Reflections on Isaiah 53

Last week I shared my first thoughts on the Common English Bible.  My intention was to read through it a little more and do another post and give away sometime in January, but this morning I was gripped by the CEB’s handling of the first six verses of Isaiah 53:

 Who can believe
what we have heard,
and for whose sake has
the LORD’s arm been revealed?
2 He grew up like a young plant
before us,
like a root from dry ground.
He possessed no splendid form
for us to see,
no desirable appearance.
3 He was despised
and avoided by others;
a man who suffered,
who knew sickness well.
Like someone
from whom people hid their faces,
he was despised,
and we didn’t think about him.

4 It was certainly our sickness
that he carried,
and our sufferings that he bore,
but we thought him afflicted,
struck down by God and tormented.
5 He was pierced
because of our rebellions
and crushed because of our crimes.
He bore the punishment
that made us whole;
by his wounds we are healed.

6 Like sheep we had all wandered away,
each going its own way,
but the LORD let fall on him
all our crimes.

This morning, what struck me more than ever before were verses three and four.  The centuries that have passed since Isaiah 53’s writing have been good to the world.  We have made incredible technological advances, we have found new ways to entertain ourselves, and we have become more prosperous than ever before… but in some ways we are no different.  With all of our sophistication and achievement we still don’t get it.  We are a haughty people, convinced that we are in control of our destiny.

All the while the Suffering Servant, The Messiah, is despised to the point of people hiding their face from him because of his illness… the illness he received because of his love for us.

We thought him afflicted.
We thought that his suffering was his own fault, surely he was simply receiving the consequences of his actions.
Yet his suffering was for us, by us.

While I still struggle to fully understand the fullness of the beauty and wonder of what Christ did so many years ago, I am humbled and awed by it.  I pray that this Christmas, and the new year to follow, that I will continue to revel in the glory of it all.

What are YOU in awe of this Christmas season?

Want a copy of the Common English Bible to put under your Christmas tree?  Perhaps it will be a few days late, but it is the thought that counts, right?  Right?  Leave a comment and share this post via twitter or Facebook and I will select a reader at random on Friday, December 23, 2011 at noon eastern.  


About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.

  • Bridget Willard

    It is a pretty amazing thought.  Wow.