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He is despised and rejected of men

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:3 KJV

Jesus Christ, the Son of God came to this earth to save it: “for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17 KJV). Yet prophesised some 740 years prior His coming was the fact that the world would reject Him – indeed had already rejected Him. Note the tense of the first phrase: “He is despised and rejected of men”. He is not accepted by men, indeed not acceptable by men even today, His brethren, his peers or his community – unacceptable in the opinion of others, indeed the whole world, He was accounted for as nothing. God the Saviour was a reproach of men, despised of the people to the extent He considered himself a worm and not man (Psalm 22:6). He came in love (as Love), “for He so loved the world” (John 3:16) and He was willing to die for the world although knowing the world would reject Him. Paul remarks “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.” (Romans 5:7 NKJV). Christ was willing to die for those who He knew would reject Him – had already rejected Him. He was hated because He was righteous; he knew the duplicity of men’s hearts and revealed it, and was maliciously attacked because of it.

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He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Troubles followed him where ever he went – from birth to death: from the flight to Egypt to escape Herod to his death on the cross after being falsely accused. Many a day he had no shelter or even a bed: “but the son of man has not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). This was more than physical – He was in need of rest, the work was great, the unbelief monumental, and He could not remain for long. He was the Messiah, the Son of Man, whose sorrow was great: indeed it was agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44), in battle with the devil for our sake. And on the cross, He is alone, rejected by all, and forsaken by the Father (…Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" Matthew 27:46).

He was acquainted with grief to the extent that we have no fear of bringing our troubles to Him because He understands us in a very practical sense: Yes he knew no sin, yet he knows our weaknesses and infirmities – He withstood the temptations and therefore is able to help us. The writer to the Hebrews expresses it thus: “For we do not have a High Priest [The Lord Jesus Christ, King and High Priest] who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 NKJV.
It is deeply troubling that we all despised Him, but even more troubling is we found Him abhorrent, indeed loathsome, as if he had Ebola virus disease or some other awful disease; it was an attitude of scorn (seen in the modern day atheistic evangelists) and Him being unworthy of any concern of ours, even though He was God (“The Father and I are one.” John 10:30)!

The writer of the poem repeats the concept to get across the incredulousness he has of our attitude – how could men and women contemplate rejecting the Messiah? Yet we did. Our proper place was to esteem Him, as one should a King, or even more, our saviour, yet we showed contempt. We are of course in this together – we all rejected the Messiah: “at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:12 NKJV, but those that believe in Jesus Christ will be saved: “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 NKJV. This is because of His love, such that He will forgive those who believe on Him, and of those who believe He says: “But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11 NKJV

David L Simon
Posted: 05 Oct 2014