Isaiah 52:13–53:12 (NIV)
13See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14Just as there were many who were appalled at him—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness —
15so he will sprinkle many nations,
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.
53:1Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
This passage from the prophet Isaiah contains some very strong language about the kind of life that is lived by God’s suffering servant. The stark imagery gets under our skin, but the most shocking statement perhaps comes in verse 10 where it says “it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer”. But it is exactly this will of the Father that Jesus embraced. As we continue reading we see how his life was an offering for sin so that many would be justified. The answer to our suffering came as Jesus embraced the life described here. Only Jesus could save us. Only His life lived in love expressed through deep suffering and sorrow, rejection and loneliness, could ultimately make it possible for us to know God and have hope in our suffering.
Responding to the Transmission:
Spend some time reflecting and responding to this passage. We can come with so much thanksgiving because of the life that Jesus embraced, with all the suffering and sorrow. This was His life-song. Because of this we have life and are free. And as we come let’s also consider His way as we seek to care for others. Let’s recognize that sorrow and suffering is the venue for the rounding concert of salvation.