Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
When we study Isaiah 53, we cannot help being impressed that the Son of God has given Himself to die the world's second death, "poured out His soul unto death" (vs. 12) as you would turn a bottle upside down to drain the last drop, and yet God's people two millennia ago would not "believe our report" (God sent).
Isaiah's idea is that when the Savior of the world should come, His lowly form would be so unlike His people's proud expectations that they would make Him "despised and rejected by men" (vs. 3). They would interpret the humble birth of Jesus and His gentle demeanor as reason to treat Him with disdain. The rejection and murder of the Son of God by the best people on earth has become the scandal of the ages!
It has been this way always. God sends "messengers," and His people reject them. Jesus complained that His chosen people had always "scourged and persecuted" the "prophets" He had sent them, even killed them and crucified them, and "stones those who are sent to [you]." He told it to them straight (Matt. 23:34-37).
True to form, the Jews then proceeded to persecute and kill the apostles God sent to them. Often through history, God's prophets have been treated better by the Gentiles than by His own people. Elijah had to find refuge in a Gentile nation from the persecution of the king and queen of Israel, and Jesus called this to the attention of His own people (which they didn't like and tried to kill Him, Luke 4:24-29).
"Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" asks Isaiah (53:1). To human eyes, the Sent of God is always misunderstood, "despised and rejected by men" (vs. 3). The world's Redeemer and Savior seemed to His own people to be "a root out of a dry ground [with] no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him" (vs. 2).
But must this "unchristlike persecution" go on and on through all centuries right up to the very end of time? Must there never come a repentance on the part of God's people? Must the lessons of history forever be disregarded?
There must and there will come a repentance, for the Bride of Christ will at last "make herself ready" for the "marriage of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:7, 8). The lesson of Isaiah 53 will be learned at last.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 3, 2004.
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