Isaiah’s verses 10-12 of Chapter 53 seem to speak to the suffering of mankind, and during no other time than Lent are we reminded, through austerity, of this side of life. “My righteous servant will justify many” (V. 11) tells us that the suffering is not in vain but rather followed by the "light of life”. But at a deeper level these verses are referring to the Messiah, for it is he who truly suffered and “bore the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors” (V. 10).
Of course, these verses of Isaiah are in the language of the time, when animals were offered as sacrifices for the sins of many. To “become justified” in the case of a population of believers is for their beliefs and works to finally be recognized as right, globally.
These verses impressed me with the range interpretations characteristic of much biblical verse. My reading the verses while preparing income tax preliminaries was “on the surface” or superficial, and might interpret the Isaiah verses as a story of an individual persecuted for unknown reasons long, long ago. I realize that a chance for true understanding is in the spirit of worship and community at St Michael’s, where the material below the surface emerges, as it did for me upon re-reading.
Other Isaiah verses that have affected me include 55:1, “Come to the waters, and he that hath no money”. A beautiful wood engraving of the Boston Common Frog Pond by Rudolf Ruzicka depicts children bathing in the summertime and includes this verse from Isaiah, in Latin.