us relationship with God and new life. Here's Isaiah 52:13–53:12.

Yahweh says:

See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. Just as many were appalled at him—so disfigured from a man was his appearance, and his form from sons of men—so [the servant] shall sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been recounted to them, they shall see; and that which they had not heard, they shall contemplate.

The prophet says:

Who has trusted our report? And to whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed?

[The servant] went up before [Yahweh] like a tender plant, and like a root from dry ground; he had no form to him and no majesty that we should look at him and nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of pain and knowledgeable of sickness; and as one who others hide their faces from, he was despised and held of no account.

However, he has lifted our sickness, he has bore the load of our pain and we accounted him stricken, struck down by God and afflicted. And he was pierced for our transgressions; crushed for our iniquities; upon him were the bonds of our peace, and by his bruises we were healed. All we have gone astray; each has turned our own way; and Yahweh has interposed upon [the servant] the iniquity of us all.

[The servant] was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a sheep to slaughter, and like an ewe before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

By a restraint of justice, he was taken away and with his generation. Who could have mused that he would be cut off from the land of the living? Marked for the transgression of my people. 

And [Yahweh] set his grave with the wicked, and [the servant] was with the rich in his death, although [the servant] had done no wrong, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet Yahweh was pleased to crush him; he afflicted [him].

If [Zion] places his life a guilt offering, he will see offspring, he will prolong days and the will of Yahweh in his hand will succeed. From the trouble of his life he will see light. He will be satisfied.

Yahweh says:

In his knowledge, my righteous servant shall make the many righteous and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide to him [a portion] among the many, and with the strong ones he shall divide bounty, because he exposed his life to death and was counted with transgressors, and he carried the sin of many and will intercede for transgressors.


Translation and reconstruction adapted from my book The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah.

John Barry
John Barry


CEO and Founder of Jesus' Economy. John is the General Editor of the highly acclaimed Faithlife Study Bible and Lexham Bible Dictionary. His new book is Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change. It is widely endorsed by Christian leaders from around the world.