828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Christian Formation for Sunday March 24 - Isaiah 50:4-9a; The Servant's Humiliation and Vindication

March 24, 2013 –Palm Sunday
Isaiah 50:4-9a
The Servant’s Humiliation and Vindication
Background: This portion of the prophet Isaiah falls within what is commonly known as Second Isaiah. Second Isaiah was most likely composed immediately before the fall of Babylon to Cyrus of Persia. Isaiah serves as a reminder that God will remember God’s people and will deliver them from their oppressors in God’s time. This passage is often referred to as the Third Servant Song – often interpreted as presaging Christ’s final week leading to his crucifixion.
Theme: An overarching theme in Second Isaiah is the significance of historical events in God’s plan – one that extends from creation to redemption. In this passage, there are markers of the assurance of God’s continued providence on those who remain faithful to God, even under duress.
Questions to Ponder:
* Please read Isaiah 50:1-9. Briefly describe the setting for this passage.
* Considering this portion of text is often referred to as the “Third Servant Song” who do you think the servant was? Do you think the servant in the passage was speaking about themselves or some idealized person?
* Some translations present the phrase “…the tongue as those who are taught…” in place of “…the tongue of a teacher…” in verse 4a. How might the one taught by God in the first translation differ from the latter translation?
* How might the prophet be one who sustained Israel in the midst of their trials and tribulations while in exile in Babylon? Especially considering the prophet did not always present a “loving” message rather the prophet spoke words of judgment.
* Some argue verse 5 relates the message of the lone prophet who, unlike Israel as a whole, did not turn back from God’s teaching. How do you interpret this passage and how effective would words of woe be conveyed to someone when the prophet claims to be “the only one who did not sin”?
* In the past, verse 6 could be viewed as support for pacifism and even against self-defense. Do you think the intent of the prophet was to convey that the person who graciously and passively accepted abuse (often unwarranted) was truly blessed? If not, what do you think the prophet was trying to say with this statement?
* In verse 7b, the translator chose the phrase “I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” In other translations the verse appears as “I refuse to give up, because I know God will never let me down (CEV)” or “I am steadfastly resolved; I know I will not be put to shame. (NET)” Which translation do you think conveys the message of God’s continued providence in times of trial?
* What do you think the prophet is trying to convey or imply in verse 8? How might the prophet be putting their stake in God’s justice through this verse? How might the prophet be attempting to spur others on to follow God faithfully in times of trial?
* What assurance do you think the prophet gives stemming from their belief that “it is the Lord God who helps me”?
* What is the message and application we can take from this passage in our life and ministry?

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