"Through His suffering, My Servant shall justify many." —Isaiah 53:11
Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would not only be the Christ (the Anointed One) and Emmanuel (God with us), but also God's "Servant." The Servant-Messiah would transform the world primarily through suffering. This Suffering Servant would be crushed in infirmity, burdened with all our guilt, afflicted, and put to death "as an Offering for sin" (see Is 53:10-11). Jesus was the Fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. He came not "to be served but to serve — to give His life in ransom for the many" (Mk 10:45).
Jesus calls us to follow Him and "serve the needs of all" (Mk 10:44). At first, we're open to this, but we later want to change our minds as we realize that our service will also be primarily through suffering. We are tempted to contrive a Christianity which minimizes suffering. Christianity does remove much suffering by healing the sick and setting people free from the evil one. However, authentic Christianity frees us from some sufferings to free us for other sufferings: rejection, self-sacrifice, and persecution. We must decide whether or not to serve, suffer, and be a Christian. Be a suffering servant; be a Christian.
Prayer: Father, may I rejoice in the measure I serve and suffer (see 1 Pt 4:13).
Promise: "Let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and favor and to find help in time of need." —Heb 4:16
Praise: "Exult, you just, in the Lord; praise from the upright is fitting" (Ps 33:1). Alleluia!
Reference: (Be a Bible teacher. For encouragement, order our tapes on the Bible Teachers Series. Our six-tape audio series starts with AV 117-1. Our three-part video series starts with V-117.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 10, 2012
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