Love Songs for Servants

Week 5: Song of the Suffering Servant

This week’s song is the beginning of the last servant song.  This final song is the longest one, and we will take two weeks to reflect on it.  As we read this song, once again, we understand why Jesus has been seen as the fulfillment of the servant songs.  Humility is the theme of this song, and it’s no wonder that these songs are often called the suffering servant songs.


Jesus was humiliated brutally during the events of Holy Week.  Crucifixion was the form of death reserved for the worst criminals and slaves.  Humility is different from humiliation. In week 2 we read that Jesus was not loud and cruel.  Bruised reeds and dim wicks were safe with him.  This is an expression of Jesus’ humility.  His faithful trust in God gave him the freedom to love and serve others, regardless of the outcome.


Jesus suffered—immensely.  He loved, healed, encouraged, and served.  He also suffered.  The good he did came back to him in the form of persecution, torture, and finally death.  And yet, as the Church sees this story of Jesus fulfilled in the songs, it also celebrates this fulfillment in the Resurrection.  Evil and death do not have the last word:  God does.


See, my servant shall prosper;
    he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.
Just as there were many who were astonished at him
    —so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance,
    and his form beyond that of mortals—
so he shall startle many nations;
    kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which had not been told them they shall see,
    and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.
Who has believed what we have heard?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by others;
    a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him of no account.

  — Isaiah 52:13-53:3

  • Invitations:

    • As you read this week’s scripture, what especially speaks to you?  What challenges you?
    • Read Philippians 2:5-11.  This is another song.  The Church had composed and had been singing this hymn before Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians.  It reflects well this week’s servant song.
    • Matthew 11:25-30 is a beautiful expression of Jesus’ humility towards us. 
    • 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:


    You know the pain and humiliation of being despised and rejected.

    Grow faithful trust in me, even when I suffer for serving others.  Amen.