Third Suffering Servant Song of Isaiah
The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to answer the weary
a word that will waken them.
Morning after morning
he wakens my ear to hear as disciples do;
The Lord GOD opened my ear;
I did not refuse,
did not turn away.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who tore out my beard;
My face I did not hide
from insults and spitting.
The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
Therefore I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He who declares my innocence is near.
Who will oppose me?
Let us appear together.
Who will dispute my right?
Let them confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will declare me guilty?
See, they will all wear out like a garment,
consumed by moths.
Who among you fears the LORD,
heeds his servant’s voice?
Whoever walk in darkness,
without any light,
Yet trust in the name of the LORD
and rely upon their God!f
All you who kindle flames
and set flares alight,
Walk by the light of your own fire
and by the flares you have burnt!
This is your fate from my hand:
you shall lie down in a place of torment.
Note that we meditate on these Suffering Servant Songs on two levels: 1) as originally written by Isaiah about 600 B.C. at the time of the Babylonian Exile and the return of God’s people; 2) at the time of the first Christians who witnessed the death, resurrection and glorification of Christ Jesus, the Servant.
Isaiah has to give us the word of God more than once. God is persistent — so much does he love us. The people of Isaiah’s time were not responding so the prophet gives them the word again, what God is doing and telling them what they must do. There is a hint in these lines that Isaiah is a servant of God to the servant people. He is tempted to give up but remains faithful, knowing it was not God’s fault that put them in their predicament. In the verses just before this Song Isaiah says outright that it was their sins that caused the Exile. But the prophet servant does not give up. He sets his face like flint (Luke will also use this phrase.) He remains faithful to God who is still faithful to his people (he will not divorce her — verses 1- 2). Perhaps the most enduring teaching about Christ that emanates from this passage is Christ Jesus set his face like flint for the final journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). As Servant of the Lord he accepts his calling and does not turn away from it, even against threats from outside. This must be true of the Church, the body of Christ, Head and members. The Easter renewal of faith is a sign that we are responding to God’s call, even at a price.
The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops has several versions of the Stations of the Cross
http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/index.cfm. Go to Prayers and Devotions
There you will find the a series of meditations by Saint Pope John Paul II from 1991