Sunday, July 9, 2023

Suffering Servant (Part One)

By Clifton Angel
    The bittersweet image of Jesus as the "suffering servant" is most beautifully and concisely portrayed in Isaiah 53. It is this Bible chapter that has been so "titled" because the text foretells of God's "righteous servant" (53:11) who would endure unthinkable suffering "for our iniquities" (53:4). I encourage you to pause here and read Isaiah 53.
    Now, let us endeavor to show from other Scriptures some of the great paradoxes that entailed God coming in the form of a servant and suffering for His creation. Paul wrote:
Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).
    It is unfathomable for one to be “in the form of God” yet take “upon him the form of a servant”! A paradox is something that is not contradictory yet it seems very contradictory. Jesus was a walking paradox.
    Consider Jesus' paradox of poverty. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye throu-gh his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). The word translated “poor” and “poverty” has a root than can be found in Luke 16:20 concerning the beggar
    Lazarus. I cannot wrap my mind around it! The Beginner of all things (John 1:1-3) became like a beggar with no things. He experienced poverty in that He was homeless. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). The Carpenter (Mark 6:3) of the world (Hebrews 3:4), Who made all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:1-3; John 1:1–3), was homeless! He experienced poverty in that He was hungry. “And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry” (Mark 11:12). “Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
    Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered” (Luke 4:1-2). The Bread of Life (John 6:35), Who sent manna from above (John 6:31), was hungry! He experienced poverty in that He was dehydrated. As He was suspended between Heaven and earth, he cried, “I thirst” (John 19:28).
    The Giver of living water (John 4:10-14) was dehydrated! O how great was the suffering that included the paradox of poverty!

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website:

No comments:

Post a Comment