A great love story - Isaiah 52:13-53:12
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When reading the Old Testament quite soon we realize that the foundations are being laid here for an event to come. In our readings we have already learned that our common sense does not lead us to God, as the events of the Book of Judges and Elimelech's fateful decision showed. But from Ruth and Naomi we also learned that a "rescuer" can free us from our fate.
The prophet Isaiah wrote several centuries after the events related in Ruth and expands our understanding of the rescue that God will perform for this needy humanity. Let's enjoy this reading.
1. Of whom is this passage talking about?
To a nation overwhelmed by its sad condition, this passage is like a glass of cold water on a hot day. Here we are told of a servant who will triumph. The way in which he will free those who wait for him will be astonishing. And his rescue will be known to all who think that they have authority (‘the kings’) since they will finally be able to see and understand what had been announced to them. They cannot rescue themselves; they need a rescuer.
2. What stands out about this rescuer?
Chapter 53 tells of this triumphant servant. Despite his appearance, he can be trusted because the power of the Lord is in him.
The way God rescues us is amazing! Not by the strength of a glorious king, but through a humble and suffering servant. For us, who have been meditating on this great love story, everything fits.
3. What does this suffering servant accomplish?
Although he is despised and rejected, and although he is not esteemed, we can glorify God because he bears our diseases and carries our pain. The price of our peace is paid by him, his wounds bring us health.
Isaiah informs us that the price of our ransom (our atonement) is paid by this suffering servant. Our rescuer, who dies the death we deserve, ends up among the wrongdoers despite being a righteous person so that we can experience the joy of that much-needed restoration.
Isaiah tells us that there is hope because this great act of love recounted here will justify many.
As in the book of Ruth, our own story begins with pain and suffering. Let us thank God for this servant who justifies us by paying the price for our rebellion. Let us thank God that in Ruth we have not only had the privilege of reading a great love story, but we have also experienced this great love thanks to Christ, this suffering servant who is our rescuer.
Think: Isaiah tells us about the servant who suffers to rescue the afflicted. Have you accepted this rescue?
Ideas for Prayer: Thank God for Christ's rescue. Ask him to live fully this wonderful reality. And share it with others.
Translated from the Chilean Book of Common Prayer. Good Friday prayer
« 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.». (Isaiah 53:5 ESV)
Almighty Father, whose blessed Son, by his only perfect and sufficient sacrifice, has opened for us a new way in your presence; grant us that, approaching you with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith, we can find cleanliness and peace; and give us grace to hold firm to the profession of our hope and serve one another with love and good works; by the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord himself. Amen.
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