Isaiah 53 is found within the context of what Duhm has labeled “Servant Songs” namely Isaiah 42:1-4, 49:1-6, 50:4-9, 52:13-53:12. Each of the passages references a servant that is being used of God. Yet, Isaiah 53 does not contain a specific identification of who this servant may be. Many have speculated this servant to be Cyrus or even Isaiah himself. Psalm 49:3 says directly, “You are my servant Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” Yet in the following verses (5-7) this servant is referred to in a singular sense suggesting one person is in mind. So both Israel collectively and a righteous person within the people of Israel could be possibilities. Averbeck notes, “Still others have argued that the background in the prophetic experience of the prophets in the Old Testament generally.”
It is clear from the text of Isaiah 53 that the servant is a singular person. The servant is referred to as “he” and “him” throughout the chapter. This “he” is sprinkled throughout references to pronouns such as “us,” “men,” and “we” which would suggest a plural sense as opposed to the singular “he” and “him.” This servant, according to verse 12, bores the sins of many. This a clear use of a singular pronoun acting for a plural pronoun referring to a collective group. So it would be difficult to comprehend if this servant were representative of collective and not a singular person. Allen notes, “What seems obvious is the Suffering Servant cannot be identified with a corporate entity such as the nation of Israel.”
Who then is this singular servant? An examination of the actions of this servant within the chapter leaves little doubt as to who this may be. Chisholm is correct in asserting, “So we see that Isaiah’s fourth Servant Song is indeed a rags-to-riches story about, about a despised Servant who is eventually exalted because he was willing to suffer for sinners…” In the beginning of the chapter he grew up without any distinguishing majesty and was later rejected, a man of sorrows. But he bore “our” griefs and sorrows. God Himself struck him down but these wounds were made for “our” transgressions and iniquities. He was a lamb led to the slaughter though he had done nothing wrong. But this was God’s will. Verse 6 explains all of our sins were placed on him and by his striped we are healed. Can this description fit any other person than the Lord Jesus Christ? A simple understanding of the theology of Paul and the four Gospels would leave little doubt as to who this would describe. Such a description leads Allen to conclude, “If one dons New Testament glasses, it is obvious that the Servant in Isaiah 53 is none other than Jesus Christ.”
Yet, even without the lens of the New Testament, one would be hard pressed to force Cyrus, Isaiah or any of the other prophets into this description. The pronouns “us” and “our” would suggest that the Servant is distinct from Israel as the nation is most likely the ones represented in such pronouns. Michael Brown points out that a Gentile collective of any kind must be ruled out as speaking in Isaiah 53 since the Gentiles were certainly not guiltless and nothing they did lead to healing. This is the Father speaking of His Son.
Jesus Christ indeed is the Suffering Servant. The text itself will not allow for a collective group, either the nation of Israel or prophets in general, nor would the text allow for a mere mortal man to be represented as the Servant. New Testament passages such as Acts 8:26-35 and I Peter 2:20-25 clearly point to Jesus using references that harken back from Isaiah 53.
However, it would be a mistake to simply end a study at this point. Merely identifying Christ in Isaiah 53 is of little prophet if one does not use the opportunity to point men to Jesus. Along the road to Emmaus were strangers unaware of what the Old Testament had to say about Christ. Once they were shown, their hearts were warmed and their lives were changed forever. At that point they understood the meaning of the death they spoke of and understood why the Messiah came to die. Upon the Cross Christ took the sins of mankind and offered his own body as a payment for those sins.
The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 was not merely a literary character but the long awaited for Messiah. He was Israel’s hope and mankind’s Savior. At last, what separates us from God has been torn down. What condemns us to death has been forever settled. May we preach this gospel to Jew and Gentile alike.
 Walter C. Kaiser Jr., The Identity and Mission of the “Servant of the Lord”. In The Gospel According to Isaiah 53, edited by Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2012), 87.
 Richard E. Averbeck, Christian Interpretations of Isaiah 53. In The Gospel According to Isaiah 53, edited by Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2012), 44.
David L. Allen, Substitionary Atonement and Cultic Terminology. In The Gospel According to Isaiah 53, edited by Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2012), 184.
 Robert B. Chisholm Jr., Forgiveness and Salvation in Isaiah 53. In The Gospel According to Isaiah 53, edited by Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2012), 193.
 Ibid. Allen, 184
 Michael L. Brown, Jewish Interpretations of Isaiah 53. In The Gospel According to Isaiah 53, edited by Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2012), 77.