Isaiah 52:13 – 53:10-12
All of Isaiah’s gifts as a prophet and a poet are displayed in the fourth of the Servant Songs. Language that employs rare words for Old Testament prophecy and lyrics that express the deepest of human emotions come together in a Song of Suffering that tells of the meaning of Christ’s death and its significance for the world.
In the first Servant Song, Isaiah introduced the Servant of the Lord to us by His ultimate mission “As a light to the Gentiles” (Isa.42:1-9).
The second Servant Song added the insight that He would feel human discouragement, “I have spent My strength for nothing and in vain” (Isa.49:1-13).
Suffering becomes part of the Servant’s role in the third Servant Song when He testifies, “I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting”(Isa.50:4-9). While the fact that the Servant must suffer is revealed in these first three songs, the reason for His suffering is still unknown. Full explanation is given in the fourth Servant Song under the appropriate title, “The Sin-Bearing Servant.”
It goes beyond our human understanding when we read, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him…put Him to grief…[and] make His soul an offering for sin” (Isa.53:10) We find it difficult to understand how (God the Father) can find pleasure in the suffering of His Servant. However God’s pleasure is His good purpose to bring redemption to the world despite the unfaithfulness of Israel and the rejection of His Servant. The suffering of the Servant, then, is a necessary means to a purposeful end, and In Christ both Jews and Gentiles are made one, “For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph.2:18)
At this time of Christmas joy, may we remember the true reason for the Infant Jesus coming into our world as one of us, only to become the ultimate sin-sacrifice as promised to Adam & Eve in the Garden so long ago.
As Christians we have been given Grace…..God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense!
Submitted by Norm and Barbara Tameling, Deacon