The first question might work well for getting us to think about our week and our direction towards Good Friday. The next few questions are perhaps a little more challenging. They may not have easy and clear answers. They are not meant to come up with clear answers, but to help us ask different questions of what is counter-cultural about the Christian view of suffering.
Read the passage with your family – what parts of this passage stick out to you. What parts strike you as part of the gospel story?
Jesus felt what it was like to be alone and to feel physical pain. Jesus would have read the Psalm and engaged with lament. Have we sufficiently submersed ourselves in lament? Do we turn to lament in helping ourselves grieve the suffering of the world around us or the suffering we find within ourselves?
In Walter Brueggemann’s prayer for Lent, he has the lines:
We ask that you create the spaces in our life where we may ponder his suffering And your summons for us to suffer with him, Suspecting that suffering is the only way to come to newness.
Do you agree or disagree with this idea – that suffering is in fact a way into newness by God’s power?
Barbara Brown Taylor describes the passage this way: In the end, it does not matter whether we can name the person Isaiah paints for us, because the portrait already has a name. “God’s servant” it says, and that is enough. Whether the words are capitalized or not, they speak to all of us who are God’s servants in this world. Whether we like it or not, every one of us is a full-fledged deputy of God’s kingdom. Some of us are better at it than others and some of us do more harm than good, but none of us is excused. What is Barbra Brown Taylor implying about what it means to be a follower of Jesus?Do you agree?
The ultimate work of the suffering servant is healed relationship with God – explore what this looks like. The work of the suffering servant are finished, yet its effects are ongoing. How do we experience this?