|Ghent Altarpiece (center panel) - Jan van Eyck|
Songs of the Suffering Servant. The fourth song proclaims the salvific value of the Servant’s innocent suffering that will justify many and blot out their offenses.
Isaiah 52:13-53:12: See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. Even as many were amazed at him— so marred were his features, beyond that of mortals his appearance, beyond that of human beings— So shall he startle many nations, kings shall stand speechless; For those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it. Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the L been revealed? He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; He had no majestic bearing to catch our eye, no beauty to draw us to him. He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, knowing pain, Like one from whom you turn your face, spurned, and we held him in no esteem. Yet it was our pain that he bore, our sufferings he endured. We thought of him as stricken, struck down by God and afflicted, But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, all following our own way; But the L laid upon him the guilt of us all. Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth. Seized and condemned, he was taken away. Who would have thought any more of his destiny? For he was cut off from the land of the living, struck for the sins of his people. He was given a grave among the wicked, a burial place with evildoers, Though he had done no wrong, nor was deceit found in his mouth. But it was the L’s will to crush him with pain. By making his life as a reparation offering, he shall see his offspring, shall lengthen his days, and the L’s will shall be accomplished through him. Because of his anguish he shall see the light; because of his knowledge he shall be content; My servant, the just one, shall justify the many, their iniquity he shall bear. Therefore, I will give him his portion among the many, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, Because he surrendered himself to death, was counted among the transgressors, Bore the sins of many, and interceded for the transgressors.