Reasons For Rejecting Him

Isaiah 53:1-3

The Golden Passional of the Old Testament - Reasons For Rejecting Him

What rapid changes we have in this Passional. In former studies we saw a group of horrified spectators, then another large group of nations and kings speechless with wonderment and astonishment. Now our attention is directed to a further group-the godly remnant confessing their astonishment at the unbelief of the chosen people. In this second stanza we have reasons for rejecting Him:

1. Unbelief (Isa 53:1).

2. Lowly origin and mysterious growth (Isa 53:2).

3. Lack of beauty (Isa 53:2).

4. Despised.

5. Treated as a leper.

Has it ever occurred to you how abruptly this wonderful chapter opens? It is as if the thought of the rejection of the message overcame the prophet: "Who hath believed our report?" This challenging question is twice quoted in the New Testament Scriptures- Joh 12:38, as an explanation why all did not believe in the days of His flesh prior to Calvary; Rom 10:16, as an explanation why all the Jewish nation had not believed the Gospel preached by the Apostles and disciples. To whom, in the first instance, is this question presented? Here the person is not mentioned, but by the two quotations we see it was the Lord. It is good to take all failures to Him. It is well if the Lord's servants to-day would now and again apply this question to themselves. The great object of our ministry, either by speech or pen, is to get a verdict for Christ. We have a report to give. Are there any reasons in us why it is not believed? Is it simply what we have heard? "Who have believed that which we have heard" (R.V., margin). Of course, it is right and proper that we should pass on what we have heard or read, but only when it has become part and parcel of ourselves. We must firmly believe it ourselves. And further, we must exemplify and illustrate it ourselves.

I. THE ARM OF THE LORD. This is one of Isaiah's favourite expressions. What is meant by this term? God is pure Spirit, and therefore "without body, parts, or passions." It is a figure of speech. The arm is that by which we execute a purpose. It is used in Scripture as an emblem of power. It is a natural symbol of the active energy of Jehovah. The reference to the arm made bare is an Eastern figure, as a warrior would throw back his loose robes when he would strike, or as the workman would pull up or tie his loose flowing sleeves in order to do his work. As we carefully ponder the references to the arm of the Lord, we seem to note here and there hints respecting the personification of the arm. Two Persons in the blessed Trinity form the Executive-the Lord Jesus is, as it were, the outstretched Arm of Jehovah, and certainly the Holy Spirit is also.

1. Where Seen. The Arm of the Lord is seen in:

a. Creation (Jer 27:5; Jer 32:17).

b. Redemption (Exo 6:6; Psalm 77:15). Creation is spoken of as the work of His fingers (Psalm 8:3), but redemption required His arm, i.e., more difficult to redeem than to create.

c. Salvation (Isa 59:16).

d. Providence (Isa 51:5).

e. Eternal Preservation (Isa 40:11).

2. Its Character. The Arm of the Lord is:

a. Almighty in strength and might.

b. Guided by unerring wisdom.

c. Controlled by unfailing love.

d. Paralysed by unbelief (Isa 51:9, with Mat 13:58).

II. CHRIST WAS NOT THE PRODUCT OF HIS AGE is one of the most startling facts connected with His birth and growth, and to this our attention is drawn in Rom 10:2. This is at the very threshold of the statement clearly declared.

1. The Fact of His Growth. "He shall grow up." Read Luk 2:52. There certainly was physical growth, for His wee baby form grew to boyhood, youth, and manhood. There was also growth in wisdom and knowledge. Yet He was, and is, the All-Knowing, and the All-Wise One. Have you ever pondered over Psalm 22:9? If this verse means anything, it certainly declares that, as a babe on His mother's breast, He possessed self-consciousness, mental alertness, spiritual longing and hope, that is, a God-given conviction respecting future things. Only one babe ever had that experience, and that was the Babe of Bethlehem. What a wonderful mystery is the Incarnation!

2. The Delight in His Growth. "Before Him." In His development the Father took special delight. Does this not also convey that He grew up ever conscious of the Father's presence?

3. The Protection of the Growth. "As a tender plant." Tender-oh, so tender! Yet guarded and kept by the Father's love.

4. The Royalty of that Growth. "As a root-sprout." The tree is in prophecy an emblem of royalty (see Isa 11:1). Royal descent is here referred to, but from a royal house fallen on evil days.

5. The Mystery in that Growth. "A root out of the dry ground." Born in a stable, He grew up in a tiny village among the hills of Galilee and opened out as He grew the wondrous blossom of a perfect humanity, such as had never before been evolved from any root, nor grown on the most sedulously cultivated plant. Brought up in a tiny village, how was it he was entirely free from provincialism? Reared in a peasant's home, how was it He was fit to grace an earthly monarch's presence, and was well-mannered and of kingly presence? The only education He had was in a humble village school, yet He manifested marvellous wisdom and knowledge, outshining all the greatest authorities of that and all subsequent time. And what is the explanation? Only this is sufficient, the Lord Jesus does not represent so much the ascent of man as the descent of God; not so much the climbing of the human into the Divine as the condescension of the Divine to the human; that His birth was not a mere birth but an incarnation.

6. The Beauty of that Growth. "He hath no form or comeliness... no beauty." What is the meaning of this? Surely this cannot mean He was ugly!

Charles Kingsley was overheard in his last illness murmuring quietly to himself: "How beautiful God is! How beautiful God is!" Augustine cried: "O beauty, so old, and yet so new; too late I loved Thee!" Only a beautiful mind could have produced so beautiful a world! Let us never forget that God is the Author and Giver of all the colour, fragrance, glory, and song. Only a beautiful mind could have created such beautiful things. And the Son of God was beautiful. He had:

1. Physical Beauty, a perfectly formed and beautifully fashioned body.

2. Mental Beauty, for only a beautiful mind could have conceived the Sermon on the Mount.

3. Moral Beauty most certainly was His, as also

4. Beauty of Disposition, and

5. Beauty of Action.

And yet because there was an absence of martial glory the leaders of His nation were blinded by prejudice and unbelief to His moral glories. There was nothing in His appearance that the carnal or worldly-minded could be attracted by, so different was He to the popular expectancy.

III. AN ILIAD OF WOES. No value was set on Him. "We esteemed Him not." "He was despised." All rejected are not despised-He was both. The rejection followed the despising. Another rendering reads, "He was despised like one hiding his presence from us," just as a leper hid his face and presence. So they treated Him as a leprous person. But pray take note of the tenses. He was despised-that is past history. But pray observe, "He is." Is He still the despised and rejected One? Yes, by many. God grant not by you, dear reader!

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