St. Mark Daily Lenten Devotional – March 29, 2015
by Brenna Lakeson
Scripture: Isaiah 50:4-9a
In Biblical scholarship, these verses are often ascribed to a figure called “the suffering servant.” While this title never actually appears in scripture, it seems to be an accurate label. “The suffering servant” is representative of God’s relationship to us: past, present, and future. A “servant,” Biblically speaking, is one called by God, as reflected in ancient Israel, in Christ, and in ourselves.
For the Jews of ancient Israel, the suffering servant was a figure of hope. After many years in exile from the Promised Land, the suffering servant showed them that their suffering was not in vain. They were living in a strange land, separated from God’s promise for them, but this situation wouldn’t last forever. The suffering servant proclaimed, “The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.” Even though they are in exile, they know the story isn’t over.
For Christ, these verses speak to both his humiliation and justification. “I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard.” Christ displayed ultimate humility and humiliation. But, just like the nation of Israel, this wasn’t in vain. “He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me.” Despite the shame and pain of the crucifixion, God stands against the adversaries. There’s hope present in our past, present, and future because of the victory of the cross.
So, on this day of palm waving, celebrate the coming victory with anticipation. Mourn the coming pain with tears. Let these words of the suffering servant speak into your pain and speak into your joy. Let them give you hope of a resurrection past, present, and future.
Prayer: Lord of glory and of dirt, prepare our hearts to journey with you. Today we celebrate your triumphant entry. Hosanna in the highest! Let our hearts exalt you in everything we do. Amen