Y'shayahu / Isaiah 52:15 does not say that nations will be startled by the message of the servant. Read it for yourself: "so will the many nations exclaim about him, and kings will shut their mouths (in amazement) for they will see that which had never been told to them, and will perceive things they had never heard." Y'shayahu / Isaiah 52:15..
The context is that the nations formerly saw the servant as less than human and are now shocked to see that things are very different indeed -- the servant is beloved of G-d and will become exalted. Notice too that it says that kings and nations will see all of this for themselves -- and ask yourselves...
The issue here -- the bit that Jesus failed to fulfill -- is that those who are amazed at the rise of the servant, first perceived that servant as someone they thought to be subhuman.
Jesus did not "go" from seeming to be less than human in the eyes of the world to being exalted.
In his lifetime very few leaders ever heard of Jesus -- and outside of the Christian bible there is no mention of Jesus at all (meaning the leaders would never have heard of him if he even existed).
The kings and nations who are amazed at the rise of the servant from a lowly, subhuman, position is something they witness for themselves.
Not something they are told about.
Christianity spread from the exact opposite -- Christians "spread the good word" converting country after country with the "gospel" (good news). People did not become Christian based on what they themselves witnessed. . . the opposite of Isaiah's prophecy in this passage.
Consider, too, that the Christian bible states that Jesus is exalted in heaven -- and there is not one human witness to this claim in the Christian bible. But even IF this happened the nations and the kings did not witness this elevation.
No, the kings and nations who became Christian were told about Jesus -- they did not "see it for themselves."
Y'shayahu / Isaiah 52:15 speaks of the kings and nations being amazed that the servant of G-d, who has been perceived as subhuman, is actually very high and lofty. This is a messianic prophecy -- Isaiah is speaking of the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel and a time of peace. None of which happened in Jesus' lifetime. Jesus lived in a time of turmoil and violence -- the opposite of peace. The Jews primarily lived outside of Judah and were exiled shortly after Jesus' death -- the opposite of this prophecy. . .
To understand the prophet one must understand the context. Y'shayahu / Isaiah chapters 40 - 66 speak to the Jewish nation who G-d exiles as a punishment for the nation's lack of observance. The Jewish nation is judged both as a whole and each individual Jew is also judged. In Y'shayahu / Isaiah 52 G-d is saying that Jerusalem and Israel will rise from the ashes -- and Jews will return from exile.
Isaiah, speaking for G-d, is talking about the Jewish people -- not Jesus. Read the chapter and this is clear.
"For thus said my L-rd, Hashem: As for Egypt, My people went down originally to sojourn there, But Assyria oppressed them without justification. . ." Y'shayahu / Isaiah 52:4.
The Jews went to Egypt of their own accord ad because Egypt helped us survive we owed them a debt of sorts. . . but Assyria we owed nothing and the oppressed us.
Now read line 7: "How pleasant are the footsteps of the herald upon the mountains announcing peace, heralding good tidings, announcing salvation, saying unto Zion (Israel / the Jews) 'Your G-d has reigned'!" Y'shayahu / Isaiah 52:7.
The heralds on the mountains announce peace when they see G-d restore the Jews to Jerusalem -- something that did not happen in the lifetime of Jesus.
Still not sure this is about the Jews? Read line 9: "Burst out, sing glad song in unison, O ruins of Jerusalem, for HaShem will have comforted His people. He will have redeemed Jerusalem. . ." Y'shayahu / Isaiah 52:9.
The image at the top of this post is a picture of Jerusalem taken in the 19th century -- a time when the city was small and in disrepair. The famous novelist Mark Twain wrote of the land of Israel in 1867: “….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country....Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village...A fast walker could go outside the walls of Jerusalem and walk entirely around the city in an hour. I do not know how else to make one understand how small it is...Palestine is desolate and unlovely.” Chapters 45-56 of Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.
The Jerusalem estimated population the year Twain wrote the above? 14,000. In the 2000 years since Jesus Jerusalem was burned and from that point forward remained a small, depressing place -- through Crusades, Ottoman Empire and other wars. . . until the Jews began returning to the land. Today it is a vibrant, growing city with a population of 857,800.
No, Jesus did not fulfill this prophecy -- but it may well be that we are beginning to see it fulfilled in our lifetimes -- only time will tell.
Here is the Artscroll Stone Edition translation along with their footnotes at the bottom of each response to aid in your understanding of the passage.
Isaiah 52:13 Behold, My servant will succeed; he will be exalted and become high and exceedingly lofty.
14 Just as multitudes were astonished over you (saying) "His appearance is too marred to be a man's, and his visage to be human,
15 so will the many nations exclaim about him, and kings will shut their mouths (in amazement) for they will see that which had never been told to them, and will perceive things they had never heard.
53:1 Who would believe what we have heard! For whom has the arm of HaShem been revealed?
2 Formerly he grew like a sapling or like the root from arid ground; he had neither form nor grandeur; we saw him, but without such visage that we could desire him.
3 He was despised and isolated from men, a man of pains and accustomed to illness. As one from whom we would hide our faces; he was despise and we had no regard for him.
4 But in truth it was our ills that he bore, and our pains that he carried -- but we had regarded him diseased, stricken by G-d and afflicted!
5 He was pained because of our rebellious sins and oppressed through our iniquities; the chastisement upon him was for our benefit, and through his wounds we were healed.
6 We have all strayed like sheep each of us turning his own way and HaShem inflicted upon him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was persecuted and afflicted but did not open his mouth; like a sheep being led to the slaughter or a ewe that is silent before her shearers, he did not open his mouth.
8 Now that he has been released from captivity and judgment who could have imagined such a generation? For he had been removed from the land of the living, an affliction upon them that was my people's sin.
9 He submitted himself to his grave like wicked men; and the wealthy (submitted) to his executions for committing no crime and with no deceit in his mouth.
10 HaShem desired to oppress him and He afflicted him; if his soul would acknowledge guilt he would see offspring and live long days and the desire or HaShem would succeed in his hand.
11. He would see (the purpose) and be satisfied with his soul's distress. With his knowledge My servant will vindicate the Righteous One to multitudes; it is their iniquities that he will carry.
12. Therefore, I will assign him a portion from the multitudes and he will divide the mighty as spoils -- in return for having poured out his soul for death and being counted among the wicked, for he bore the sin of the multitudes, and prayed for the wicked.
Isaiah 52:13 i.e. G-d's servant the people of Israel (Rashi)
52:15 Just as Israel had once been astonishingly degraded, so it will astonish the nations by its exaltedness when the time of redemption arrives.
53:1-3 this is the prophecy foretelling what the nations and their kings will exclaim when they witness Israel's rejuvenation. The nations will contrast their former scornful attitude toward the Jews (vv. 1-3) with their new realization of Israel's grandeur (vv 4-7).
53:5 we brought suffering upon Israel for our own selfish purposes; it was not, as we had claimed, that G-d was punishing Israel for its own evil behavior.
53:6 We sinned by inflicting punishment upon Israel. Such oppression is often described as "Hashem's punishment" (see 10:5, Habakkuk 1:12), for He decreed that it should happen (Abarbanel).
53:8 When Israel's exile is finally ended the nations will marvel that such a generation could have survived the expulsion from "the land of the living, i.e. Israel, that the nations had sinfully inflicted upon it.
53:9 Ordinary Jews chose to die like common criminals, rather than renounce their faith; and wealthy Jews were killed for no reason other than to enable their wicked conquerors to confiscate their riches (Radak).
53:10 That is, Israel. G-d replies to the nations that Israel's suffering was a punishment for its own sins; and when the people realize this and repent, they will be redeemed and rewarded.
53:11 Israel will teach the nations of G-d's righteousness.