A man of suffering: Isaiah 53 (20 June 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Reflect

Daily reflection: Isaiah 53

This amazing messianic prophecy grows out of the hopeful and joyful message in chapter 52 that God does rescue and restore his people even from the depths of despair. It would be hard to find any New Testament passage that explains the exchange of our sin and guilt for Christ’s perfect righteousness as clearly and movingly as this chapter from the Old Testament, written hundreds of years before the crucifixion took place.

The appearance could not be more different from the reality in the words we read here. The man being described is disfigured and rejected, sick, bruised and deep in pain: he seems to be one of life’s losers. The implication is that his affliction and death are God’s punishment on him for his own sin, and that we, as onlookers, may stand in judgement on him. Yet all of this suffering is in reality ‘a perversion of justice’ (verse 8). He deserves none of it but carries it for others – for ‘us all’.

The tone is one of total astonishment (look back at 52.14). Faced with the prophet’s revelation, we have to reverse all our ideas about what is happening. The suffering man does not deserve his affliction; we do. But in the moment when we recognise how sick and sinful we are, we also see that his suffering heals us.

There is always more than meets the eye in the work of God. In all of life, we do well not to judge by appearances but to look carefully for ‘the will of the Lord’ to be revealed.

Pray

Pray

Jesus, we can only read this passage with astonishment and with gratitude for the suffering that you were willing to undergo for us. Thank you for carrying our pain.

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