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By: Larry Shaffer
Despised and Forsaken!
Isaiah 53, Post 7
The last post, we considered Jesus’ origins; his childhood and youth. The servant of God was under the close eye of His Father in heaven, but no one else noticed Him. Humble beginnings with a shade of blue collar, working with his hands and building things alongside his father, the carpenter. Just as Moses put a veil over his face to dim the brightness of the Glory of God on his face, the radiant Deity of Jesus was hidden by a human body of flesh, blood and bone. He had no form, no appearance and no persona of greatness. There was no indication that He would ever amount to much beyond a good man in his home town of Nazareth.
Everything changed when he turned 30. John the Baptist was causing quite a stir out in the desert region, near the Jordan river. Isaiah prophesied about John in 40:3ff, A voice is calling, clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God…then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Jesus approaches John the Baptist out of His obscurity in the desert and the initiation of Jesus’ life of public ministry began. Originally, John did not recognize Jesus as God’s chosen One. Interesting in that Jesus and John the Baptist were related through their mothers, Elizabeth and Mary. Once again, this indicates there was nothing about Jesus that radiated Who He really was. But when Jesus approached John in the wilderness, the Spirit of God confirmed to John that Jesus was the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John may have been more surprised than anyone that Jesus, his kin, was the Anointed of God.
I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ I myself have seen, and have testified that his is the Son of God. John 1:33, 34.
John told a few of his followers to begin following Jesus. Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathaniel began to follow Jesus. So, quietly and ever so humbly, Jesus begins His 3 years of public ministry that leads to, in God’s perfect timing, the death, burial and resurrection of the servant Messiah and King, Jesus.
This is where we pick up in Isaiah 53.3. After 53:1,2, speak of his obscure youth, verses 3 and following pick up Jesus’ life from age 30 to the end of his life at age 33. Please recall that the words spoken here in this section of Isaiah 53, about the earthly adult life of Jesus, were spoken by the Jewish people as a nation at the time of the Second Coming looking back at Jesus’ life on earth. This is a devastating and mournful description of Jesus spoken by people “that should’ve known better” but instead were utterly ignorant and wicked.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrow and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised and we did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. Isaiah 53.3-6
The gravity of these words is staggering. They are heart-wrenching words of the life of a slave of God whose existence was solely for service without the typical joys of life and earthly pleasures and achievements that most of us are familiar with. Also, these are mournful words spoken by a people who missed all the signs and prophecies of the suffering Messiah. They were so stubbornly focused on their want of a Messiah king who would subdue the Romans and reward them with reigning thrones in the new kingdom. While Jesus was on the earth, the Jewish leaders felt their righteous behavior awarded them nobility when in fact, their self-righteous was putrid to God. What fools they were. And now, at the Second Coming, it has all become so clear to them.
Father, I pray that my readers do not miss the significance of what Jesus sacrificed for us. It’s easy to go through each day living in our own world without much thought for You, our Savior. We recommit today to walk with You and be diligent to acknowledge you in all things, whether good or seemingly bad. For we know that you are with us always, working out all things for our good. Amen.