This passage is very carefully selected, if you stray even one verse this way or that, even to 9b, you will find blistering judgement.
Although we clearly associate this passage with Jesus’ passion (especially Matthew 26: 67) there is no direct reference to this passage in the New Testament. The gospel writers did not quote it in their telling of the passion. I wonder whether that was on purpose. I wonder whether for the writers of the New Testament the judgement of this passage is inherent and cannot just be selected out. The “flint face” from v. 7 is possible because there will be no shame as there will be vindication. The adversaries and those who have declared guilt will not have the last word. They will be judged for what they have done. Do we associate that also with the passion? What might that mean for the Roman soldiers; what might that mean for us?
The “I” in this passage is introduced as a “disciple” (v.4, one who is taught – limmud) rather than as a “teacher”. A disciple who both speaks encouragement and who listens (I wonder what he hears). A disciple who crucially does not turn away (sug) even when the going gets very tough. I wonder whether we might in this passion tide not only recognise Jesus in the disciple but also ourselves.
9 April 2017
Isaiah 50: 4-9a