Pre-conceived notions and unrealistic expectations can become sources of much frustration and even lead to wrong conclusions. Such was the scene seven centuries before the birth of the Messiah. Called of God to reveal the redemptive work of God through a Deliverer who would destroy the power of Satan to hold the human race under the bondage of sin, Isaiah spoke of a Savior. He spared no detail in presenting a portrait of Messiah to Israel. His birth and childhood would be marked by humility… “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground” (Isa 53:2 NIV). Indeed, it was a time of spiritual famine.
That tender shoot, sprouting when religious activity was abundant but lacking in the key ingredient of faith, was likened to a sucker shoot that comes from a felled tree that barely has access to surface moisture. It struggles for its existence amidst the drought of religious oppression. Messiah would appear on the scene when the nation was spiritually debunk , oppressed by Rome and Judaism, even to the extent that the office of high priest had degenerated into a position that controlled business and religious practices through graft and criminal activity. Ritual without meaning and placing tradition over the teaching of the Scriptures would result in the death of the nation that God had established to proclaim the one true God to the world.
Thus Messiah came into the world, not born and raised in a palace or among the wealthy and well-known of that day, but in obscurity, in villages of little prominence. Only a few had been aware of his birth for the bustle of Jerusalem had little interest in the affairs of Bethlehem. Perhaps Mary and Joseph had sought lodging among their family members. Was the response of relatives also one of unbelief and would say with the inn keeper -- no room! That attitude of rejection and unbelief toward Isaiah’s message prevailed where Jesus grew up. John records the thinking of the people concerning Messiah’s upbringing in … “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked (John 1:46a NIV). Isaiah had predicted that very response by the nation. To remain in that mode of thinking would have disastrous consequences for the people and the nation and it did. But John adds one short phrase that changed the spiritual life of Nathaniel and those who responded in faith to God’s invitation… “Come and see," said Philip (John 1:46b NIV).
The God-Man, born with no halo over his head, lacked outward splendor that would draw attention to Him. Though He was a specimen of perfect humanity, it was His message that could transform the spiritual lives of the people. He had come for the purpose of accomplishing a Work that would permit any person, regardless of gender or race to have a relationship with the Eternal God. The criteria for becoming a child of God and possessing eternal life would not be dependent on one’s individual accomplishments, nor on one’s status in society, nor on intellectual ability, but by believing that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3b-4) NIV).
He would take upon Himself the sins of each individual in human history and satisfy man’s debt of sin to a righteous God. It would be a one-time sacrifice, the Innocent for the guilty, He Himself being that sacrifice. However, when Messiah came on the scene, He did not fit the preconceived expectations demanded by Israel. Therefore He was considered of no value. Isaiah’s message had been ignored. However, God the Father said … “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him” (Matt 17:5 NIV)! The Apostle John would declare … “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him” (John 3:36 NIV).