Harrell Beck

The Wisdom of Harrell Beck

The Suffering Servant


For many years of my life I detested the text of Isaiah 53.10: “It has pleased the Lord to bruise the servant.”  So, I decided to go to the Jerusalem Bible to see if the Catholics could help me out. They read it, "It has pleased the Lord to crush the servant!” But then I’ve lived long enough to discover that the only people who have really made any difference in my life are the people whom God has taken and sand-papered the cockles of their hearts – until they could not walk by a hungry child, a crying woman, or a hardened man [without responding]. It has pleased the Lord to bruise the servant.  And I thank God for what is in many ways the ultimate maturity of the spiritual life: it‘s no accident that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah and the “Song of the Suffering Servant” is more quoted in the New Testament than any other single chapter of the Old – and is half the text of Handel’s Messiah.

-- The Heart of Biblical Faith, May 1986

(photo credit: WGBH Boston)