Lessons from Isaiah 53 v 3

3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

I love the way John Gill puts this:

The Vulgate Latin version renders it, “the last of men”, the most abject and contemptible of mankind; despised, because of the meanness of his birth, and parentage, and education, and of his outward appearance in public life; because of his apostles and audience; because of his doctrines, not agreeably to carnal reason, and his works, some of them being done on the sabbath day, and, as they maliciously suggested, by the help of Satan; and especially because of his ignominious sufferings and death.

It is quite amazing that Jesus, the son of the living God would become know as the most abject and contemptible of mankind. Jesus came to a nation that rejected him, a human race that rejected him and finally His father rejected him. In death, Jesus was hated, and apart from his disciples and followers, many see him as a fake. But we know that He is the risen Lord, full of the power that raised people from the dead. Gill continues:

He was known by his troubles, notorious for them; these were his constant companions, his familiar acquaintance, with whom he was always conversant; his life was one continued series of sorrow, from the cradle to the cross; in his infancy his life was sought for by Herod, and he was obliged to be taken by his parents, and flee into Egypt; he ate his bread in sorrow, and with the sweat of his brow; he met with much sorrow from the hardness and unbelief of men’s hearts, and from the contradiction of sinners against himself, and even much from the frowardness of his own disciples; much from the temptations of Satan, and more from the wrath and justice of God, as the surety of his people; he was exceeding sorrowful in the garden, when his sweat was as it were great drops of blood; and when on the cross, under the hidings of his Father’s face, under a sense of divine displeasure for the sins of his people, and enduring the pains and agonies of a shameful and an accursed death; he was made up of sorrows, and grief was familiar to him.

Then he ends his commentary on this verse as follows:

he was despised, and we esteemed him not;
which is repeated to show the great contempt cast upon him, and the disesteem he was had in by all sorts of persons; professors and profane, high and low, rich poor, rulers and common people, priests, Scribes, and Pharisees; no set or order of men had any value for him; and all this disgrace and dishonour he was to undergo, to repair the loss of honour the Lord sustained by the sin of man, whose surety Christ became.

We do not often see Christ in this way. We usually think of him as the Messiah, triumphant and entering to the cheering crowds, as a master of the universe, blessing food and feeding thousands, turning water into wine and doing a host of miracles. This same Jesus was despised, and continues to be despised. The word says that when we side with Him, we too will be despised by the world. We will endure persecution – there is no avoiding it. Perhaps persecution is a sign that God is with us and in us. For if there is never any persecution in our lives for the sake of Christ, we must be diluting the message of the gospel in our lives. We do not expect to walk in total and constant persecution, but a complete lack of it, should ring some warning bells.

So how persecuted are you?

Jesus the Messiah is born

Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. The first thing we see is that Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem at the time of the census. God was seeing the fulfilment of His word. But as always God works through events and people. The reason for traveling to Bethlehem was for the census. So God takes advantage of human decisions and events to interweave his plans for us into our choices.

Matthew 2: 1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Even as his mother was in labour, the word got out that the Messiah was about to be born. The magi knew it, Herod knew it. All of history pointed to this moment. This was the very moment that heaven and earth intersected. Jesus who was and is God, came and lived on earth as a man among men.This was the game changer. Ever since the fall of Adam, this was the only solution to solve the eternal and ongoing problem of man’s sin, and inability to live according to the law.

Jesus solicited worship before he was even a day old. And worship came from the source of the wisest amongst men.

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The wise men gave gifts and bowed down to Jesus. We should love him and worship him and bring him the gift of our affection and devotion.