April 19

Good Friday in Holy Week  “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Read each of these verses noticing how thoroughly, willingly, and fully Jesus identified with humanity. Ask yourself this question each time, “Why is this phrase significant? What does it reveal?”

Scripture Isaiah 53

1 Who has believed our message
       and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
       and like a root out of dry ground.
       He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
       nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

 3 He was despised and rejected by men,
       a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
       Like one from whom men hide their faces
       he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 4 Surely he took up our infirmities
       and carried our sorrows,
       yet we considered him stricken by God,
       smitten by him, and afflicted.

 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
       he was crushed for our iniquities;
       the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
       and by his wounds we are healed.

 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
       each of us has turned to his own way;
       and the LORD has laid on him
       the iniquity of us all.

 7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
       yet he did not open his mouth;
       he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
       and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
       so he did not open his mouth.

 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
       And who can speak of his descendants?
       For he was cut off from the land of the living;
       for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
       and with the rich in his death,
       though he had done no violence,
       nor was any deceit in his mouth.

 10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
       and though the LORD make his life a guilt offering,
       he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
       and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

 11 After the suffering of his soul,
       he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
       by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
       and he will bear their iniquities.

 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,  
       and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
       because he poured out his life unto death,
       and was numbered with the transgressors.
       For he bore the sin of many,
       and made intercession for the transgressors.

Reader: This is the word of the Lord.   Response: Thanks be to God.

Some thoughts:
This chapter is the gospel in the First Testament. As each verse furthers the story, you see God’s plan of redemption unfolding. What aspects are key from God’s perspective? Let’s walk our way through the chapter. We begin with God speaking powerfully. We are introduced to God’s Servant who will be the path. The person is humble and very ordinary looking; nothing striking about his appearance. The Servant was rejected, even despised by those around him. The amazing thing was that this man empathized and carried the weaknesses and grief of those that hated him. The people dismissed him figuring his troubles were a result of God punishing him for his own sin not realizing it was their sins for which he was suffering. Isaiah, the speaker, goes on to describe the Servant being pierced, beaten, whipped as he bore our sins. He also reminds us that every person has rebelled and gone their own way and out of love, the Servant took the punishment for their rebellion upon himself. He did not fight back when condemned. He had done nothing wrong and yet was killed like a criminal. In an interesting twist, he was buried in a rich man’s grave. We are then told clearly that it was God’s plan to bring redemption about in this exact manner. The Servant’s perfect, holy life was made the sacrificial offering for the sin of the world. Though he died alone, his death paved the way for many descendants to be made righteous in the sight of God because he carried their sin to the cross. In his death on the cross he was counted as a rebel. We are the rebels but he stood in on our behalf bearing the brunt of what we should have received. Having defeated death for all eternity, we have been redeemed by this Suffering Servant, Jesus the Christ, and not only us, but the entire created order.

Music: “Were You There?”

www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5qUnKC9rPU Kings College

Hymn: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded    ―Bernard of Clairvaux, 12th century

O sacred Head, now wounded,

with grief and shame weighed down,

now scornfully surrounded

with thorns, thine only crown:

how pale thou art with anguish,

with sore abuse and scorn!

How does that visage languish

which once was bright as morn!

What thou, my Lord, has suffered

was all for sinners’ gain;

mine, mine was the transgression,

but thine the deadly pain.

Lo, here I fall, my Savior!

‘Tis I deserve thy place;

look on me with thy favor,

vouchsafe to me thy grace.

What language shall I borrow

to thank thee, dearest friend,

for this thy dying sorrow,

thy pity without end?

O make me thine forever;

and should I fainting be,

Lord, let me never, never

outlive my love for thee.

Prayer:  Today he who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the Cross.
He who is King of the angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns.
He who wraps the heaven in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery.
He who in Jordan set Adam free receives blows upon his face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed with nails. The Son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear.
We venerate thy Passion, O Christ.
Show us also thy glorious Resurrection.
–Hymns for Good Friday, Orthodox