The word “servant” occurs many times in the book of Isaiah. It occasionally designates the prophet himself. (Isa. 20:3; 44:26) Sometimes it is applied to the whole nation of Israel, or Jacob. (Isa. 41:8, 9; 44:1, 2, 21) But what of the outstanding prophecies regarding the Servant recorded in Isaiah chapters 42, 49, 50, 52, and 53?
The Christian Greek Scriptures leave us in no doubt as to the identity of the Servant of Jehovah described in those chapters. Interestingly, the Ethiopian official mentioned in the book of Acts was reading one of these prophecies when Philip the evangelizer was directed by the spirit to approach him.
The official, having read the Bible passage that we now find at Isaiah 53:7, 8, asked Philip: “I beg you, About whom does the prophet say this? About himself or about some other man?” Philip lost no time in explaining that Isaiah spoke about the Messiah, Jesus.—Acts 8:26-35.
While Jesus was yet a babe, a righteous man named Simeon declared under the power of the holy spirit that “the young child Jesus” would become “a light for removing the veil from the nations,” as foretold at Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6. (Luke 2:25-32)
Furthermore, the humiliating treatment meted out to Jesus on the night of his trial was foretold in the prophecy of Isaiah 50:6-9. (Matt. 26:67; Luke 22:63) After Pentecost 33 C.E., the apostle Peter clearly identified Jesus as Jehovah’s “Servant.” (Isa. 52:13; 53:11; read Acts 3:13, 26.) What can we learn from these Messianic prophecies?