May 17, 2021 – Isaiah 50:4-9
This, the third of the Servant Songs, describes the ministry of the servant. Three times, “the Lord God” is seen acting. That is, the work the servant will perform is ordained and approved by the sovereign God. Nothing by chance. Nothing by mere human initiative. Rather, this is the work of the Lord himself, as Peter declared in his sermon: "This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it" (Acts 2:23,24).
And what is the focus of his work? He suffers – “I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting” 50:6) – in order to help others: he will “sustain with a word him who is weary” (50:4).
Hear the refrain of Michael Saward’s hymn, Christ Triumphant, Ever Reigning:
Suffering servant, scorned, ill-treated,
death is through the cross defeated,
And David: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22). Christ, our Savior, Isaiah’s Servant, sustains us.