For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.Isaiah 53:2(NASB)
This beautiful passage in Isaiah chapter 53 is beloved by all who have trusted Christ for salvation. It is a wonderful truth that confounds our understanding and belies the credibility of man, that God in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ should come to earth and die on the Cross to pay the price for our sins.
It staggers the mortal mind to realise that for our well-being He was despised and rejected of men, and for our sake became a man of sorrows and fully acquainted with grief. For our benefit, He was born in the likeness of man and lived a sinless life so that He could be made sin for us and take the full force of God's wrath upon Himself - in our place.
Although in context the target audience for this amazing passage is the nation of Israel, all who have been saved by grace through faith in Him in this Church age are blessed by this passage. It is precious to discover that He was led like a lamb to the slaughter for us, and willingly and quietly took the punishment that you and I deserve so that our sins could be completely forgiven through His sacrificial death, and by faith in Him, the power of sin has been broken in our lives and we have been placed in union with Christ and identified with His life.
At Christ's first advent, there was a little remnant of Israel who believed His Messianic claims. But not many believed the report of his death, burial, and Resurrection, which the apostles started to proclaim to Israel at Pentecost. As a nation, Israel continued in unbelief and so the truth was hidden from them and Israel in part was blinded - for a season.
Nonetheless, the Lord Jesus was the beloved Son of the Father Who was well pleasing to God and grew up before Him like a tender shoot. Throughout His earthly life, the Lord Jesus grew-up in favour with God and man and was compared with a root that sprang forth from a dry, dusty, and arid land.
The majority of Israel found fault with the faultless Son of Man at His first advent, and only the eyes of the faithful remnant of Israel were opened to recognise His beauty and worth. The vast majority saw no beauty or majesty in Him and considered Him a very ordinary and simple man.
The mystery of Christ's humiliation is that the eternal God of the universe should enter His fallen creation in such humble circumstances, and be so devoid of natural appeal for the sake of those that would despise and reject Him, that He would appear as contemptible and worthy of bitter scorn from those He came to save.
The Lord Jesus grew up before God like a tender shoot which pushed its way up through the parched ground. To those who rejected Him, He has no stately form or majesty that they should look up to Him and honour Him, nor was His outward appearance anything that attracted them to Himself. But those of us who have trusted Christ for salvation and are being conformed into the image and likeness of Christ cry out with reverential fear: "Hallelujah!! What a Saviour!!"
Heavenly Father, the image of Christ in His humiliation as a Man Who had no exciting outward appearance or desirable human attributes to commend Him to the children of men for whom He died, stands in such stark contrast with His divine nature, His holy character, His sinless life, and the sacrificial offering of Himself. As I see Jesus as He truly is, I am awestruck by His amazing grace and eternal beauty. My beautiful Saviour, Jesus You are. I give You all my praise and glory, AMEN.
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