Wineskins Archive

December 7, 2013

The Message of the Table: The Servant Who Suffers (June 2012)

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By Keith Brenton

The prophecy Isaiah has been given to share seems incredible, even to him: “Who has believed our message?” He expresses it in past tense, so certain is it that it may as well have already happened. God sends a Servant – not handsome, not esteemed – and suffers not only as we suffer, but actually bears our suffering and our guilt. And we misunderstand. We see Him struck down by God. But the truth is, He is stricken and smitten by us; by our sins. All of us have wandered away from God like bleating sheep … but this Lamb of God is led to slaughter silent.

“The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, ‘Prophesy! Who hit you?’ And they said many other insulting things to him.”[1] … “Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?’ But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, ‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’[2] … “The Jews insisted, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.’ When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. ‘Where do you come from?’ he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.”[3]

A Prayer for the Bread
Holy God, one of your wisest once said that there is a time to be silent and a time to speak. You speak even in Your silence, and before You now we listen. We hear the sheep-brained bleat of our own lives echoed in the mockery of the soldiers and the high priest and hear our fear in the words of Pilate. Remind us in this bread that Your Son’s body was given for us; that we are now that body in Him. Amen.

A Prayer for the Cup
Father God, only One could claim to be the Son of God; the Suffering Servant foretold by Isaiah, and that is Jesus. He was silent in response to cruelty and cowardice, yet could not remain silent about that truth. He gave His consent through silence to the brutality that results from sin. He gave His blood to remove our transgressions, and we remember Him in penitence through this cup. Forgive us, we pray; embolden us that we too might never be silent about the truth of Your Son – however difficult to believe that it might seem to others. Amen.

1. Luke 22:63-64

2. Matthew 26:62-63

3. John 19:7-9

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