Isaiah 53:5 – March 28, 2019

But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed. Isaiah 53:5 NABRE     

Isaiah 53 celebrates a suffering servant’s trials and the good effect they produce. The verse opens with four stages: first, it describes the servant’s noble origins and the low esteem in which he is held as a “man of sorrows.” Second, we learn that all this suffering is atonement for the sins of others. Third, he has freely accepted suffering and meekly offers himself as a sacrifice of atonement. Finally, his suffering is fruitful, (he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days.) The servant in this reading stands for the people of Israel separated from their homes, in diaspora. The Jews who had difficulty in maintaining their identity in pagan countries, those who worshiped multiple gods, found comfort in the hope they would come through it improved, just like the servant. We see too, Jesus revealed His redemptive mission to be that of the suffering servant prophesied by Isaiah. Jesus refers to Himself as a servant; “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Jesus provides other examples. Jesus’ death and resurrection have been interpreted in terms of this passage.

The sufferings of Jesus address failings of all people of the world. It announces God will do anything to bring us back to God. Jesus takes on a life lived completely for others, redeeming all. He is like a father who goes to jail for his child, a mother who takes the blame for her child thief. Jesus provides an act of unconditional love and we are challenged to do that same.

Do you serve others? Would you stand in for another?

The sufferings of Jesus address failings of all people of the world. It announces God will do anything to bring us back to God. Click To Tweet

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