Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read an important passage from the Prophet Isaiah, who wrote poetic words of prophecy about someone called a “suffering servant” in Isaiah 53.
He wrote these words to a people who were supposed to be God’s chosen people, but who seemed to be in serious danger from around, and from their internal divisions, and had begun doubting God’s care for them. This passage was meant to give them hope in the coming of a future king, an anointed one, who came to be known as the Messiah. He would set right everything that was wrong with Israel’s state of affairs.
500 years later, Jesus walked the earth, and fulfilled these and many other prophecies about the Messiah. Just in this passage, we can see why people made this connection:
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
He was meant to be the greatest gift to humanity, but instead we despised and rejected him. He was rejected by his own people, sent to die like a criminal when he’d preached good news.
But his death was meaningful and effective.
Isaiah 52 says, “so shall he sprinkle many nations.” Sprinkling refers to the cleansing of something before an offering.
Jesus went willingly to his death, quietly even, like the servant in this story who dies silently. He seems to be a victim, not a perpetrator, and a willing victim at that. Just like it said in Isaiah 53, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”
It also said, “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death” – Jesus was killed alongside criminals, like a criminal. But then his tomb was borrowed from Joseph of Arimathea – a wealthy man.
Finally, it says this all happened, “although he had done no violence”…and the closest Jesus ever came to violence was when he drove moneychangers out of the temple.
You can see the suggestive connections here, but the most important part is the reason all this happened to the suffering servant, and what it was meant to accomplish. We’ll explore that tomorrow.
Question: What hints do you see about the meaning of the suffering servant’s death? What was it supposed to accomplish?