Love Songs for Servants

Week 1: Introduction

Some of the most profoundly touching descriptions of Jesus and his life come not from the New Testament Gospels, but from the Old Testament writings of the Prophet Isaiah.  Isaiah’s writings include five “songs,” called the Servant Songs or the Suffering Servant Songs.  Traditionally, the Church has considered the servant in these songs to be Jesus, meaning that these are prophetic songs about him.


Prophecy can be a misleading word.  We often think of it as telling the future, and prophecies either come true or they flop.  A more helpful understanding is to see these words of Isaiah as being fulfilled in Jesus, which means that he fills in the meaning of the words rather than the words rigidly defining him.  In our scripture for this week, Jesus himself uses this understanding of prophecy as he begins his public ministry.


As we reflect on the Servant Songs this Lent, we will consider them as love songs written to us as God’s beloved ones.  As love songs, they open us up to better grasp the love of Jesus for us and how we are called to love God and our neighbors.


The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to [Jesus]. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”               — Luke 4:17-21

  • Invitations:

    • As you read this week’s scripture, what especially speaks to you?
      What challenges you?
    • Although not one of the Servant Songs, the passage Jesus reads is Isaiah 61:1-2. As he begins his ministry, Jesus gives us a window into both his ministry and how he will fulfill and define these words.  How does Jesus fulfill these words in his ministry?  How has he fulfilled them in your life?
    • From this passage, what do you discover about:
      - God’s love for you and how you might love God in return?
      - Your love for your neighbor and how your neighbor might love you?

      - Your love for yourself?

  • Prayer:

    Jesus, I begin this Lent with joy knowing that you are the source of good news, freedom, vision, and grace for my life.  Walk with me in the coming weeks. 
    Let me hear you singing your love songs in my heart.