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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

Isaiah 63

Verse 1


Isaiah 63:1. Mighty to save.

Our subject is the all-sufficiency of Christ to save. Four points expressed or implied—

I. The obstacles to our salvation were very great, arising from the nature and dominion of sin. None but an Almighty Redeemer was equal to the task. The ends to be accomplished every way worthy of the instrumentality employed. There are obstacles arising—

1. From the law and government of God.
2. Out of the state and frame of our own minds, considered as guilty wanderers.
3. From the world in which we live.
4. From Satanic influence. Hence it is evident we need the interposition of One who is able to meet all the ruin entailed by sin, and to accomplish all the objects necessary to deliver alike from its bondage and condemnation.

II. The redemption accomplished by Christ is very glorious, commensurate to the entire exigencies of the case. Judge of the benevolence of the object in connection with—

1. The dignity and essential glory of His nature. He blends the extremes of being in His own person, &c.
2. The provocations of those He came to redeem.
3. His deep and solitary sufferings.
4. The glory of the conquest He obtained.
5. The great principle involved in it, “I that speak in righteousness.”

III. The encouragement to seek this great salvation wrought out by Christ is very ample. His willingness is commensurate with His ability. Remember this at all times.

IV. The danger of rejecting this salvation is very imminent.Samuel Thodey.

I. That the ruined condition of man required a mighty Saviour. II. That Christ is mighty to save. He is Divine. Became incarnate that He might suffer, &c. The design of His mission was to save (1 John 5:11; Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 1:21; Matthew 3:17). He has done all that is necessary to save man (2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:7-8; Hebrews 9:24). His power to save is founded on the efficacy of His atonement (Romans 1:4; Matthew 28:18). He is “mighty to save,” from—

1. The law’s curse (Galatians 3:13; Acts 13:39).

2. The defilement of sin (Luke 13:1; 1 John 1:9).

3. The power and malice of Satan (Colossians 1:13).

4. The consequences of sin, the fear and sting of death, the dominion of the grave, and the wrath to come.
5. Includes elevation to glory—body raised, &c. III. What is necessary to realise His saving power.

1. A deep conviction of ruin—that we are ready to perish.
2. A knowledge of Christ as the mighty Saviour. Sense of need. Approval of the method in which He saves.

3. The renouncement of all self-dependence, faith, &c. (Acts 20:21; Ephesians 1:13). Conclusion. Encouragement to the despairing sinner. How important that all should seek and secure salvation. How great the danger of those who reject it.—Helps for the Pulpit, First Series, p. 157.

Isaiah 63:3. The solitariness of Christ’s sufferings.

There is always a certain degree of solitude about a great mind. This, beyond all others, characteristic of the mind of Christ. He was profoundly alone. The measureless inferiority of all other minds to His. His solitariness relates to His entire life and earthly experience, but especially His sorrows. Not simply as being propitiatory, or of unexampled severity, but that there were connected with the nature of this mysterious sufferer certain conditions which rendered His sorrows such as no other of our race could endure, &c.

I. All His sorrows and sufferings were, long ere their actual occurrence, clearly and fully foreseen. II. They were the sorrows of an infinitely pure and perfect mind. The mind that is cast in the finest mould is ever the most susceptible of suffering. Jesus had a capability of suffering, &c., such as no soul of man besides ever felt, &c. III. It was the sorrow of a Creator amid His ruined works. Practical reflections

1. Gratitude for His marvellous self-devotion on our behalf.
2. Warning to the careless. What more awful intimation could be conveyed to us of the evil of sin, and of the infatuation of those who are indifferent to its fatal consequences, than in the grief and sorrow of Jesus?
3. The strongest encouragement to every penitent to rely on the Saviour’s love.—John Caird, M.A.: The Penny Pulpit, Nos. 1925, 1926.

Isaiah 63:4-5. I. The helpless condition of man. II. The gracious interposition of the Redeemer. III. The sufficiency of His qualifications.

Isaiah 63:6. I. What are we to understand by the anger and fury of the Redeemer? II. Who have reason to apprehend it? III. The impossibility of escape.

Isaiah 63:7-14. I. God’s loving-kindness to His people. He acknowledges them. Sympathises with them. Sustains them. Chastises them in mercy. When they inquire after Him restores His favours. II. The duty of making mention of it. With exultation—praise—gratitude.—J. Lyth, D.D. (See C. H. Spurgeon: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, No. 1126.)

Isaiah 63:7. Thanksgiving. I. An acknowledgment of great blessings received by the House of Israel.

1. National mercies.
2. Mercies to the Christian Church. 3. Individual mercies. II. An acknowledgment that all these blessings were undeserved. III. A resolve openly and fully to acknowledge the goodness of God. Not to be thankful is inhuman. Not to be openly thankful is unchristian. True love for God will lead us to seek to glorify Him by a public acknowledgment of His goodness. Thus we shall bless our follow-men.—R. A. B.

Isaiah 63:7. I. The loving-kindness of God.

1. Free and sovereign.
2. Rich and varied.
3. Constant and perpetual. II. Its claim upon our acknowledgment. Open. Thankful. Consistent. Exultant. Unwearying.

Isaiah 63:8. I. God’s anticipations. II. Kindness. III. Disappointment. IV. Unparalleled mercy.

I. What God does for His people. II. What He expects from them.—J. Lyth, D.D.

Verses 1-4


Isaiah 63:1-4. Who is this that cometh from Edom, &c.


1. His deep and solitary suffering.
2. The glorious principles on which He suffered to redeem others. “The year of my redeemed is come.” Here, then, we distinctly recognise the great doctrine of Atonement—a doctrine as full of comfort to the contrite sinner as it is essential to the harmony and perfection of the Christian system.
3. The glory of the conquest He obtained. This the predominant character of the text.


1. The honours of Divine justice secured and rendered compatible with the salvation of man.
2. The judicial division of the human race into two great classes—Christ’s enemies and His redeemed. To one of these we all belong.
3. The certain salvation of the one, and the fearful overthrow of the other, guaranteed by our Lord’s success and supremacy.—Samuel Thodey.

Isaiah 63:1. The peculiarities of Eastern imagery. The undertaking of Christ the most striking event in the dispensations of God to our lower world, &c. This great work as the text teaches is the great theme of prophecy. Viewing the text in this light, we select two points for meditation.

I. THE CONFLICT OF CHRIST in sustaining and carrying on the great work of human redemption.

1. This supposes that there were great difficulties and obstacles to be overcome before man could be restored to God’s favour.
2. The text teaches that Christ was every way equal to the undertaking. They were no common resources that He brought into the field, &c.
3. That in the prosecution of this conflict He endured great and overwhelming suffering. Their solitariness.

II. THE TRIUMPH OF CHRIST. It was a triumph of great principles over their opposites. The problem to be solved was whether sin or holiness, with their infinite results, should prevail, &c. This problem was solved on the Cross.

2. Really accomplished in the nature that sinned.
3. Made more illustrious by the seeming humiliation and discomfiture with which it was attended.
4. Effected by the single and unaided influence of the Captain of our salvation.—Samuel Thodey.

A great and glorious—I. Person. Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:11-15). II. Work.

1. To save, &c.
2. Performed entirely of Himself.
3. Will bring more glory to God than creation. III. Salvation.—Studies for the Pulpit, Part II. pp. 149–152.

Verse 9


Isaiah 63:9. In all their affliction He was afflicted, &c.

There is no man so great as not to need at some season or other the sympathy of his friend, &c. If human sympathy be so valuable how much more Divine, &c. Christ once suffered for us, He always suffers with us, &c. We have here—

I. HUMAN CALAMITY SUPPOSED. The text supposes that affliction may be great,—sorrow upon sorrow, that we are unable to endure the pressure of grief alone, and that adequate occasions for God’s special interference may frequently occur. This was the case with the Church in captivity, &c. Human calamity is the same thing still, &c. There is an awful reality in grief, which, like an overwhelming burden, crushes the spirit and overpowers the resources, &c. Or the human mind may be burdened with the sense of guilt, personal afflictions, bereavements, &c. Who can hush the grief and afford adequate relief under all the sorrows and calamities of life. There is but One in the universe can do it, and to Him the text points.

1. His compassion is most real and perfect. He is afflicted with the afflictions of His people. His sympathy is no imaginary consolation. He ascended in the nature in which He suffered. He knows by experience the nature of human trial, and can meet the exigency alike of real and groundless alarm, &c.
2. His aid is exerted in the most seasonable time. In His interpositions there is never any unnecessary or fatal delay.
3. There is an ineffable kindness in His dispensations which cannot be mistaken.
4. Constant and unchangeable.


1. Ascertain your title to His peculiar sympathy.
2. Carry your griefs to Him. He is engaged to relieve all the trouble, and forgive all the guilt that is brought to Him.
3. Acknowledge your past obligations.

4. Be a saviour to others (2 Corinthians 1:3).—Samuel Thodey.

I. Divine sympathy. II. Interposition. III. Love. IV. Care.—Dr. Lyth.

Verse 10


Isaiah 63:10. But they rebelled, and grieved His Holy Spirit, &c.

How sad is the change described in these words. If it were the heathen, unprivileged and unenlightened, of whom this was spoken, it would not be so surprising, but that it should be said of Israel with all their advantages that “they rebelled,” &c., does seem surprising (Isaiah 63:8-9). Are we indignant at such ingratitude? May we not have cause to turn our indignation against ourselves? The history of Israel, the mercies of which are here recounted, is a mirror in which we may see ourselves. Our privileges are even greater than theirs, and correspondingly greater is the guilt of our rebellion.

I. The surprising change in God’s people in their bearing toward Him. Even they rebelled against Him, and grieved His Spirit. The Old Testament Church had a real though limited dispensation of the Spirit. Christ is now glorified, and He is given in more abundant measure (John 7:39). He is said to be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), resisted (Acts 7:51), quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19). But how can a Divine person suffer grief? As the revealer of truth He is grieved by unbelief and ignorance; as the Spirit of holiness, by all impurity; as the Spirit of love, by selfishness and ingratitude. Look at some of the features of this rebellion. How are we to account for this surprising change, and what is involved in this shameful backsliding?

1. Distrust and alienation of heart. Open rebellion arises from secret disloyalty. In the case of Israel, we find them turning back in heart to Egypt, and murmuring against God, &c. How prone we are to revert to former sources of carnal gratification! Another fruitful source of defection in Israel was the idolatrous practices of surrounding nations. Prevailing customs have a power to drag us down, to unhinge our reliance on God, and to instigate the spirit of rebellion. Against both these influences let us be on our guard. Beware of every insidious influence that would tamper with your loyalty and trust.

2. The influences of the Spirit are resisted. All who live under the Gospel are subjects in some measure of these influences. He awakens, &c. But these alarms do not always issue in conversion. Souls thus roused begin to resist the Spirit, &c. But even God’s people may sadly wound and grieve the Spirit by opposing His gracious work, and by the coldness and deadness of their hearts.

3. As Israel murmured against Moses, so in our rebellion we despise Christ our deliverer. It is the Spirit’s work to reveal Christ (John 16:13-14). He is glorified in the homage paid to Christ. Whatever, then, obscures the glory and sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice, or is proposed as a substitute for it, must grieve the Spirit.

4. Neglect of the means of grace. The Word of God is from the Holy Spirit, and is used by Him as an instrument in all His gracious operations on the hearts of men. To trifle with the word of revelation, to neglect or despise it is to dishonour its Author. We cannot respect the physician whose medicines we refuse to take.

II. The consequent change in God’s bearing toward His people. This does not imply any real change in God. The change is in His people who have revolted against Him. He is as much their loving Father now when He shows himself their enemy, as before when He showed himself their friend. If we take part with His enemies, and hold traitorous intercourse with them, how can He deal with us otherwise? Oh, the folly and ingratitude of those who having found God a Friend turn Him into an enemy. In mentioning the loving-kindnesses of the Lord (Isaiah 63:7), this is not the least of them, that in our foolish rebellions He is turned to be our enemy. How unwearied and patient is His love (Nehemiah 9:17). Be faithful to your vows. It is not for you to hold traitorous intercourse with the enemies of your Leader.

William Guthrie, M.A.

Isaiah 63:10. I. The claims which arise from the work of the Holy Spirit. II. The sins which are possible against the Holy Spirit.—J Rawlinson.

Isaiah 63:11. I. A grateful retrospect. II. An affectionate inquiry. III. A delightful assurance.

Isaiah 63:12. I. God leads His people by instruments which He chooses and qualifies. II. Defends them with the arm of His power. III. Removes every difficulty that intercepts their course. IV. Glorifies His own name in their deliverance.

Isaiah 63:14. I. God’s people need rest. II. Rest is provided for them. III. God guides them to it by His own Spirit. IV. Thereby reveals and glorifies His name.

Isaiah 63:15-16. I. Our Father’s house. Heavenly. Holy. Glorious. II. Our Father’s character. Strong. Tender. Compassionate. III. Our Father’s faithfulness. Survives our ingratitude—vicissitude—time. IV. Our Father’s name. Father. Redeemer—from everlasting. V. Our Father’s claims. Honour. Obedience. Love.

Isaiah 63:15. I. God’s people in trouble. II. Their resource. III. Their plea. Past interpositions. Past mercies.—J. Lyth, D.D.

Verse 16


Isaiah 63:16. Doubtless Thou art our father, though Abraham, &c.

From thanksgiving and confession, the people betake themselves to earnest prayer for deliverance from sin and suffering (Isaiah 63:15). Consider God’s relation to His people in two aspects—

I. As a fact most encouraging at all times, but especially in times of trouble. God’s ancient people were in sore trouble (Isaiah 63:15 and others). Yet, amid all, they derived encouragement from the intimate relationships which existed between God and them.

1. As their Father (Isaiah 64:8; Deuteronomy 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Jeremiah 3:4). Though this relationship was revealed under the old covenant, it was practically realised only upon the rarest occasions. Amid their trials, this is now the ground of their appeal. As their Father He must love them, and be ready to listen to them, &c. Though their earthly fathers afforded them no assistance, and seem to have ceased to feel any interest in them, they have confidence in the constancy of their heavenly Father’s compassion (Jeremiah 31:20). This is the ever deepening conviction of God’s people everywhere. Gourds may grow and wither, but our heavenly Father’s love neither grows nor withers—it is un-changing; it holds on and holds out, needing no sustenance from without, except that supplied by our need of it; it endures through all our unfaithfulness, &c.

As our Father—

(1) He is the author of our spiritual life. By His Spirit He quickens, &c., and imparts His own nature and image (2 Peter 1:4; Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:23-24).

(2) He secures our instruction. By His works, Word, Spirit, &c.
(3) He supplies all our need. His supplies are suited, abundant, satisfying, inexhaustible.
(4) He protects us. Exposed to innumerable perils and evils, He is our shield, &c.
(5) He gives us a glorious and everlasting portion. A kingdom, a crown, &c., and bliss ineffable and eternal.

Such a relation cannot fail to be a source of unspeakable comfort to the people of God amid all their trials. Such a Father, ever living and loving, &c. Are you His child by the adoption of grace, &c.? He wants you to be His restored, obedient child, &c. “We are all the children of God,” in the highest sense, “by faith in Christ Jesus.”

2. As their Redeemer (kinsman). Their history was a series of remarkable deliverances. As their Redeemer He delivers His people—

(1) From the bondage of sin and Satan, &c. (pp. 295, 416, 417, 438, 551). No arm but His could break the chain, &c.

(2) From all their troubles (Psalms 34:19). α. Either in this life, in answer to prayer (Psalms 34:6; Psalms 46:1, and others). At the fittest time, by the fittest instrument, through the fittest medium, and in the fittest manner. β. Or wholly, in the life to come. Here, then, is “strong consolation” for God’s people amid all their tribulations. Troubled one, “be of good cheer!”

3. As their unchanging Friend. “Name”—expresses the Divine perfections. We delight to tell our cares, &c., to a faithful friend. Whoever dies, Jesus lives.

II. As a fact independent of the recognition of the greatest men.—Abraham and Jacob were two of the greatest men in Jewish history—the venerated ancestors of the Hebrew race, &c. Whether these great men knew it or not, they felt their relationship to God was a fact most encouraging. The believer’s relation to God is a fact independent of man’s acknowledgment, however great.

The world knows us not, because it knows not our Father (1 John 3:1-2). They often regard us as fanatics, &c. Nothing do they less understand than the elements which constitute the Christian’s character and joys. As they mistake our Father’s character, it is no wonder they should mistake ours (John 17:25; Acts 3:17; 1 Corinthians 2:8). But whatever the great ones of the earth may think of you, if you have genuine faith in Christ, you are a child of God—the fact is as unalterable as it is glorious (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1-2; Galatians 4:4-7). Whoever refuses to acknowledge you, steadfastly believe in God as your Father, Redeemer, &c. This is infinitely more precious than the most honoured earthly ancestry, &c. Unspeakably blessed are those who have the LORD for their Father and Redeemer. They rise superior to all life’s trials, and exult in the hope of glory (Romans 5:2). Is this blessedness yours?—Alfred Tucker

I. The characters under which God is here addressed. (See former outline.) II. The affections and emotions of which God is the proper object.

1. Of admiring gratitude and awe.
2. Of filial confidence and trust.

3. Of earnest pleading and expostulation (Isaiah 63:15-19 and ch. 64).

4. Of high and animated hope. These are not the pleadings of despair, &c.—S. Thodey.

Isaiah 63:17-19. I. The sorrows of God’s people. Phases. Causes. Moral influence. II. Their chastisement. Just. Administered by means of their enemies. Merciful. Corrective. III. Their cure. Penitential prayer. Faith, founded on God’s peculiar right in His people.

Isaiah 63:19. God’s people as distinguished from their enemies are—I. His special property. II. His privileged subjects. II. His acknowledged children.—J. Lyth, D.D.

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Isaiah 63". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.