Suffering Servant (7 of 10)

The Word
8By 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?  9And 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. (Isaiah 53:8-9)

 Voice from the Church
“The phrase ‘by oppression and judgment’ is two nouns presenting concomitant aspects of the same fact. The judgment was, in fact, employed as an instrument of oppression. It seemed as though the Servant must die without descendants, which was regarded as a great misfortune in that society.” (Kenneth L. Barker & John Kohlenberger)*

The Lord Jesus Christ was treated with the utmost cruelty and was unfairly judged and punished. This innocent, sinless, and holy Son of God was taken before both religious and civil rulers, who themselves were sinners and being judged by God for their wickedness.

Fifty days following his death, Peter announced to Christ’s tormentors, “this Jesus, [who was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23). “Lawless men” killed the Righteous One: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Pet. 1:18).

The Servant’s death was a vicarious one: “stricken for the transgression of my people.” This is the wonder of the Cross: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

He saw me plunged in deep distress
And flew to my relief;
For me He bore the shameful cross
And carried all my grief.
(Samuel Stennett, 1727-1795)**

*Kenneth L. Barker & John Kohlenberger, Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary, 1:1132.
**From “Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned” by Samuel Stennett.”

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Copyright © 2018 Ralph I. Tilley
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Author: Ralph I. Tilley

I joyfully identify with the long history of the orthodox, evangelical stream of the Church. Theologically, I am a conservative. On issues of secondary importance, I will not quibble with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I would hope I have no doctrinal biases; however, I realize that is a practical impossibility: “Now I know in part.” You can read more on the About page.