Isaiah 53:1-3 NIV1
Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2He grew up before him like a tender shoot,and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
This passage from the prophet Isaiah is very precious to every daughter or son of the Kingdom of God. Isaiah is very clear about who he is talking about and lays these words down as a marker for God’s people who are to come.
Isaiah speaking Gods words asks a question. Who believes the Word of God, and to which people is the strength of the Lord revealed? The answer of course is no one. No human has any interest in the way of God or in any manifestation of His love and power. We cannot take it in without the same power of God working in our minds and hearts.
The phrase “arm of the Lord”is used throughout scripture to represent the might and powerful strength of God, which He exercises according to His sovereign will and purpose. Although we are sinful creatures and have no interest, God will reveal that power in all its night to the sons and daughters of the people in this fallen world. They will all see it, but not all will respond in faith and devotion. This power is shown to those who will believe and recognise their God and Saviour.
Jesus name is not used here. “He”is the Saviour, the rejected one, who will redeem His people. He is the humble and obedient Son. Jesus the eternal Son of God is the fresh and green plant that grows up before God, in this desert world. He is the new vine, the only living thing in the wilderness scene. Jesus is the one who can give new life and the growth of His vine will fill the whole earth. This fresh growth of the Kingdom of God is a root in a dry ground. This root will grow and take hold and bear fruit for eternity.
Jesus was born in the meanness of a cattle trough. He grew up in Nazareth.. “ can anything good come out of Nazareth.?” John 1:46. Jesus is the unsuspected Saviour.
There is nothing in His physical appearance that would attract us. There is nothing in His action or demeanour that would cause us to suspect any beauty or majesty, never mind deity. As we look at Him, we look away, because He is not appealing to our earthly tastes. In fact, we despise Him. He is nothing like our idea of God. The way He conducts Himself is not the way we think of as “holy.”
This Saviour gives continually. He helps all who come to Him. He exhausts Himself for the poor and undeserving people. He doesn’t lift Himself up, put Himself forward, and detach Himself from ordinary people so that He is perceived as “great.” We cannot understand the humble King, the humble God!
He lives among us a perfect and holy life and we cannot appreciate it in any way. He challenges our view of ourselves and what a holy life is like. It causes us feelings of guilt and inadequacy. We don’t like this. We don’t like Him. The emotional and mental suffering of the Lord Jesus, as He walked this earth must have been acute. To suffer the slights of the people He was to die for, must have been very painful. To suffer the ignorant judgment of the very creatures He made, must have been humiliating. Listening to the slights and complaints in the minds He could read, would turn Him to prayer. Prayer was His only comfort.
Even those who claimed to love and follow Him, eventually left Him alone. He was despised by those He taught, loved, healed, resurrected and they considered Him a castaway.
And yet He took it all and still loved and never wavered from His task. Though He was surrounded by negative and blatant evil, He continued in the way of the cross and bore away the sin of those who believe. He is the ever loving Lord. How unlike the big people who are lifted up today in the “Christian” media. He did not seek His own glory, but avoided any trappings of recognition that would divert His attention from the work He had to do. The pictures we have of His glory are veiled and for those with eyes to see who He is. It certainly wasn’t through looking at Him, what He wore, or any human credentials.
If we are to be like this man – this model of how to be, we must renounce all earthly credentials, put off the filthy garb of importance, and see Him. We will not be popular. We will labour looking only to Him, and that’s how it is supposed to be. If our Saviour Jesus was not esteemed, why should you or I be? We are too worldly minded and think the trappings of worldly ways will expand our work for God. Many are jumping on this bandwagon and forget the way of Christ.
We think we see the “arm of the Lord”being revealed. We seem to get “results.” We measure these results according to earthly manifestations of success. But maybe we need to return to these Old Testament prophets and see the beauty of the Lord, as He shows Himself, not as the pomp of this wicked world parades its chosen “gods”
Attraction to the real Jesus, the humble God and Creator of the ends of the earth, will lead us in quite a different way than the gaudy ways of this world. Maybe the measure is that if people are lauding you, you might not be on the right track… if you find it difficult to get people to “help” in what you are doing for Christ, you are probably spot-on!
“Despised”we may be despised and even rejected, but it’s not forever, and it’s only people in this world. Humility and obedience will win the day, and glory comes in the everlasting kingdom and straight from the humble Lord. He will be lifted up on that great day and also all those who love His appearing.