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To: All

From: Isaiah 50:4-9a

Third Song of the Servant of the Lord


[4] The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught; that I may
know how to sustain with a word him that is weary. Morning by morning he wa-
kens, he wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. [5] The Lord GOD
has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I turned not backward. [6]I gave
my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I hid
not my face from shame and spitting.

[7] For the LORD GOD helps me; therefore I have not been confounded; therefore
I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; [8] he
who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together.
Who is my adversary? Let him come near me. [9a] Behold, the Lord GOD helps
me; who will declare me guilty?

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Commentary:

50:4-9. The second song dealt with the servant’s mission (cf. 49:6); the third
song focuses on the servant himself. The term “servant” as such does not appear
here, and therefore some commentators read the passage as being a description
of a prophet and not part of the songs. Still, the context (cf. 50:10) does suggest
that the protagonist is the servant. The poem is neatly constructed in three stan-
zas, each beginning with the words, “The Lord God” (vv. 4, 5, 7), and it has a
conclusion containing that same wording (v. 9). The first stanza emphasizes the
servant’s docility to the word of God; that is, he is not depicted as a self-taught
teacher with original ideas, but as an obedient disciple. The second (vv. 5-6)
speaks of the suffering that that docility has brought him, without his uttering
a word of complaint. The third (vv. 7-8) shows how determined the servant is: if
he suffers in silence, it is not out of cowardice but because God helps him and
makes him stronger than his persecutors. The conclusion (v. 9) is like the verdict
of a trial: when all is said and done, the servant will stand tall, and all his ene-
mies will be struck down.

The evangelists saw the words of this song as finding fulfillment in Jesus —
especially what the song has to say about the suffering and silent fortitude of the
servant. The Gospel of John, for example, quotes Nicodemus’ acknowledgment
of Christ’s wisdom: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for
no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him” (Jn 3:21). But the
description of the servant’s sufferings was the part that most impressed the early
Christians; that part of the song was recalled when they meditated on the passion
of Jesus and how “they spat in his face; and struck him; and some slapped him”
(Mt 26:67) and later how the Roman soldiers “spat upon him, and took the reed
and struck him on the head” (Mt 27:30; cf. also Mk 15:19; Jn 19:3). St Paul refers
to v. 9 when applying to Christ Jesus the role of intercessor on behalf of the elect
in the suit pressed constantly against them by the enemies of the soul: “Who
shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” (Rom 8:33).

St Jerome sees the servant’s docility as a reference to Christ: “His self-discipline
and wisdom enabled him to communicate to us the knowledge of the Father. And
he was obedient onto death, death on the cross; he offered his body to the blows
they struck, his shoulders to the lash; and though he was wounded on the chest
and on his face, he did not try to turn away and escape their violence” (”Commen-
tarii In Isaiam”, 50, 4). This passage is used in the liturgy of Palm Sunday (along
with Psalm 22 and St Paul’s hymn in the Letter to the Philippians 2:6-11), before
the reading of our Lord’s passion.

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 04/11/2017 8:20:31 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Matthew 26:14-25

Judas Betrays Jesus


[14] Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief
priests [15] and said, “What will you give me if I deliver Him (Jesus) to you?”
And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. [16] And from that moment he sought
an opportunity to betray Him.

Preparations for the Last Supper


[17] Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus,
saying, “Where will You have us prepare for You to eat the Passover?” [18] He
said, “Go into the city to such a one, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My
time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.’” [19]
And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared for the
Passover.

[20] When it was evening, He sat at table with the twelve disciples; [21] and as
they were eating, He said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” [22]
And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to Him one after another, “Is it I,
Lord?” [23] He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with Me, will
betray Me. [24] The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him, but woe to that man
by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he
had not been born.” [25] Judas, who betrayed Him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He
said to him, “You have said so.”

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Commentary:

15. It is disconcerting and sobering to realize that Judas Iscariot actually went
as far as to sell the man whom he had believed to be the Messiah and who had
called him to be one of the Apostles. Thirty shekels or pieces of silver were the
price of a slave (cf. Exodus 21:32), the same value as Judas put on his Master.

17. This unleavened bread, azymes, took the form of loaves which had to be ea-
ten over a seven-day period, in commemoration of the unleavened bread which
the Israelites had to take with them in their hurry to leave Egypt (cf. Exodus
12:34). In Jesus’ time the Passover supper was celebrated on the first day of the
week of the Unleavened Bread.

18. Although the reference is to an unnamed person, probably our Lord gave the
person’s actual name. In any event, from what other evangelists tell us (Mark
14:13; Luke 22:10), Jesus gave the disciples enough information to enable them
to find the house.

22. Although the glorious events of Easter have yet to occur (which will teach
the Apostles much more about Jesus), their faith has been steadily fortified and
deepened in the course of Jesus’ public ministry (cf. John 2:11; 6:68-69) through
their contact with Him and the divine grace they have been given (cf. Matthew
16:17). At this point they are quite convinced that our Lord knows their internal
attitudes and how they are going to act: each asks in a concerned way whether
he will prove to be loyal in the time ahead.

24. Jesus is referring to the fact that He will give Himself up freely to suffering
and death. In so doing He would fulfill the Will of God, as proclaimed centuries
before (cf. Psalm 41:10; Isaiah 53:7). Although our Lord goes to His death volun-
tarily, this does not reduce the seriousness of Judas’ treachery.

25. This advance indication that Judas is the traitor is not noticed by the other
Apostles (cf. John 13:26-29).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


5 posted on 04/11/2017 8:21:03 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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