by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.
Isaiah 53:2-6 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
This pivotal passage of scripture, Isaiah 52 and continuing into Isaiah 53, profiles a suffering servant whom the nation of Israel would not recognize. The spiritual leaders of Yeshua's (Jesus) day were blinded to the messianic passages which pointed to the messiah's role as a humble servant and bearer of sins.
Expecting a conquering king who would vanquish the Romans and set up a restored Davidic kingdom, they completely missed and ultimately rejected the lowly servant that God sent, an unpretentious carpenter's Son from a not-so-respectable town who was virtually unknown until He was about thirty. Yeshua of Nazareth did perfectly fulfill God's messianic qualifications even though He arrived in Jerusalem riding on a donkey and not a majestic horse. [Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:7] One wonders what might have happened if he had been recognized and received, since He did come proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand.
Since it was absolutely necessary that the Son of God would die for sins to restore the spiritual plight of the entire world which was separated from God, before He could restore the Kingdom to Israel, Yeshua came preaching repentance and righteousness. He drew large crowds, demonstrating His uniqueness among all of Israel's prophets by performing many amazing miracles and signs by the power of the Spirit, and delivering unprecedented, authoritative teaching which surpassed everything that had ever been heard before. Yet while His ministry was growing, so was His opposition, and His awareness that He was destined for suffering and death. This suffering also surpassed anything we can begin to imagine as the iniquity of the entire world was laid upon Him and He bore it willingly. Yeshua exemplified and revealed the profound connection between serving and suffering by becoming a suffering servant to all mankind. Later testifying that there was no greater love than that a man lay down his life for his friend, He made it clear that love, the deepest love, involves sacrifice.
We say that we want to be like Him. If so, we will be learning and practicing a lifestyle of sacrifice, not caring who sees or knows what we are going through for His sake, because we really just want to make Him happy, because we love Him and are infinitely grateful and full of admiration for Him. It's true for most of us that we naturally seek the spotlight, and are hungry for attention. But if we're truly honest we must admit that the praise of men is a hopelessly futile addiction that we need deliverance from. God's praise is the best praise, and His pleasure in us, the only really lasting kind.
Yeshua pleased His Father by suffering for us. We can afford a little discomfort to make Him happy. Don't you think?