The Ministry of the Suffering Servant

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, NASB95)


While preparing for a communion service in 1707, Isaac Watts wrote the deeply moving song, “When I survey the wondrous cross” as a very personal expression of gratitude, for the amazing love that the death of Christ on the cross revealed. Consider the 3rd verse:

See, from His head, His hands,
His feet,sorrow and love flow mingled down;
did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

The ministry and mission of Jesus as the Suffering Servant, is to take our punishment upon Himself in order to bring people into a right relationship with theHoly God. We must realize that Jesus’ suffering is not based on His wrongdoing, but the sin of the world, ultimately our personal sin. Jesus was literally “wounded” for our sins and transgression against God’s holy law. Peter would comment on this very passage of Isaiah when he said, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24, NASB95) Peter uses the word “heal” in a sense that the healing will bring about a restoration to an earlier healthy state. It carries the idea of renewal.

The healing ministry is not the healing of this flesh in this world as some would say, but the spiritual healing that brings peace with God. It is also the holistic, transformation of the whole individual as we experience the breath of life, causing the individual to be born again spiritually. We now look for the promised physical transformation on the day of the resurrection. The Apostle Paul would declare this truth as he said, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion f the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20–21, NASB95)

Jesus’ physical wounds were inflicted by the soldiers who whipped Him and nailed Him to the cross. But the real wounds were inflicted because of sin, my sin and your sin. Like Watts, we should be deeply moved when we see Jesus as the Suffering Servant who gave all for our salvation.

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