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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”—Isaiah 53:3 (NKJV)
One of the things I love most about God’s Word is that it doesn’t sugarcoat anything. People are depicted exactly as they are: fallen, sinful, and “with warts and all.” This authenticity lends a great deal of credibility to the Bible. Because, honestly, who would paint such unflattering portraits of humanity in the process of trying to win converts?
Likewise, we can trust the Bible because of its historical accuracy. In the Book of Isaiah, for example, the prophet foretells of the coming Messiah of Israel in very specific and unappealing terms more than 700 years before Jesus came to earth. The people of Israel were awaiting a victorious political figure to emerge on the scene to lead them out of captivity, but Isaiah speaks to a very different reality. In the famous passage from Chapter 53, known as “The Suffering Servant,” Isaiah accurately predicts that the Savior would be rejected and treated with complete disdain, as today’s verse notes.
As a result, Jesus became intimately familiar with rejection and grief, earning Him the title, Man of Sorrows. But we often gloss over these truths and don’t give much thought about what it meant for Christ to be “despised and rejected by men.”
In Dr. Allan Ross’ commentary of this passage, he explains the verb “despised” (bazah) means “to look down the nose with contempt; it means to consider something worthless and of no value, and then to treat it accordingly.” He goes on to say that we (mankind) “wrote him off as a poor wretch, we did not give him a second thought, we made no note of him.”
Talk about being marginalized! If you’ve ever felt rejected because of who you are or the color of your skin, I have good news for you: Jesus knows exactly how you feel. And as is also true of God’s Word, this passage contains a paradox: The One who’s life mattered most to all of humanity—the Creator who emptied Himself and became nothing so that we could become everything in Christ—was regarded as someone of absolutely no value.
If you have experienced rejection, take heart in the knowledge that God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are (1 Corinthians 1:28). And remember, your suffering has meaning and your life has value because of what Jesus has done for you!
DIG: When was the last time you were rejected by someone? How did you process those feelings?
DISCOVER: Read this article about the nature of rejection and its spiritual implications. Why do you think it’s so important to have a biblical understanding of rejection, and what impact does it have on your spiritual growth?
DISPLAY: Spend some time in prayer today asking Jesus to bring healing into areas of your life in which you’ve felt marginalized.
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.