The Man Of Sorrows (part one)
Isaiah 53 is, without a doubt, one of the most elaborate and detailed accounts of Christ’s suffering in the entire Old Testament. A study of the text is highly beneficial to people of all ages because it brings to light some gruesome, accurate, and ultimately powerful lessons from the attitude that our Lord Jesus Christ had toward His death – before, during, and after!
“Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (53:1). This is more of an exclamation than a question, demanding no answer but recollection. “Isaiah 53 is still in the predictive present tense. It is as if the Servant has come, been rejected, slaughtered and the people of Israel are looking at it all in retrospect! The overall reaction of the nation to Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah was scoffing, mockery, rejection and persecution… The nation, as a whole, could not believe that Jehovah was at work revealing His “arm” in the itinerant Galilean carpenter’s son” (Bible Study Textbook – Isaiah Vol. III, Paul Butler, p. 256).Has the message been believed today?
“He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him” (53:2). This prophecy clearly states that Messiah would not be a distinctly attractive person according to the standards of His contemporaries. It is not to say that Jesus was ugly, but only that He looked average. Often, we encounter glorified images of Jesus in the media, from pictures in our Bibles, or in religious art work displayed at museums or church buildings. But to portray Jesus as anything more than an average-looking, lower-class Jew is far from the truth.
“He has no stately form that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him” (53:2). Why is this significant? What makes Messiah’s mediocre physical attributes so significant that the prophet was inspired to say these things? It is because God wants us to be attracted to Jesus by His teaching, and not His face. We are to be enthralled by the facets of his doctrine, and most especially His saving grace, not His strong features. In this sense, Christianity itself is a reflection of Jesus – we should not be attracted to a certain church because it has a more handsome building, or because it offers physical rewards for membership, or because it is attractive by the standards of the world.
The Gospel is a simple message (2 Corinthians 11:3), presented by simple men, producing a simple church (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). So it is only fitting that at the head of all this would be a simple Savior (Philippians 2:7).