Lenten Devotional – Day 20 – The Sinless Servant
The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
5 The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
I have not been rebellious,
I have not turned away.
6 I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.
7 Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.
8 He who vindicates me is near.
Who then will bring charges against me?
Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
Let him confront me!
9 It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me.
Who will condemn me?
They will all wear out like a garment;
the moths will eat them up.
In these verses we observe the contrast between the obedient servant of the Lord and those who persecuted and abused him. Astonishingly, it is the obedient servant who is called to suffer on behalf of the disobedient people – to be struck, spat upon, and mocked. And yet, he “sets his face like flint” toward the road of suffering and will “not be put to shame.” He knows that his suffering is not in vain because by it his people shall be redeemed.
The writers of the New Testament recognized that the servant of the Lord, referenced in this passage, is none other than Jesus Christ. He “set his face” toward Jerusalem, knowing the pain that awaited him there (Luke 9:51). He was struck, mocked, and spat upon (Mark 15:19-20). He suffered, not because of his sin but because of ours, and his life was marked by perfect obedience, even to death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-9).
Through all of this, Jesus remained the sinless servant (Hebrews 12:2). How was Jesus able to endure such treatment and yet be confident that ultimately he would not be put to shame? The answer, in a word, is joy: for “the joy set before him, he endured the cross.” The joy that motivated Jesus was the fact that by his suffering his people would be redeemed.
We too have a great joy set before us today. Certainly there is pain and suffering on our journey, but being united to Christ by faith, we will not be put to shame! Let us take up our cross and follow Christ, the sinless servant.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, our sinless servant. May this good news bring strength to us as we pursue joy in the midst of our pain and suffering. In Christ’s Name, Amen.