Read Isaiah 50:4-9a
Today we meet the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah. This is most appropriate for our Good Friday meditation, as the Servant foreshadows the meaning of suffering and obedience which Jesus presents in his passion.
The Servant, like Jesus, is sorely persecuted: “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.” But this is not a lament or a complaint as we often hear from those who are abused. It is a psalm of confidence and assurance.
The Servant is constantly aware of God’s presence and compassion throughout his ordeal. “The Lord God helps me; therefore, I have not been disgraced… I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near.” This total awareness of God’s abiding care is evidenced by the fact that the Servant is given “the tongue of a teacher [to] sustain the weary with a word.” His ears are opened “to listen as those who are taught.”
In the midst of distress, the Servant and God are in a remarkable relationship of love. This psalm is a demonstration of God’s love for and delight in us and an invitation for us to share that love and delight. Jesus’ giving of himself in the crucifixion is the powerful act that binds us to our God in the best and also the worst of times.
Loving God, open our ears to hear your word, free our tongues to share your love. Let us know that in the suffering and death of your Son he saves us and binds us to your constant care, whatever our situation.
William B. Allen
Regional Minister Emeritus