From early times, the Church saw Jesus as the embodiment of Isaiah’s suffering servant. He is strong enough to establish justice but does not display his power in ways we might expect. He doesn’t shout to make sure he is heard. He doesn’t confront or oust his people’s oppressors. He is gentle with the weak, the timid, the hesitant. He achieves his victory not through force but through self-sacrifice.
As we enter into Holy Week, let’s fix our attention on this humble Servant. Let’s pay close attention to Jesus and watch what he does. Let’s listen to what he says and when he remains silent. If we observe closely, we will grow in our understanding and appreciation of how much he loves us.
A smoldering wick he shall not quench (Isaiah 42:3). At the Last Supper, Jesus told the disciples, “All of you will have your faith in me shaken” (Matthew 26:31). But he did not reject them or condemn their shaky faith. Instead, he promised to go before them to Galilee, giving them hope that even if they fell away, they could be restored.
A bruised reed he shall not break (Isaiah 42:3). When Peter slept in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus admonished him to watch and pray so that his willing spirit could overcome the weakness of his flesh. He did not become impatient with Peter or heap criticism on him. Instead, he focused on Peter’s willingness and told him to pray for the grace to overcome temptation.
Not crying out, not shouting (Isaiah 42:2). When he stood before Pilate, Jesus did not answer his accusers or prepare an argument for his defense. He did not cry out that he was innocent. He accepted condemnation, knowing he was doing it for each one of us. And Pilate was amazed (Matthew 27:11-14).
This week, accompany Jesus through his passion. As you see how he interacts with the people along his way, ask him to show you the compassion in his heart for them but also for you. Stay close enough to see how this humble and suffering servant shows the love that will lead him all the way to the cross.
“Jesus, you are God’s perfect servant. Help me to stay close to you this whole week.”
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, though in our weakness we fail, we may be revived through the Passion of your Only Begotten Son.