Man of Sorrows

Isaiah 53:1-3

This lesson is the first in a series that will focus on God Incarnate, Jesus Christ, and the portrait He paints for us of the Creator. We are exhorted in Scripture to imitate our Lord, but do we really know what He's like? The persona of Christ commonly projected is of a handsome bearded man with a ready smile and gentle demeanor. But is that the portrait painted in Scripture, or in the bias of our hearts?

As we study the Truth of Scripture, we will seek to gain a Bibical vision of Jesus. This will not be a doctrinal treatment of Christ, but an investigation to get to know the Man that God became. Our search begins with a Scripture written over 700 years before Christ was born, but which contains perhaps the most candid portrayal of our Lord! Below are three Principles that will launch our look at the Greatest Person who ever walked this planet!

1. Jesus ... We Discover Only What He Uncovers!

The passage opens with a question that is as relevant today as it was in the 7th century BC when it was penned. Whenever we bear testimony about Christ, we wonder who will really believe it. The question in verse 1 contains the answer when it asks, "to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?" The "arm of the LORD" of course is Christ, who sits at the right hand of God and through Whom all creation was established! But notice that though Christ made the Heavens and the Earth and all that is in them, not everyone recognizes who He really is. Only those to Whom God reveals Him will come to know Him.

We must remember this as we begin our search to discover what Jesus reveals about God. We must humble ourselves and pray that God opens our eyes and reveals Himself to us. For unless He does, there is no hope of ever seeing Jesus!

2. Jesus ... Beauty is More Than Skin Deep!

The first thing we learn about Jesus from verse 2 is that He did not arrive in blazing glory, but was born and grew up just like the rest of us. In fact, Isaiah compares Him to a "root out of dry ground". Jesus would probably not have won a healthy baby contest, especially in light of His very early years: the trip down to Bethlehem prior to His birth, being born in a stable, and spending most of His early years on the road and on the run! That kind of lifestyle does not make for the optimum child-raising environment!

But then Isaiah provides us with the only description we have in Scripture of what Jesus looked like. It is one of the most amazing desriptions of our Savior, for it goes against all that this world is looking for in a leader or a king! Read the description: "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him."

Frankly, Jesus did not look like much. He wasn't photogenic nor telegenic, and would probably not have made it unto many magazine covers. I remember while living in Papua New Guinea seeing the images of Princess Diana plastered on the covers of almost every newspaper, journal or magazine. She just looked like a Princess! In the same year she was killed, another famous woman also died. Relatively little media attention was paid to this woman, perhaps because she was not as attractive. Yet Mother Theresa inspired the lives of millions around the world!

Jesus would have had more in common with the saintly nun than the beautiful monarch. He lacked any and every outward appearance of royalty, and as Isaiah wrote, there was "nothing in His appearance" that would make us desire Him!

That's good news for all of us who are "Attractive Challenged". You know who are are! The good news? We're actually created more in Christ's image than our photogenic friends! So don't write off anyone simply because of what they look like. You would have missed Jesus, as many did, who were looking for someone who looked more the part!

3. Jesus ... He Understands!

The third verse unveils an incredible aspect of Jesus' life. He knew first hand what it was like to be rejected and despised by others! I doubt if many of us have experienced the kind of rejection Jesus did. Isaiah underscores its intensity by likening it to people hiding their faces from Him.

Can you imagine being so despised that others will refuse to even look at you? No wonder Jesus was described as a "man of sorrows and familiar with suffering". The word "sorrow" means pain while "suffering" can mean sickness or disease. He knows what it feels like when others see us as an undesirable ... one not worth their time. He knows the agony of being scorned and detested. Jesus, God Incarnate, understands what it is like to be hurt by those He trusted.

Therefore, when we come before His Throne, we come knowing that He is fully acquainted with our distress, be it physical or emotional. When we share our deepest cares with Him, we do so with One who truly understands and cares for us!

Think!

Application

1. Knowing that God Reveals Himself to Those He Chooses ... I Will

2. Knowing that Christ Had No Beauty to Make Him Attractive to Others, I Will...

3. Because Christ Knows Firsthand What It Is Like to Be Rejected and Despised By Others, I Will ...

Affirmations