Marred More Than Any Man

Marred More Than Any Man

April 4th, 1976 @ 10:50 AM

Isaiah 52:14

As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Isaiah 52:14

4-4-76    10:50 a.m.


In our preaching through the Book of Isaiah, we have come to the Holy of Holies.  We have come to chapters 52 and 53.  And our text will be the last two verses of chapter 52.  They actually belong to the fifty-third chapter.  Beginning at verse 13:

Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently, He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

But the throngs were amazed at Him: His visage was so disfigured, so marred, more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men . . .

the kings of the earth shut up their mouths at Him: for that which hath not been told them did they see; and that which they had not heard did they consider.

So shall He cleanse many nations.

[Isaiah 52:13-15]

And the text in verse 14, the King James Version reads: “Many were astonished at Thee; His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men” [Isaiah 52:14].

Could I read it, maybe in my own translation, but termed for us today, more clearly?  “Having said that the Servant of God”—Isaiah’s word for the coming Messiah Prince—“that He should be greatly exalted and extolled, and be very high, but the throngs were amazed at Him, for His visage was so marred, more than any man, and His form, more than the sons of men” [Isaiah 52:13-14].

There are many, many passages in the Old Covenant that depict these sufferings, the passion of the coming Prince Messiah.  For example, in Psalm 22:

My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?  And why art Thou so far from helping Me?

I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of Me.

Dogs have compassed Me: the assembly of the wicked inclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet.

I may tell all My bones: they look and stare upon Me.

They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture.

[Psalm 22:1, 14, 16-18]

And I have not time to read of the prophecies like the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, that depict the terrible suffering of our Lord [Isaiah 53:1-12], grouped around my text: “They were astonished at Him; for His visage was so disfigured, marred, more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men” [Isaiah 52:14].

The reality of that prophecy in the life of our Lord brings pause and tears to our souls; marred more than any man, His visage disfigured more than the sons of men, for they misused and mistreated our Lord unbelievably.  They plucked out His beard [Isaiah 50:6].  They smote Him with their fists.  They pressed a crown of thorns upon His brow.  They scourged Him and beat Him [Matthew 27:26-30].

One time I studied Roman crucifixion.  And in the study, I learned that many times the criminal was killed by the fierceness of that flagellation.  They scourged our Lord by the hands of Roman soldiers [Mark 15:15].  They nailed Him to the tree and then raised Him up [Matthew 27:32-35].  And the jar of the great upright, as it fell into its place on the ground, must have torn asunder the tendons in His hands and in His feet.

So disfigured and so marred was the Son of God, that when the Roman soldiers came to break the bones of the malefactor on the right and the malefactor on the left that their death might be hastened—when they came to the center cross, to the Son of God, He was so certainly dead, they brake not His bones, but as an afterthought, it seems, one of the Roman soldiers took the spear and thrust it into His heart, and when the iron was withdrawn, there flowed out blood and water [John 19:31-34].  That is, He died of a broken heart.  And the cardiac sac in which the heart beats caught the blood, and it separated the red corpuscles from the lipid serum.  And it looked like blood and water; “marred more than any man, and His figure more than the sons of men” [Isaiah 52:14]; unrecognizable, the beautiful and glorious Son of God.

How amazing!  These throngs are astonished at Him.  And the kings of the earth shut up their mouths before Him [Isaiah 52:15].  What an unspeakable and unbelievable trauma that the Son of God should be thus so marred and disfigured! [Isaiah 52:14].  Unrecognizable!

I one time heard of a soldier who, in the First World War in France, was mostly destroyed by the bursting of a bomb that fell in front of him.  The American soldier, thus wounded by that explosion, lost his eyes, lost the use of one of his limbs, and was greatly disfigured.  But the saddest part of the loss in that terrible explosion was the destruction of his memory—his boyhood, his family name, where he came from, who he was—was blotted out of his deranged and broken mind.  And when he came back home to America, for the days and the years thereafter, wherever people gathered, there would he go to their assembly and lifting up his sightless eyes and his disfigured face, he would piteously cry, “Does anyone know who I am?  Does anyone recognize me?  Who am I?”

It is thus with our Lord; His visage and His form more disfigured than any of the sons of men.  And the throngs were astonished, and the kings shut up their mouths before Him [Isaiah 52:14-15].  Who is this so marred, so disfigured?  God in heaven, is this Thy Son, thine only begotten One, O God, is this Thy Son? [John 3:16-17].  And the Lord God in heaven turns His face away, and the Son cries alone in that awful agony: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”—“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” [Matthew 27:46].

Second Corinthians 5:21: “For God made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”  God made Him to be sin for us.  And Habakkuk the prophet says of the Lord God: “Thou art of purer eyes than to look upon evil” [Habakkuk 1:13].  And when the Son of God was made sin [2 Corinthians 5:21]—God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity [Habakkuk 1:13]—and God turned His face away [Matthew 27:46].  All creation; the One who made the moon, and the sun, and the stars [Genesis 1:14-18], and the earth [Genesis 1:1], and the vast hosts of glory [John 1:3], is this thy Maker?  Is this thy Creator?  Hanging here in disfiguration and marred countenance on the cross? [Isaiah 52:14; Matthew 27:32-50].  Is this thy Creator?  And the sun turns his face away [Matthew 27:45].  And the whole earth is black and dark.

Well might the sun, in darkness hide

And shut his glories in

When Christ, the mighty Maker died

For man the creature’s sin.

[from “At the Cross,”  Isaac Watts]

Who is this?  And we ask the angels in heaven, “Is this thy crowned Prince in glory? [1 Peter 3:22].  Is this the Son of the Father who walked in and out before you? [John 1:1-2, 8:58].  The ordained One of heaven? [John 17:5].  Is this thy Prince, angels in heaven?”  They were present at the nativity of our Lord when He was born [Luke 2:13].  They were present at His temptation and ministered to Him [Matthew 4:1-11].  They were present in Gethsemane when He prayed in agony [Luke 22:43-44].  They were present at the tomb [John 20:11-12].

Where are you, angels?  Here He is dying and suffering [Matthew 27:32-50], and disfigured and marred [Isaiah 52:14].  Where are the angels in heaven?  He said, “Could not I ask and twelve legions of angels [Matthew 26:53], seventy-two thousand angels—would come and war at My right hand.”  Well, where are they?  Why didn’t just one come?  Because the hand of the Father stayed them back.  Nay, not one.  Not one.  This is sin [2 Corinthians 5:21].  God made Him to be our sin.  God the Father stayed back the host of the angels in heaven and let Him suffer and die [Matthew 27:32-50].

Mary, sweet virgin mother, is this the Child to whom you gave birth? [Matthew 1:20-25]. Is that the lovely Son Jesus?  And the apostle John, looking at our Savior on the cross, heard His voice addressed to him saying, “John, take her away.  Take her away.  It is too much for My mother to look upon such suffering and agony and death.”  And from that moment, John, the sainted apostle, took her to his own home that she might not see Him suffer thus and die [John 19:26-27].

And apostles, look, is this thy Master and Teacher? [John 13:13]. Is this the One who, in inherent power, walked on the water? [Matthew 14:25].  Stilled the tempest? [Mark 4:37-39; Luke 8:22-25].  Raised the dead? [John 11:43-44].  Is this thy Master?  And the Scriptures say they all forsook Him, and fled [Mark 14:50]; marred more than any man, and His figure more than the sons of men [Isaiah 52:14].  Who is this?  They all forsook Him, and fled.

I don’t think I ever heard of a more pathetic story than an American soldier who returned from the Second World War.  He also had been deeply hurt and seriously wounded and disfigured—but looked forward to coming home and to his young bride-to-be and sweetheart.  I had a man tell me the story.  In those days, riding the train, and this man standing on the platform waiting for the train to come in, that American soldier, so seriously wounded and disfigured, stepped off the train and on the platform.  There was his young bride-to-be, with her mother and father and family waiting for the American soldier to come back.  And when the young woman saw him step off of the train and stand on the platform, she started toward him, then stopped and looked in amazement and astonishment and then in horror, and turned and buried her face in the arms of her mother and cried, saying, “I cannot bear to look at him.”  And the family walked away with that young bride-to-be and left the American soldier standing alone on the platform; “marred more than any man, and His visage more than the sons of men” [Isaiah 52:14]  “And the disciples all forsook Him, and fled” [Mark 14:50].  Who is this?  They were astonished that looked upon Thee, and the kings of the earth shut up their mouths at Him [Isaiah 52:14-15].

This is the Savior we preach.  This is the Christ of our love and worship and adoration.  And how different from what one might expect!  This is the Prince of glory [1 Corinthians 2:8].  You see the earth point to their kings and their emperors and their dictators!  Here is Alexander.  Not just Alexander—this is Alexander the Great!  Here is Caesar.  Not just Caesar—this is Caesar Augustus, a Latin tribute to God.  This is Napoleon the Great.  This is Cedric the Great.  This is Wellington, not Wellington, the Iron Duke of Wellington.  This is Genghis Khan.  With what pride do the armies, and navies, and fleets, and nations, and armed forces of the world point to their great conquerors and dictators!

To what and to whom do we point?  Died on the cross [Matthew 27:32-50]; marred more than any man, and His visage more than the sons of men [Isaiah 52:14]; to the gentle, yielding, humble, suffering, dying Lord Jesus.  “He shall not strive, nor cry; Neither shall His voice be heard in the streets.  A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoking flax He will not quench, until He has sent judgment in the earth.  And in His name shall the Gentiles trust” [Matthew 12:19-21].  After John 3:16 is John 3:17: “For He did not come into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved”; the sweet, humble, lowly, suffering, yielded, gentle, Lord Jesus [Matthew 11:29].

And this is God’s great appeal to the hearts of men, that they be saved, not by armies, and not by might, and not by conquerors, and not by pride, and not by the will of the flesh or the will of men [Romans 9:16].  This is the way God hath appointed that we might be saved, in humility and in confession and in trust [Romans 10:9-10]; in faith [Ephesians 2:8-9]; in love [Romans 5:8]; in commitment [Matthew 16:24]; in humble and sweet dedication [Galatians 2:20].  Who is this dying for our sins on the cross? [1 Corinthians 15:3].  If I look, if I look, and if God gives me the Spirit of understanding [Ephesians 1:17], I am changed, I am born again [John 3:3, 7].  I am someone new and different [2 Corinthians 5:17].

You know, I have often thought, if a man could hear the agonizing cries of his mother in travail when he was born, he’d love his mother more.  He just would.  If we could see the sufferings of our forefathers in agony and blood, we would cherish our liberty and our freedom more.  And if a man will look at the Prince of glory, made sin for us on the cross [2 Corinthians 5:21], dying in our stead that we might be saved [1 Corinthians 15:3], you couldn’t help but love Him more.

Were you there?  Were you?

When they crucified my Lord,

Were you there?

Oh, sometimes it makes me

To tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there

When they crucified my Lord?

Were you there

When they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there

When they laid Him in the tomb?

Oh, oh!  Sometimes it makes me

To tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there

When they laid Him in the tomb?

Brother, were you there

When He rose up from the grave?

Were you there?

Were you there

When He rose up from the grave?

Oh, oh, oh!  Sometimes it makes me want to shout

Glory, glory, glory!

Were you there

When He rose up from the grave?


This has God done for us.

“Let this mind be in you, as it was in Christ Jesus: Who, though He was in the form of God”—whatever the morphos of God is—“in the form of God, thought it not a thing to be grasped, to be equal with God: But poured Himself out, made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant.  And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” [Philippians 2:5-8]; marred more than any man, disfigured more than the sons of men [Isaiah 52:14].  “Wherefore, wherefore, God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him the name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things in the netherworld; and that every tongue should confess that He is Lord”—Christ, Savior, King—“to the glory of God” [Philippians 2:9-11], our Father.

And that is our invitation to you: to confess our risen Lord [Romans 10:9-10], to own Him as your Savior [Titus 2:13], to bow before Him as your King [Philippians 2:9-11], to look upon Him as your great Mediator in the hour of our death [1 Timothy 2:5], and the judgment bar of Almighty God [2 Timothy 4:1], and as our Prince to be loved, and adored, and worshiped forever and ever [Revelation 5:12-13].

In a moment, we’ll stand to sing our invitation hymn, and while we sing it, a family you; a couple you; or just one somebody you, thus to give his heart to Jesus, would you come and stand by me?  A family to put your life in the fellowship of the church, as God shall press the appeal to your heart, would you make the decision now, and come?  In the great throngs who listen on radio and television, where you are, wherever, God is there too.  And the love of Christ our Lord reaches down to you.  This day, in faith, in repentance, in acceptance, in yielded trust, would you open your heart to the Lord Jesus?  He will come in.  He said He would.  He knocks at the door.  “If anyone opens the door, I will come in and dwell with him” [Revelation 3:20].

Make this moment, this hour, the day of salvation.  God bless you, as you lift your heart upward, Christ-ward, and the Lord bless in moving and saving grace among the throng in this great auditorium this day; down one of these stairways, walking down one of these aisles, “Today, I take Jesus as my own.  I trust Him to forgive me my sins and to save my soul in life [Ephesians 1:7], and I’m coming now.”  As God shall open the door, answer with your life.  Do it now, while we stand and while we sing.


Dr. W.
A. Criswell



I.          Introduction

A.  Prophecies of His suffering (Psalm 22:1, 14, 16-18, Isaiah 53)

B.  The historical
reality of crucifixion

C.  He was
unrecognizable (Isaiah 52:14-15)

II.         Who is this?

A.  God, is this Thy

Father turns His face away (Matthew 24:46, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Habakkuk 1:13)

B.  Creation, is this
Thy Creator?

      1.  Sun turns its
face away

C.  Angels, is this thy

D.  Mary, is this thy
Son? (Luke 2:35, John 19:25-27)

E.  Disciples, is this
thy Master? (Matthew 26:56)

II.         The Christ we preach

A.  The world points to
the great dictators and kings

B.  We point to the
Christ of the cross (Matthew 12:20, John 3:17)

C.  The appeal to
humility, trust, faith (Philippians 2:5-11)