The suffering servant
Meditation and Devotional from David Niednagel, Pastor/Teacher, Evansville, IN. (David uses the S.O.A.P. method for his morning devotional: study, observe, apply, pray. (Friends: David’s recent morning study has been to focus on passages in the Old Testament that proclaim that God will establish His King and Kingdom on the earth. That God would send a Messiah. Jesus is that promised Messiah. We will continue to follow David on this subject.)
Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He 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.
3 He 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.
4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But 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.
6 We 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.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, …
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. … though he had done no violence …
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, …
11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied …
From the time this was written till today the Jews, especially, have had great difficulty understanding this passage. How could this refer to the great and powerful Messiah of the other passages we looked at last week? Some have thought it referred to the whole nation of Israel and all the suffering they have endured. But this describes one who suffered on behalf of the nation Israel, it could not refer to the nation. Without understanding two comings of the Messiah – the first to suffer as the atonement for sin, and the second to come as conquering King – this made no sense.
Sovereign LORD, Your plan was so much more amazing than anyone could ever have anticipated or understood without Your explanation. Thank You Messiah that You came first as the Suffering Servant, allowing Yourself to be despised and rejected, familiar with pain. You voluntarily took a life with all the rejection and suffering we would ever know, so that we could share with You in Your glory and Kingdom. It is all the more amazing that it pleased You to do all of that for a world that mostly not understand or care that You died for us. May my life always be a response of love and gratitude for You. May I be as pleased to suffer for You as You were to suffer for me! Amen.