He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Isaiah’s message in this text is very poignant and not the joyous angelic proclamation of good news and great joy we find in Luke 2:10. In verses 53:2-3, Isaiah solemnly reflects on the rejection of Christ and the sorrow, grief and isolation he must endure as he suffers for our sins. In Luke 2:32, baby Jesus is presented to Simeon the priest and he blesses Jesus and indicates, “He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel.” However, in the following verses, Simeon indicates to Mary “a sword will pierce your very soul,” foreshadowing Jesus’ crucifixion. Ultimately though, through God’s miraculous plan, the birth, life and resurrection of Jesus has provided us with the great and joyous opportunity to have eternal life with God. The good news and great joy proclaimed by the angel to the shepherds in Luke chapter 2, is ours today because Jesus was willing to suffer and conquer death. As indicated in Isaiah chapter 53, He was God’s chosen servant, rejected, humiliated and tortured by mortals, but though God’s miraculous grace, support and love, He is our pathway to heaven.
Dear Heavenly Father, as we approach the upcoming celebration and joy of Jesus’ birth, let our spirit reflect the magnitude of the gift of eternal life you have given us through the birth, life and resurrection of Christ the Lord. Let us be mindful of His willingness to suffer for us, so that we may have humble hearts, as we follow our leader Jesus in bold service of spreading His kingdom here and abroad.