A Suffering Servant

Read: Isaiah 52:13‑53:12

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief . . . (53:3)

This vivid and elegant Servant Song stirs us to recognize anew that it is through the suffering and death of Jesus that our sins are forgiven. The song opens by announcing the ultimate victory and glory of the Servant as he cleanses many nations, and kings stand in awe as they understand what God is doing (vv. 13-15). However, in the next stanza we see a humble Servant, despised and rejected by people, one who knows great sorrow and suffering (vv. 1-3).

The third stanza (vv. 4-6) describes why the Servant submitted to this suffering. “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows . . . pierced for our transgressions . . . with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray . . . and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” May these words penetrate our hearts. In verses 7-9 Isaiah notes how the Servant yields to suffering. He died and was buried, though fully innocent.

The final stanza (vv. 10-12) repeats the opening theme, the victory of Christ who intervened before God for us, bearing our sin. What a gift! Through Isaiah’s prophecy, we understand the weight of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, and are invited to accept the tremendous gift of our lives made right. —Gordon Van Wylen

As you pray, accept the gift of Christ’s sacrifice for you again, and praise him for all he has done.

About the Author

Gordon Van Wylen

Gordon Van Wylen served as the Dean of the Engineering School at the University of Michigan, and was the President Emeritus of Hope College. Dr. Van Wylen died in 2020.