I sang this beautiful hymn yesterday at a large central London church with a few hundred confident, care free singers. It was a more modern version and arrangement than this one and I didn’t realise it was a very old hymn until I tried to track it down to share with you. A modern rendition does not seem to available so here is the oldie but goodie.
Quite a few things in this post. Firstly, I want you to think about what you know or have heard about Jesus of Nazareth. Jewish Messiah. Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Laid low, so others can be lifted up. Empty, so others may be full. Left home so others could come home. Momentarily lost to the Father so others could be bound to the Father forever. Without, so others could be with. Lifeless, so others could have nothing less than life. Broken, so others could be restored. Poured out, so others could be gathered up.
Consider Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday as you read this prophecy of one called the Suffering Servant from the Hebrew prophet Isaiah – almost 700 years before the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Starting at end of Chapter 52 & moving into 53
See, my servant will act wisely[b];
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him[c]—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness—
15 so he will sprinkle many nations,[d]
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.
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 mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken 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 on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our 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 its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
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 makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
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.
Sourced electronically here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2053&version=NIV
Secondly for the enquirers amongst you here is an academic treatment by a Jewish believer in Christ, Dr. Michael Brown, on how this prophecy refers ultimately and fully to Jesus the Messiah.
Clicking on the pdf button below will download automatically a pdf document written by Dr. Brown. It’s a chapter called Jewish Interpretations of Isaiah 53 from the book The Gospel According to Isaiah 53 – Encountering the Suffering Servant in Jewish and Christian Theology. It’s written at an academic level but is an important piece of work.
Click this PDF button for Chapter download:
Click the book to purchase with free delivery within the UK.
Favourites at this point – O Sacred Head Now Wounded (meditate on that title for a week and get back to me – changed) and Roll Away the Stone.
I have really enjoyed my first listen through. Quite Christmassy at times. And why not?
Website for the band: PageCXVI.com
Twitter handle: @pagecxvi
This is the second release (first release info here) that is focused on this most climactic time in the year for Christians – Easter.
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
1 Corinthians 15:14
Growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s you got to watch a lot of quiz shows on TV – many with a line that lingers long on the memory. Remember Sale of the Century – it was the “quiz of the week”. Perhaps my favourite was the intellectual gladiator-dome University Challenge with Bamber Gascoigne – way before Jeremy Paxman. At certain points he would say “No conferring”. That meant you are on your own – you must work out the answer on your own.
Some time back I had a very special opportunity do the exact opposite. A bunch of us gathered together to confer – work stuff out together – to progress together.
I was down south of Taupo (New Zealand) to attend a Leadership Conference looking at how to respond to the clear call on the Christian believer to be a bringer of the Gospel and a bringer of compassion for people. Two separate things. More on that distinction in an upcoming post.
Super conference – very stimulating, great time together, no hype, just a great time in God’s presence with God’s people.
I am linking to the resources generally on the Living Stones Leadership Training website but specifically recommending a special series of talks.
Click on his picture to get to their media section and then pop Malcolm’s name into the Search Archive box to source them.
I would recommend each of them and in the order delivered. Lovely wife and I had very energising conversation with him during the conference – great bloke.
Have a listen and grow. And please do confer.