I mentioned a week ago that I wanted to focus in my blog on Isaiah in the gospels. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday and all the preparation involved, I did not get a chance to finish my post. But I was working on the study during my times of reflection.

When it comes to allusions and quotations, Isaiah was an obvious favorite for gospel writers and for Jesus as well. This is really no surprise given that Isaiah was certainly the most prolific, of the published prophets, in his foretelling of the coming Messiah.

As I was looking through the gospels, I notices a preference for Isaiah 53, and changed the focus of my survey to see where this single chapter is quoted not only in the gospels, but also in the epistles. Here is my reference list. I'm sure it is not complete, but it is definitely inspiring during this season of advent.

Some of these allusions are very clear. Others use parallel concepts that probably have their root in Isaiah 53. Where appropriate, I have boldfaced the words that are central to the allusion or parallel. Verses are listed in the order they appear in the New Testament. The left column shows the corresponding verse in Isaiah. There are a couple of other allusions (outside of ch. 53) included because of their significance to the Christmas season.

I know that for me, this was an inspiring and informative survey. I hope that this chart gives you inspiration that leads to worship.


And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." Mark 1:11 = Matthew 3:17


"This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: 'He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.'" (Matthew 8:17; quotes Is 53:4)


"Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope." (Matthew 12:18-21; quotes Is 42:1-4)


"just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28=Mark 10:45; conceptual parallel. See "for many" language in Is 53:11-12)


"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:28 = Mark 14:24)


"Jesus replied, 'To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected?'"(Mark 9:12)


"It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment." (Luke 22:37; Jesus quotes Is 53:12)


"He said to them, 'How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?' And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." (Luke 24:25-27)

53:6-7, 12

"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" (John 1:29)

"When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, 'Look, the Lamb of God!' " (John 1:36)


"The crowd spoke up, 'We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, "The Son of Man must be lifted up"? Who is this "Son of Man"?'" (John 12:34)


"This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: 'Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?'" (John 12:38, quotes Is 53:1)


"The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture:
'He was led like a sheep to the slaughter
and as a lamb before the shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.
The eunuch asked Philip, 'Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?' Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus." (Acts 8:32-35; quotes Is 53:7-8)


"Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification." (Romans 5:16)

"For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:19)


"But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our message?'" (Romans 10:16, quotes Is 53:1)


"Rather, as it is written:
'Those who were not told about him will see,
and those who have not heard will understand.
'" (Romans 15:21, quotes Is 52:15)


"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve." (1 Cor. 15:3-5)


"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor. 5:21, conceptual parallel)

53:6, 12

"Who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father." (Galatians 1:4)

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

"...and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:2)

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." (Ephesians 5:25)


"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransomfor all men -- the testimony given in its proper time." (1 Tim. 2:5-6)


"Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." (Titus 2:14)

53:4, 6, 11, 12

"so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." (Hebrews 9:28)


"...Trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow." (1 Peter 1:11)

53:11, 9,7, 5, 6

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
"He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth."
(quotes Is 53:9)
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (quotes Is 53:5) For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." (1 Peter 2:24-25)


"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit..." (1 Peter 3:18)


"He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2)

5:4, 6, 11, 12

"But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin." (1 John 3:5)


"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (1 John 4:10)


Sarita Allen December 8, 2009 at 10:31 AM  

Thanks for doing that, even if it was late! How amazing and how exciting that must have been to discover that Isaiah 53 was a particular favorite. I am very fond of the words and ministry of Isaiah. I appreciate seeing the use in the New Testament in this way.

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