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April 4

1  Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.
Isaiah 53:1-3

Many years ago, a Christian publishing house in Egypt, the Nile Press, received a request from Yemenite Jews for one hundred Hebrew Bibles. The man who prepared the order also sent with the shipment a New Testament in Hebrew. About a year later another order came from the Yemenite Jews for more Hebrew Bibles with this request: “Please also send us some copies of the little book that explains the Big Book.” The Yemenite Jews found in reading the New Testament the fulfillment and explanation of what they had read in the Old Testament.

The New Testament says that Jesus is the fulfillment of this ancient prophecy from Isaiah regarding the Suffering Servant, who is rejected and scorned by his people (Matthew 8:17; John 12:38; Acts 8:32-35). With prophetic vision granted by the Holy Spirit, Isaiah foretells the rejection of the Savior and the suffering he will endure.

When Jesus came, his own brothers rejected him and did not believe in him until after his resurrection (Mark 3:21; John 7:3-5). People called him a drunkard and a glutton, said he was possessed by a devil (Matthew 11:19; John 8:48). Jesus had no home to go to and said of himself, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). Peter swore he would die for him, but denied ever knowing him (John 13:36-38). He was “a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity.

Jesus came to make many sons and daughters of God. Even though he was scorned and rejected, anyone may come to him: “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 1He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:10-12).

The old hymn said it so well:

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

– Joseph Hart, “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy


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