Monday, April 20, 2009

Christ, the Suffering Servant - Isaiah 53

"Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately fomr or majesty
that we should look upon Him,
nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men.
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and like one from whom men hide their face,
He was despised and we did not esteem Him."
(vs 1-3)

It is impossible to pick and choose a few verses to meditate on from this chapter. Isaiah 53 is one of the most beautiful, glorious, and heart stirring passages in all of the Old Testament to me. This passage shows my Savior - His person, His works, His heart, His humility, His patience, His sacrifice on my behalf.

Chapter 52 ended with the reception Christ would receive from the Gentile world. He would be exalted and many nations would be sprinkled by the blood of His grace. Chapter 53 begins with the stubborn unbelief of the Jewish nation regarding this same Christ -the very Messiah the prophets had foretold for generations.

"Who has believed our message?" Sadly very few of them. Christ did not meet their expectations and therefore they heaped great contempt and condemnation upon Him. "This can't be the Messiah - look at Him!!" He came from a humble home. His earthly father was a mere carpenter. His birth had been the lowliest of the low. Jesus came up from "parched ground" and surely the Messiah would come forth from the most fertile of soil!

There was nothing in His physical appearance that set him apart from other men. Saul was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. David was ruddy and handsome in appearance. The Lord Jesus Christ had "no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him." He was not homely, per se - He was simply normal. Matthew Henry puts it this way,

"It was expected that He should have some uncommon beauty in His face and person, which should charm the eye, attract the heart, and raise the expectations of all that saw Him. But there was nothing of this kind in Him; not that He was deformed or misshapen, but he had no form nor comeliness, nothing extraordinary, which one might have thought to meet in an incarnate deity."
There was nothing particularly pleasant in His life that would make men flock to Him. He was not the class clown nor mister happy go lucky. No, Christ was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." Again I will turn to Mr. Henry's words.

"It was expected that He should live a pleasant life, which would have invited all sorts to Him; but, on the contrary, He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. His condition was, upon many accounts, sorrowful. He was unsettled, had no where to lay His head, lived upon alms, was opposed and menaced, and endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself. His spirit was tender, and He admitted the impressions of sorrow. Grief was His intimate acquaintance; for He acquainted Himself with the griefs of others, and sympathized with them."
Men "hid their faces" from Him. They still do. "He was despised." How often He still is. "And we did not esteem Him." Regularly we don't!

For the Jews of this day there was no beauty to be found in Him. What beauty is there in poverty, normality, and sorrow? They couldn't see His beauty, for the ultimate beauty of Christ is found in the beauty of His holiness and it takes spiritual eyes to catch a glimpse at that glorious sight.

Lord Jesus, would you rend the veil that so often covers our eyes and allow us to see You in the glory and majesty that Your Word reveals. The very fact that the King of kings and the LORD of hosts willingly came into this fallen world and took upon Himself poverty, sorrow and shame that we might be relieved of their burden is a portrait of the most beautiful design!

Gazing upon the beauty of His humiliation,

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