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The Servant of The Lord: The Last Servant Song of Isaiah
In the Primitive Church: Jesus seen as Servant
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect... because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
In the Byzantine Liturgy
At the moment of the preparation of the offerings (prothesis or proskomide) the priest cuts the right side of the prosphora (the little bread which has portions cut into it) which will be the Lamb (the main portion in the form of a cuhe representing the Lamb of God, Christ immolated in sacrifice) in quoting Isaiah 53:7a:
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter.
The priest then cuts the left side of the prosphora, using the words of Isaiah 53:76:
like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.
A. Chouraqui: L'Univers de la Bible, Lidis, Paris, vol. IV.
In Jewish Tradition
This beautiful poem has been constantly interpreted by Jewish theologians, and especially by Yehuda Halevi,as giving the key to the crucified destiny of Israel, suffering servant of the Lord, he who bears the sins of the world, both bearer and victim of the crimes of the nations. In this way the chosen people hasten universal salvation which is the ultimate threshold towards which the history of the world is tending.
A. Chouraqui: op. cit.
From the Zohar
The children of the world are members one of another. When the Holy One desires to give healing to the world, he smites one just man amongst them, and for his sake heals all the test. Whence do we learn this? From the saying, "He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities," i.e. by the letting of his blood — as when a man bleeds his arm — there was healing for us — for all the members of the body. In general a just person is only smitten in order to procure healing and atonement for a whole generation: and this is the mystery of the saying, "There is a just man and it goes ill with him, (a wicked man and it goes well with him.)
At the time when the Holy One desires to atone for the sins of the world, like a physician who to save the other limbs, bleeds the arm, he smites their arm and heals their whole person: as it is written, "He was wounded for our iniquities."
Harry Orlinsky, ed.: The fifty-Third Chapter of Isaiah according to Jewish Interpreters, Ktav, New York, 1969.