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December 9 – The servant offering himself to the smiters and spitters

“I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.” – Isaiah 50:6

Scripture reading: Isaiah 50:1-11

In the third servant song, which is found in Isaiah chapter 50, the Servant of Jehovah speaks of the fury of His enemies and the spite directed towards Him. In Isaiah 50:6 the Servant of the LORD predicts that He would offer His back to smiters and His face to spitters.

In this prophecy, the Saviour predicts that He would willingly present His back to strikers. He would not be compelled. He would willingly offer His back. During His ministry, Jesus emphasized His willing sacrifice: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18a). It is the voluntary nature of Jesus’ passive obedience that makes His redemptive work so meritorious and precious. He freely and willingly suffered pain and shame in our place.

Jesus willingly gave His back to the Roman soldiers so that they could whip Him. The good news is that “with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5b).

It is remarkable that wicked men dared to spit in the face of the Son of God. In the New World, it will take faith to believe that rebellious creatures ever dared to profane the face of such a glorious king with spittle. At His Jewish trials, “some began to spit on him” (Mark 14:65). Jesus offered His face to the Roman soldiers: “And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him” (Mark 15:19). They were able to spit at Him because Jesus gave His face to the spitters.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you would be willing to suffer shame for the name of Jesus. Pray that you would celebrate Christ as your substitute.

Rev. Nathan Brummel is Professor of Systematic Theology and New Testament at Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary, and an associate pastor at Immanuel United Reformed Church in DeMotte, Indiana. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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