Mar. 21 – Thursday                                             Read Isaiah 50:4-9a

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens– wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me.  It is the Lord GOD who helps me; who will declare me guilty?


from Victor L. Hunter, First Christian Church, New Martinsville

            This text, one of the “servant songs” of the second voice in Isaiah’s prophecy, is read during Passion/Palm Sunday and Holy Week.  It belongs to the Hebrew prophetic tradition:  the speaking of the Word of God into the cut and thrust, disappointments and sufferings, horrors and hope of the people’s life before God.  The prophetic tradition has three movements—announcing the people’s sin before God (forgetfulness of God and social injustice among the people), punishment (suffering exile from Zion and captivity in alienation), and promise (hope of redemption and restoration).  This text in Lent is read as the prophetic word of the servant of God to give us hope in God’s promise of restoration to our relationship with God—salvation.  Christians hear in this text a vision of the suffering servant Jesus and his prophetic and redemptive work.

Holy God, we acknowledge our sins of forgetfulness

and failures of love and justice;

we hear both your judgment and hope in your suffering servant, Jesus; we “stand up together” with him at your promise of vindication.


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