Suffering Servant (9 of 10)

The Word
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. (Isaiah 53:11)

Voice from the Church
“But suppose when he offers himself to us, we respond that we don’t need a sin offering. Suppose we have rejected the ‘old-fashioned’ idea of sin and consider ourselves to be as worthy as the next person of the blessings of God. What then? It would be as though, after all the labor and struggle, the baby is stillborn. Then indeed, it was for nothing. Then indeed, the Savior finds no satisfaction in the offering he made.”
(John N. Oswalt, b. 1940)*

I will never forget the night when standing by the bedside of my wife Emily, she gave birth to our second daughter (fathers were not allowed in the delivery room when our first daughter was born). Following several hours of labor and anguish, there suddenly came great relief and joy and satisfaction: a child was born; the agony had ended—for her (and me). Christ’s suffering, of course, was infinitely greater.

It is through the substitutionary, atoning death of the Suffering Servant that the ungodly may be justified (“accounted righteous”): “It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). This is grace, God’s marvelous grace: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 3:8-9).

There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven and let us in.
(C. Frances Alexander, 1818-1895)**

*John N. Oswalt, The NIV Application Commentary: Isaiah, p. 586.
**From “There is a Green Hill Far Away” by C. Frances Alexander.

WellSpring: 365 devotional readings
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.