See, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.
Even as many were amazed at him–
so marred was his look beyond human semblance
and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man–
so shall he startle many nations,
because of him kings shall stand speechless;
for those who have not been told shall see,
those who have not heard shall ponder it.
Who would believe what we have heard?
To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up like a sapling before him,
like a shoot from the parched earth;
there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him,
nor appearance that would attract us to him.
He was spurned and avoided by people,
a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity,
one of those from whom people hide their faces,
spurned, and we held him in no esteem.
Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
our sufferings that he endured,
while we thought of him as stricken,
as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins;
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
each following his own way;
but the LORD laid upon him
the guilt of us all.
Though he was harshly treated, he submitted
and opened not his mouth;
like a lamb led to the slaughter
or a sheep before the shearers,
he was silent and opened not his mouth.
Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,
and who would have thought any more of his destiny?
When he was cut off from the land of the living,
and smitten for the sin of his people,
a grave was assigned him among the wicked
and a burial place with evildoers,
though he had done no wrong
nor spoken any falsehood.
But the LORD was pleased
to crush him in infirmity.
If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
he shall see his descendants in a long life,
and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.
Because of his affliction
he shall see the light in fullness of days;
through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
and their guilt he shall bear.
Therefore I will give him his portion among the great,
and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
because he surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked;
and he shall take away the sins of many,
and win pardon for their offenses.
This describes what Jesus did for us with so a remarkable clarity that it is hard to believe this was composed at least six hundred years before Christ. So every line has meaning on the Jesus level. But what I want you to realize that this being Old Testament what happened to Jesus was according to the scriptures. God’s plan was from the beginning which means his love was from the beginning. This is the whole reason behind his making a covenant with man. It is merciful covenant love through and through. So a meditation on this and the other Suffering Servant Songs is not just for Holy Week but the whole Christian faith. The early Christians picked this up from the start and frequently refer to it. Considering the sufferings of Christ on a worldly level is not enough. The reasons behind it as just as much if not more important. That is our task this year under the unusual circumstances. This will also give deeper meaning to the resurrection of Christ. The same Father who led him to crucifixion, raised him from the dead. The first Christians recognized this. So must we.
Remember the Servant is the body of Christ, Head and members.