Lent Devotions: Day 31
Read: Isaiah 53
The Righteous Servant
The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous. (v. 11)
“Am I a good person?” A high school friend asks me this question at least once a year. I wonder what my face looks like after she asks, because answering makes me so uncomfortable. I squirm in my seat and fidget as I think of what to say. What exactly is she looking for? Does she want to be justified, to know that the sum of her actions makes her a “righteous” person before God? And does she believe I am fit to provide an answer because I’m a seminary student?
A man asked Jesus, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus replied, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good” (Matthew 19:16,17). If Jesus wasn’t willing to comment on who and what is “good,” why should we?
Nothing we do or can do makes us “righteous” before God. And as for being good, well, the world is full of “good” people who do bad things and “bad” people who do good things. “Goodness” is irrelevant. The Father embraces us as righteous, not by our works, but because of the righteousness of the suffering servant, Jesus Christ.
The next time my high school friend asks, I hope I have the courage to say this to her. —Garret Szantner
Prayer: Lord God, we give thanks to you that we are not judged according to our effort, but by the plentiful righteousness of Jesus.