We know it’s a good idea to spend time during Lent reading and meditating over Scripture. But that can be overwhelming: where does one start? Is there one Biblical book that is “better” than another for Lent? What does it mean to “meditate on Scripture” anyway? Let’s take a look at the book of Isaiah, and the verses that refer to the Suffering Servant.
Even if the “Suffering Servant” doesn’t sound familiar to you, you will recognize the chapters of Isaiah that refer to him:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased.
Upon him I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry out, nor shout,
nor make his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench.
He will faithfully bring forth justice. (Is. 42:1-3)
The Jewish listeners of this passage would recognize that Isaiah, the prophet, was referring to the Messiah, the Promised One of God, the One who would redeem humanity and save the nation of Israel. As Christians, we understand that Isaiah is foretelling the mission of Christ.
Of course, many Jews believed that the Messiah would be an earthly king, a man who would free Israel from the oppression of the Roman Empire. Yet, God’s plan would be that Emmanuel, God-With-Us, would be a servant, an example of mercy, love and justice, one who would wash the feet of his followers.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) offers a wonderful study of the Suffering Servant passages in Isaiah. You can find it here. Why not spend some time learning more about the Suffering Servant this Lent?