Isaiah 53:2-3 (The Message)
The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
How many times have we passed by the homeless man with the “will work for food” sign, refusing to make eye contact?
Or thought the mentally ill woman ranting to herself as she marches down the street, should be locked away?
Can we stifle the distain for families that line-up at the food bank, thinking “why don’t they just get a job?”
Or wonder why “those people” don’t just go back to where they came from?
This passage goes on to say “we thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him…….”
Isaiah 53 is often an Easter message, as Christians believe it refers to Jesus and his suffering and death for us. But in the context of Jesus’ life, I see a relationship with the world around us. Jesus sought out the scrubby plants.
Too many times we think there must be fault to be assigned for the ills of the world. And it must be the fault of the “servant” – if they only did something, their situation would be different. Human nature being what it is we fail to look at ourselves and say “if only I did something, the situation would be different.”
As we approach the Christmas season, let us remember the servant growing like a scrawny seeding in a parched field. Remember the poor, the sick, the unemployed and the stranger just as Jesus did in his life. He gave the ultimate gift to us – salvation! What gift will you give in His name?
Prayer: Loving God, you make us in your image. Forgive us when we fail to see your image in each other, when we give in to greed and indifference when we do not question the systems that are life-denying. As we are made in your image, let us live in your image and be Christ-like in service, endurance and love. Amen.