“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 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. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isa. 53:4-6).”
When I reflect on the truth of the above passage along with the crucifixion accounts in the four Gospels, I am overwhelmed as to how to write anything that can pay enough respect for the wonder of what Christ has done for us! We deserve the punishment for our sins but Christ took our place and was “pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities”. What kind of love is this, that Christ would suffer and die for us to have life? What kind of righteous and holy One would be such a servant to us in this way? Let’s first take a look at Christ as our suffering servant.
Christ as Our Suffering Servant
Jesus always knew why he came to earth. He always knew that he came to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and create a way for us to have eternal life in heaven with him. Yet even though he knew that he was the only true God, King, and Savior of the world, he models humility, grace, mercy, and love to us like no one else ever has or ever will.
Although he knew what was going to happen to him through the betrayal of Judas all the way to his agonizing death on the cross, we see him begin to suffer through that knowledge as he prays in the garden of Gethsemane the night he is to be betrayed. “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will”(Matt. 26:39).” We see his faithfulness to the Father here as a suffering servant to be willing to suffer the worst death possible since it is the Father’s will. Oh, what a wondrous love!
We see through the process of the crucifixion how Jesus suffered beyond our comprehension physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He was betrayed, mocked, and rejected by people. He was beaten, nailed to the cross, had a crown of thorns forced onto his head, and was left to suffer on that cross for hours. In those last hours, he bore the full weight of humanities’ sin which caused him to experience a stint of forsakenness from God the Father. Jesus suffered to the maximum level of suffering in every aspect possible throughout the process of his death so that we could have forgiveness of our sins and eternal life with God. What love. What a sacrifice. What a Savior!
Hope Through Christ as a Suffering Servant
“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God! (Matt. 27: 50-54)”
Growing up, this passage always seemed terrifying to me; however, as an adult, it amazes me how the centurion and those keeping watch over Jesus were “filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God! (v. 54)” Even those crucifying him saw that he was who he said he was! Now, I do not know if they ever truly believed and accepted Christ as their Savior, but this passage seems to me to begin the sentiment of hope. Hope that even those who deny or don’t believe could truly see who Christ is. Hope that, since he is the Son of God, he would, indeed, rise again from the dead, conquering death, hell, and the grave so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life in heaven with the Father.
In the weeks to come in this series, we will see and celebrate this hope fulfilled in Christ’s resurrection and ascension. What a mighty God we serve! For now, for this week leading up to Good Friday, let us reflect deeply on the cross and the suffering servant of Jesus himself. Let us ponder on what he has done for us to make a way of salvation. Let us rejoice and give thanks in the hope and salvation that comes from Christ’s death on the cross. “But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him (Heb. 9:26b-28).”
Morgan joined the HBC staff in 2017. She loves to be outside (especially at the beach or anywhere on the water). She also loves to write, eat ice cream, snuggle with her polydactyl cat, and take walks with her family.