The Lord has given me
the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
the weary with a word....
The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backwards.
I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled
out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting...
It is the Lord God who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
These verses from Isaiah are part of what is called 'The Servant Songs' or the 'Songs of the Suffering Servant'. There are four such songs in the Book of Isaiah in the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament): .
In these Songs Isaiah describes the service of the 'Servant'. This is one of the names for the Messiah. Isaiah initially identifies God's Servant as Israel itself, who would be a light to the Gentiles, but upon their failure, he suggests something different.
Many thought the Messiah would be a King who would destroy Israel's enemies in battle, but these Songs describe a totally different Messiah. Isaiah gives us a Servant who would suffer. This Messiah would be a meek and gentle Servant; yet he would also be a King, and a High Priest. He would suffer for the sins of the world, but through him sin would be defeated.
In Acts 3.13 Peter says 'The God....of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus'. Jesus rewrote the thinking about who the Messiah would be, by obeying His Heavenly Father, and He gave us the opportunity to be reconciled to God. For this we continue to praise Him.
we thank You for Your work of reconciliation,
and we praise Your holy name.
Let us never forget that You
died for our sin,
so that we might be forgiven,
and that You brought us back to God