Suffering Servant Week


The most important part of Christ’s suffering experientially, is that he suffered for us! Christ interceded on our behalf on the cross and he lives to make intercession for us in heaven. Jesus Christ prays for us! He prays for our conformity to his image. This should bring us great hope as we come to the Lord’s table tomorrow. Christ intercedes for us. He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion!

Isaiah 53:11-12 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

For he IS the intercessor, and he that procured your entering in the way, will carry you on in it. He that procured a sanctified conviction to come in, will complete it! He that procured your justification, and pardon of sin, will also apply it to your conscience, and forth an intimation of it, when he thinks fit and sanctify you thoroughly. And this is indeed a great consolation to a sinner, that he who has begun a great work will perfect it; and he will not leave it; till it be at such a height of perfection, as it can be desired to be no higher! -Durham

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In the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ, he took comfort in his mission. He took comfort in the fact that he was securing the salvation of his people. He prolonged his days when he saw his seed. Of course, the Scriptures speak of a chaff as well. There are those in the world that do not belong to Christ, but grow alongside the church- but are not his. As we reflect on the sufferings of Christ we need to be mindful of the fact that if we are his seed; then we have a standard of living that we are to live by. We are to reflect the one who bought us. We are to live lives of holiness as the Lord Jesus Christ lived a life of holiness.

He was put to grief for our lives, let us not put him to grief by our lives.

Isaiah 53:9-10 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

They who are Christ’s seed, carry along with them the impression of an obligation to, and an acknowledgment of him in whatever good they have gotten. They think themselves much obliged to Christ, and they acknowledge him for their life (as in Mal. 1.6).. A natively and genuinely disposed child acknowledges his father as his father, and reverences and loves his father as his father, but there are many that pretend to being from Christ, who think not themselves in his debt and common for it, and who know not what it is to walk under the conviction of their obligation to Christ for their supposed spiritual life and being. -Durham, Christ Crucified, 41-413.

Yesterday I talked about reflecting on what Christ did for us. Today spend some time in meditation about the submissive spirit of Jesus Christ as he secured our salvation. Are we as submissive to him, as he was for us?

Isaiah 53:7-8 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

We Reformed Christians can become so proud. We often ask ourselves and each other why people cannot see their need for redemption and the necessity of the cross. We become proud and we alienate those to whom the message of salvation by free grace needs to be heard.

We easily forget that it is all of Christ. It is not of us.

It was HIS wounds, it was HIS stripes, it was HIS bruises.

And why?

For OUR sin. For OUR reconciliation. For OUR peace. For OUR iniquity to be healed.

Isaiah 53:5-6 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He again directs us to Christ, that we may betake ourselves to his wounds, provided that we wish to regain life. Here the Prophet draws a contrast between us and Christ; for in us nothing call be found but destruction and death; in Christ alone is life and salvation, he alone brought medicine to us, and even procures health by his weakness, and life by his death; for he alone hath pacified the Father, he alone hath reconciled us to him. Here we might bring forward many things about the blessed consequences of Christ’s sufferings, if we had not determined to expound rather than to preach; and therefore let us be satisfied with a plain exposition. Let every one, therefore, draw consolation from this passage, and let him apply the blessed result of this doctrine to his own use; for these words are spoken to all in general, and to individuals in particular. -Calvin

Something that is very disturbing in the current evangelical impressions of Jesus Christ was that he was a cheerful and happy man. 10 minutes in any ‘Christian’ bookstore will reveal posters, paintings, and greeting cards of a happy Jesus with a great smile. This conception of Christ is foreign to the testimony of the Scriptures.

Jesus was the man of sorrows.

The weight of his calling to reconcile sinners to God was so impressed into the person of Christ, that the Scriptures record that he sweat blood during intercessory prayer.

We take the Christ of the Scriptures for granted. We forget the seriousness of the Christian life and the serious nature of our calling to holiness and to reflect Jesus Christ. This is not a call to constant sorrows; but we must remember the difficult life that Christ lived on our behalf. He was sinless, yet lived his whole life with the weight of the knowledge of the sinfulness of sin. This led to a life of real and constant sorrow.

Isaiah 53:3-4 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

His spirit was tender, and he admitted the impressions of sorrow. We never read that he laughed, but often that he wept. Lentulus, in his epistle to the Roman senate concerning Jesus, says, “he was never seen to laugh;” and so worn and macerated was he with continual grief that when he was but a little above thirty years of age he was taken to be nearly fifty, Jn. 8:57. Grief was his intimate acquaintance; for he acquainted himself with the grievances of others, and sympathized with them, and he never set his own at a distance; for in his transfiguration he talked of his own decease, and in his triumph he wept over Jerusalem. Let us look unto him and mourn. -MH

For preparation for the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, I will be meditating on Isaiah 53. This week will be dedicated to some thoughts on the Suffering Servant, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 53:1-2 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Nothing about Jesus Christ was what the Jews of the day were looking for. They desired a prince to come and rule in Jerusalem and to free them from all of their outward oppression. Little did they know that what they needed above all things was a Christ that would build a spiritual kingdom. I imagine that each one of us, if we were in the same cultural circumstances, would be highly tempted to reject King Jesus, who appeared to be anything than a king. Our king looked more like a pauper.

John Gill said that in Christ there was, “nothing that looks grand and majestic, or like a king; they [unbelieving Israel] not beholding with an eye of faith his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father; only viewing him in his outward circumstances, and so made their estimate of him; they expected the Messiah as a temporal prince, appearing in great pomp and state, to deliver them from the Roman yoke, and restore their nation to its former splendour and glory; and being disappointed herein was the true reason of their unbelief, before complained of, and why they did not desire him, who is the desire of all nations.”