D The Suffering Servant

One motif more than any other, if it could be attributed to Jesus, would enable us to give a positive answer to the question of this section (§17.5). Did Jesus also speak of the destined outcome of his mission in terms of the Servant of Yahweh in In particular, can we supplement the portrayal of Jesus influ enced by Daniel's vision with the portrayal of him influenced by the suffering Servant of Isaiah 53? Can we fairly deduce that Jesus saw his death as a vicarious suffering, a suffering on behalf of others? Strongly affirmative answers were characteristic of earlier generations of scholarship,219 but in the second half of

217. See further my 'Birth of a Metaphor' 114-16; also Theology ofPaul 451-52.

218. On the textual problems see Collins, Scepter 80-82.

219. In the twentieth century the case was argued afresh particularly by H. W. Wolff, Jesaja 53 im Urchristentum (Berlin: Evangelische, 21950); J. Jeremias, pais theou, TDNT 5.712-17 = with W. Zimmerli, The Servant of God (London: SCM, 1957, revised 1965) 99106; Cullmann, Christology 60-69; Caird, Theology 404-408. M. D. Hooker, Jesus and the Servant (London: SPCK, 1959) describes this as 'the traditional view'; the assumption was widespread that Jesus fused the Danielic Son of Man with the suffering Servant of Isaiah. The case has been strongly restated by Stuhlmacher, 'Messianische Gottesknecht' 144-50; also Biblische Theologie 1.124, 127-30. For further bibliography see Burkett, Son ofMan 47-48 nn. 9-12.

the twentieth century a more negative answer quickly became dominant over a wide spectrum of scholarship.220 The difficulty in returning an affirmative answer lies in the character of the evidence.

First the text of what modern scholarship knows as the fourth servant song of Second Isaiah — Isa 52.13-53.12.

5213See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. as there were many who were astonished at him — so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals — 5so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate. has be lieved what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8By a perversion ofjustice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. 9They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him with pain.

220. In English-speaking scholarship Hooker's Jesus and the Servant marked a turning of the tide (her research was completed in 1956); quickly supported by C. K. Barrett, 'The Background of Mark 10:45', in A. J. B. Higgins, ed., New Testament Essays: Studies in Memory of T. W, Manson (Manchester: Manchester University, 1959) 1-18 (Barrett had examined Hooker's thesis); also Jesus 39-45, but foreshadowed by C. F. D. 'From Defendant to

Judge — and Deliverer' (1952), The Phenomenon of the New Testament (London: SCM, 1967) 82-99. In German scholarship the influence ofTodt, Son ofMan 158-61, 167-69, 202-11, and Hahn, Hoheitstitel 54-66 (Titles 54-67), proved decisive for the following generation. Fuller represented the swing in opinion, from his earlier Mission 86-95, to Foundations 115-19; and de Jonge, despite the deliberate echo of T. W. title, pronounces himself still con vinced by Barrett and Hooker (Jesus, The Servant-Messiah 48-50).

When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. ^Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Its relevance at this point is obvious: it envisages one (Yahweh's servant) who would suffer and be held of no account (53.2-3), whose sufferings would be vicarious, on behalf of others (vv. 4-6), who would be killed (vv. 7-9), and whose vicarious suffering would be willed and accepted by God (vv. 10-12).221

There is little dispute that the passage became very influential in earliest Christian reflection on Jesus' death. But what evidence is there that Jesus himself was influenced by this passage?222

(1) Luke The tradition of Jesus' teaching contains only one direct quotation from Isaiah 53223 — in Luke a tradition attested solely by Luke:

said to them, 'When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?' They said, 'No, not a thing'. 36He said to them, 'But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. I you, this

How the Servant was intended to be understood remains disputed, the two chief options still being Israel or some particular individual. See discussion, e.g., in W. Zimmerli, pais theou, TDNT5.666-73; H. G. Reventlow, 'Basic Issues in the Interpretation of Isaiah 53', in W. H. Bellinger and W. R. Farmer, eds., Jesus and the Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 and Christian (Harrisburg: Trinity, 23-38. 'There is still no evidence for a Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53 in terms of a suffering messiah' (Collins, Scepter 123-26 [here 124]). M. Hengel, 'Zur wirkungsgeschichte von Jes 53 in vorchristlicher Zeit', in B. Janowski and P. Stuhlmacher, eds., Der leidende Gottesknecht. Jesaja 53 und seine Wirkungsgeschichte (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1996) 49-91, notes that 4Q491 and 4Q540-41 lack the motif of a representative death for sin (69-75, 88-90), but nevertheless concludes that the supposition is not altogether unfounded that 'there were already in pre-Christian time traditions of suffering and atoning eschatological-messianic figures in Palestinian Judaism' which Jesus could have known and been influenced by

222. Especially noticeable are the quotations in Matt. 8.17 (Isa. 53.4); Acts 8.32-33 (Isa. 53.7-8); and the multiple allusions in 1 Pet. 2.22-25 (Isa. 53.4, 6, 9, 12); Hooker now accepts that Rom. 4.25 contains a clear echo of Isaiah 53, but remains convinced that a negative answer has to be given to the question, 'Did the Use of Isaiah 53 to Interpret His Mission Begin with Jesus?' in Bellinger and Fanner, Jesus and the Suffering Servant 88-103.

223. John 12.38 (Isa. 53.1) and Matt. 8.17 (Isa. 53.4) are not presented as words of

Scripture must be fulfilled (telesthenai) in me. "And he was counted among the lawless" (Isa. 53.12); and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled echei)'. said. 'Lord. look. here are two swords'. He replied. 'It is enough'.

The quotation224 belongs to an obviously ancient context: the mysterious 'two swords' saying would probably be embarrassing in many circles (hence its absence from Mark and Matthew?); here we probably have another case where the criterion of embarrassment is decisive. But the quotation itself is framed by characteristic Lukan language.226 The verse does seem to disrupt the context. where v. 38 follows directly from v. And it with Luke's use elsewhere of the Servant motif as part of a 'humiliation-exaltation' motif (rather than in terms of vicarious suffering).228 So the question arises whether the quotation of Isa. 53.12 is part of the early proof-from-prophecy apologetic prominent elsewhere in the Passion narrative though why it should have been inserted here remains unclear. A tradition-historical analysis cannot trace it back to Jesus with any confidence.

(2) Mark 10.45. The fuller passage has already been cited in §14.3c; here we need recall only the final verse.

Matt. 20.28

Mark 10.45

Luke 22.27

28 Just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many.

45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

27 For who is greater, the one who reclines [at the table] or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines? But I am among you as one who serves.

224. So far as the text itself is concerned (kaimeta anomön elogisthe), a direct derivation from the Hebrew can certainly be argued for (we 'et-pos€'im nimnä) (Jeremias, Proclamation 294 n. 4), though the transmission was possibly influenced by knowledge of the LXX (kai en tois anomois elogisthe), where logizö is not the usual rendering of mana.

225. See also above, chapter 15 n. 40.

226. Nolland refers particularly to 'what is written' and 'must be fulfilled in me' (Luke 3.1076-77).

227. Lindars, New Testament Apologetic 85. Pace Jeremias: 'The reason given in v. 37 for this announcement — that, because Jesus will be driven out of the community of Israel as an so his disciples, too, will be treated as and refused food and their lives threatened — is indispensable to the whole context' (Servant 105; followed by Marshall, Luke 826). But the rationale of 22.37 is fulfilment/completion (telesthenai, telos); as an explanation of 22.36, 38 it is rather contrived with so much having to be read in and still leaving the intent of 22.36 unclear.

228. Fitzmyer, Luke 1432; see Acts 2.23-24; 3.14-15; 4.10; 5.30; 8.32-33; 10.39-40; 13.28-30; also below on Luke 22.27.

Jeremias claims that Mark's text shows strong influence from Isa. 53.10-11'.229

Mark 10.45

Isa. 53.10, 11

to give his life (dounai tenpsychen autou) a ransom for many

10 you make his life a sin offering shall make many righteous

The links are certainly striking, though somewhat diffuse; the allusion is not obvious and has to be worked at before it becomes clear.230 More significant from a tradition-historical perspective is the fact that Luke seems to know a different version of the teaching which climaxed in the saying, including a version of the conclusion which lacks any of the elements on which the allusion to Isa. 53 depends.231 John 13.3-17 was probably developed out of another version of the teaching, climaxing with similar teaching of Jesus on service.232 If it is appropriate to talk in terms of core tradition at this point,233 the core is the image of Jesus as one who serves/came to serve.234 It is quite likely, then, that the final clause of the Markan/Matthean version (assuming an allusion to the Isaianic Servant) is an elaboration, presumably at an early stage, of the core

229. Jeremias, Servant 99-100; Proclamation 292-93 n. 3.

230. The challenge of Hooker, Servant 74-79, and Barrett, 'Mark 10:45', in particular, was against the claim that linguistic connections could be demonstrated between Mark 10.45 and Isaiah 53; see now also Hampel, Menschensohn 317-25, and Casey, Aramaic Sources 21113 (particularly on lytron). The case for dependence on Isaiah 53 has been restated by Davies and Allison, Matthew 3.95-96, who conclude: 'We do not claim that Mt 20.28 par. is a translation of any portion of Isaiah 53, LXX, MT or targum. Rather, it is a summary which describes the 'ebed who gives his life as a sin offering for many' (96). Also by R. E. Watts, 'Jesus' Death, Isaiah 53, and Mark 10:45', in Bellinger and Farmer, Jesus and the Suffering Servant 125-51 (particularly 136-47).

231. It is less likely that Luke omitted Mark 10.45b for soteriological reasons; he does not avoid 'ransom' language elsewhere — Luke 1.68; 2.38; 24.21; Acts 7.35 (Fitzmyer, Luke 1212). More likely he knew the variant tradition and used/reworked it in preference to Mark 10.35-45. Cf. Gnilka, 'Wie urteilte Jesus?' 41-49; 'dying for' as 'the oldest interpretation of Jesus' death' (50).

232. Lindars, Jesus 11.

233. Pesch argues that Luke 22.27 is derived by redaction from Mark {Markusevangelium 2.164-65; followed by Hampel, Menschensohn 310-12), and Marshall suggests an original saying composed of two parts (Luke 22.27 + Mark 10.45) abbreviated by each Evangelist (Luke 813-14, followed by Kim, Son ofMan 43-45), but a variant oral tradition makes better sense of the data than does a process conceived in terms of literary editing; the choice to follow an alternative version is more readily conceivable than arbitrary abbreviation of a unified tradition.

234. This saying in itself would be sufficient basis for a central thrust of

Gottes Reich: 'as in life, so in death' (205-208), Jesus' 'pro-existence' death (e.g., 243-45).

tradition, in the light of the developing use of Isaiah 53, to illuminate the significance of Jesus' death.

A complementary solution has built on the striking linguistic parallels between Mark 10.45 and Isa. 43.3-4: '. . . I give Egypt as your ransom (kopt^ka), Ethiopia and Egypt in exchange for you (tahteka). ... I give men ('adam[ot] LXX anthröpouspollous) in return for you, and nations for your life'.236 But the thought behind the language is quite remote.237 A more plausible source for the ransom imagery can be found in Ps. 49.7-8:238 'Truly, no man can ransom himself or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of his life is costly and can never suffice', bearing in mind that Jesus may have alluded to the same passage elsewhere (Mark 8.37/Matt. 16.26).239 But the parallel equally explains why a teacher might have elaborated the servant motif by adding the allusion.

A further or alternative possibility is that the core saying was originally formulated with bar 'enasa: Mark/Matthew's bar 'enasa = Luke's T; and note the parallel between 'the one who serves' and T in Luke.240 Several have observed that the key term, 'serve' (differently rendered in Greek), appears in Daniel's vision of 'one like a son of man', who 'was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him' (Dan. 7.14). It is possible, then, that Jesus deliberately contrasted his role as bar who serves, with the lordship and authority given to the 'one like a son of man' = 'the saints of the Most High' in Daniel 7.241 In which case, Jesus would have drawn on Daniel's vision not only to confirm his role as bar 'enasa but also to contrast

235. Cf. Bultmann, History 144; Lohse, Märtyrer 117-22; Tödt, Son ofMan 203-207; Hahn, Hoheitstitel 57-59 (Titles 56-57); Lindars, Jesus 78-80; Pesch concludes that Mark 10.45 is a unified but secondary composition of the Greek-speaking Jewish Christian community (Markusevangelium2.162-64).

236. The parallel was first noted by W. Grimm, Die Verkündigung Jesu und Deutero-jesaja (Frankfurt, 21981) 239-68, and has proved influential (see Hampel, Menschensohn 32633 and those cited by him in n. 453; also Stuhlmacher, Biblische Theologie 1.121).

237. See further D. Vieweger and A. Böckler, "'Ich gebe Ägypten als Lösegeld fur dich". Mk 10,45 und die jüdische Tradition zu Jes 43,3b, 4', ZAW108 (1996) 594-607.

238. Hampel, Menschensohn 328-31.

240. It is widely acknowledged that 1 Tim 2.5-6 is an echo of Mark 10.45. It makes confession of 'the man (anthropos) Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom (antilytron) on behalf of many'. Perrin suggests an original I-saying 'transformed' into a Son of Man saying (Modern Pilgrimage 102), but that is much more arbitrary than presupposing a bar^nasa saying which could be taken either way.

241. Barrett, 'Mark 10:45' 8-9; and particularly P. Stuhlmacher, 'Vicariously Giving His Life for Many, Mark 10:45 (Matt. 20:28)', Reconciliation: Law and Righteousness: Essays in Biblical Theology (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986) 16-29 (here 21); followed by Kim, SonofMan 39-40.

it: Daniel focused on the theme of vindication; Jesus characterized the mission of bar 'enasa more as one of service.242

There is a clear danger that both sets of suggested allusions (Isaiah 53; Daniel 7) are more in the eye of the beholder than contrived or intended by the initial tradents. But at least the latter has the support of a more extensive motif, including other clear allusions, whereas the case for seeing here evidence that Jesus himself was influenced by Isaiah 53 is not much strengthened.

(3) Mark 14.24. Jeremias finds a further allusion to the suffering Servant in the words of institution at the last supper.243

Matt.26.28/Mark 14.24

Luke 22.20

1 Cor.

This is mv blood of the

This is the new covenant in

This cup is the new covenant in

covenant, which is poured out

mv blood which is poured out

mv blood.

on many.

for you.

Study Aid

Study Aid

This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To Getting A Scholarship And Financial Support For Your Studies.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment