God’s prophet, Isaiah, was called to paint a portrait of God’s indescribable gift to the human race in the Person of Jesus Christ the Messiah. It was to be a vivid and exact portrayal of the One would appear on the scene as the Suffering Servant to resolve that which was separating man from God – sin. God’s messenger would ask… “to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed” (Isa 53:1 NIV)? It would be a revelation that would hold each individual accountable for their response to the Divine fulfillment of a Savior, first announced in the Garden.
The message presented by the prophet would identify the One who would come to obtain for all mankind the forgiveness of sin and relationship with. It would necessitate that God take upon Himself humanity, Immanuel, God with Us. In his gospel John wrote … “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 NIV). The long awaited Savior had appeared -- God’s gift to the human race. Surely all would embrace His coming and His mission, but tragically, John states… “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:11 NIV).
Sadly, Isaiah had prophesied centuries before … “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isa 53:3 NIV). The prophet’s description of the peoples’ response to the coming of the Suffering Servant had become reality in John’s day. He was despised by the very ones He came to save; despised to the point of violent attempts by the people to kill Him despite the fact that His was a message of hope and forgiveness and accentuated by an open display of His Person through the miracles He performed. Even those in his home town reacted in unbelief to His Person… “And all in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they rose up and cast Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went His way” (Luke 4:28-30 NASB). That continuing contempt for Messiah was a reflection of their blindness to Truth found in their own Scriptures. His sacrifice was God’s gift to the human race to provide eternal life and the forgiveness of sins.
The continual offerings of sacrifices in the Temple were merely a picture of a future sacrifice by the Lamb of God. The writer to the Hebrews would attest … “But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb 9:26 NIV). Yet because of unbelief, the people could not see the effects of their sins on themselves and the nation. Thus, Isaiah’s portrait described the reaction of the people toward the Suffering Servant as despised, forsaken like one from whom men hide their face and considered of no value. The Suffering Servant would experience the inner anguish of recognizing that, if the people and nation continued in its religious observances that spoke of Messiah but rejected His Person and Work on the Cross, it would result in personal condemnation before a holy God and the death of the nation.
The same prophet warned of the disastrous consequences of unbelief and rejection of Divine Truth … “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isa 59:2 NIV). It would be a future generation of Jews, in a time called the Great Tribulation, who, in retrospect, would reconsider Isaiah’s message and by faith receive their Messiah.