Stricken and afflicted
Written by Communications Team


Isaiah 53:4-7

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.


Have you ever listened to Handel’s Messiah in its entirety (i.e., beyond the famous Hallelujah Chorus)? If you download a copy of the words (the libretto) to follow along with as you listen, you will see that it is composed entirely of scriptural verses pointing us towards the Messiah, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Handel’s musical interpretation of verses 4-5 from today’s reading in Isaiah stresses the gravity of Christ’s physical and spiritual suffering for our sins. The music also lifts up the immense gratitude we should feel as we reflect on how he freely endured punishment to bring us peace and bore wounds to give us healing. Then the music for verse 6 accurately depicts our sheep-like tendency to go astray, ultimately leaving God to pile our sins on His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

Listening to Messiah helps me deal with my own sheep-like tendencies by lifting my eyes up to Jesus, who is not only the Sacrificial Lamb, but also the great Shepherd of the sheep (Hebrews 13:20). What music can you listen to this Advent season to help keep your eyes on Jesus?


God of Peace, Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us a Great Shepherd in Jesus Christ. Please forgive us for so often going astray, and help us to love and follow your Son more each and every day. In the name of Jesus, Amen.


Hebrews 13:20-21

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Listen & Worship

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Carl Larsson