1Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isa 53:1-3)
He was despised and rejected by men. It’s hard to believe that something so valuable could go unesteemed. It’s bewildering to see preciousness rejected.
One morning many years ago I was cleaning my cutting board after making biscuits. I scraped all the bits of flour and dough into the trash. One bit of flour was stuck to the inside of my hand. Without looking, I pressed harder and rolled my thumb against the hardened flour in attempts to pry it off.
It wouldn’t budge.
I looked at my hand in hurried frustration. Why couldn’t I throw this bit of dough away? A good look revealed that it wasn’t dough at all.
My wedding ring had twisted around to face the palm of my hand, and I was feeling the diamonds. I was trying to throw my beloved diamond in the trash as if it were just scraps of unwanted biscuit dough.
How many times have I done similarly in my life? How many times have I taken the precious and overlooked it? Rejected it? Or even despised it? How many times has the beautiful, the sacred, the holy, gone unnoticed or unesteemed?
Or, how many times has God given me a gift but I missed it because I was looking for something wrapped in a different package?
I can’t understand how our Savior would come to earth in such a humbled state. It’s hard to wrap my human mind around it. Why didn’t our powerful God come as Mighty King and demand the respect, honor, and adoration He deserved. (Answer: Because He doesn’t force, He offers.)
But he didn’t. He came quietly, demanding nothing. He came like a “young plant”, growing up before the Lord. Tiny, frail, and fragile.
My mind is completely befuddled by this.
My heart breaks for my precious Savior that came from Heaven to rescue His lost sheep and instead of being greeted with open arms was met with angry fists, hammer, and nails.
Our Valued Savior was “despised and rejected by men.” The Beautiful One went undesired.
Truly, I have few words.
Reading from these first few verses in Isaiah make me turn inward and upward. They make me focus on the Savior, Jesus, who came in the form of a servant. And I look into my own heart to make sure I have no traces of rejection… that I’m esteeming Christ as He deserves to be esteemed. That I place value on the gifts, mercy, forgiveness, and hope He gives so freely as an expression of His character and love. (After all, if I don’t esteem them, I’m not truly esteeming Him.)
Though these verses are heavy and sad, we can take heart because, as Believers, we know that things didn’t end sorrowfully. We know the miracle, power, and joy of a Risen Savior! (Luke 24:5-6)
Lord, help me to focus on You. Help my heart respond to your coming in adoration and praise. Let me rejoice in you, Living Savior! Revive my soul in any areas that have become deadened to the mystery and miracle of the Easter story— the story in the Bible, and the story of resurrection in my own life. You’ve raised this sinner to walk in newness of life. Help me never take that for granted, but to look at that miracle with childlike wonder, appreciation, and gratitude. Amen.
For more study and reflection:
- Read Isa 53:1-3. What specifically does Isaiah prophesy in these verses about Jesus? Using a cross-reference Bible, can you find their fulfillment in the Gospels?
- Read Isa 53:1-3. Are there any areas of your life where you need to pray, “Lord, help me esteem you better in this?”
- Read Luke 22:63-65. What specific things did the men do to Jesus? Read Luke 23:34. Thank God for His forgiveness and love! Ask Him to show you any areas in your life where you need His forgiveness and renewal.