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Remembering the Suffering Servant

What comes to mind when you think of a king?

Most people have a preconceived opinion about royalty. A quick round of word association might yield descriptors like rich, pampered, luxury, or spoiled. Therefore, commoners typically find it frustrating when royals whine about being mistreated.

There has only been one who truly was unjustly mistreated, and brutally so—yet not a word of complaint rolled past His holy lips.

Today, let’s solemnly remember the suffering of Creation’s King, Jesus, from the sacred text of Isaiah 53.

For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 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.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

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. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors

(Is 53:2-12 ESV).

It was always foretold that God’s Messiah would be a suffering servant. It sounds preposterous. It sounds counter-intuitive. Extreme. It sounds like love. And Divine brilliance.

The One wielding all power humbled Himself and revealed a heart both meek and gentle (Mt 11:29).

The One with all riches became poor.

The All-Glorious One unrobed His majesty, having no human beauty of His own.

The One with the joys of heaven became a man of sorrows.

The sinless Son of God was acquainted with grief. Talk about injustice! At times He was overwhelmed with sorrow (Mt 26:37-38).

The righteous One was pierced for the unrighteous. Stricken. Afflicted. Crushed. Did He not have to be broken to such an extent, considering the extent of brokenness in the world?

Life itself, poured out his soul to death. The Prince of Peace, who reigns at the right hand of God, was willingly numbered with the transgressors. He bore the sin of many, yet He does not hold the sins of those He has redeemed against them. Rather, He continues to make intercession for the transgressors.

King, Savior, God . . . suffered.

And He served. The King to serve became the servant—to death.

What God would do such a thing?!

The Creator of the cosmos.


Our Lord and God, we remember Your immense suffering. We remember Your loving and sacrificial servanthood. We bow our hearts in sorrow. And gratitude, that by Your willing poverty others become unfathomably rich.

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