Isaiah 53:1-6

Isaiah begins with a question;

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

Then he goes on, in surprising words, to describe what God incarnate will one day be like. I think if Peter would have been there and picked up on this, he would have been incapable of restraining himself. I could picture him saying, “Oh no Isaiah, this won’t do at all, He must have at least some stately form or majesty!”. I shouldn’t be so hard on Peter. I confess that I too wish that Jesus would present Himself to the world in extraordinary ways.

Yet God, ignoring all human wisdom, chose to appear as an “ordinary” man; so ordinary in fact, that if we could have looked upon Him there would have been nothing distinguishing in His appearance. It is interesting that those who did have preconceived notions of what the Messiah’s appearance would be were not those “who believed the message nor to whom the arm of the Lord was revealed“. Jesus, as the Son of Man, for reasons of His own, concealed His identity from them by appearing “ordinary”.

Long after Isaiah recorded this prophecy, we learn that chief among God’s reasons was that it permitted Him to position Himself so that the stroke of God’s judgement (that was due to all of us sheep who had willfully gone astray), would fall upon Him. I wonder that more do not believe the gospel just based on the sheer impossibility that humans could invent such a bizarre and scandalous plot.

So, in an attempt to answer Isaiah’s question, I have to say that those who have believed the message are those who have embraced the Son of Man, a Man whose life appeared for 30 years, as far as we know, common and ordinary. I believe God, by virtue of His own makeup, has a strong affinity for the ordinary. That Jesus did not posture Himself as an elite, reveals a surprising aspect of divine royalty – it is approachable; it is humble and it does not seek to lord authority over people. It draws and attracts through invitation not mandate.

A robed King with scepter and royal guard is not a relational ruler. Our ruler is in love with us and desires that we find Him accessible not aloof. We think of Jesus as being God’s disguise. Perhaps it was no disguise at all; that it is just as Hebrews has said, that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father, who is the King Eternal.

Father, we have believed your message and your strong arm has been revealed to us in the wisdom of Your gospel. That you are our friend and not our dictator is tremendously good news. As common as Jesus may have appeared, You did extraordinary things through Him that drew men to You. May we too, whatever our appearance, be vessels of honor overflowing with the surprising Life of God to all those You permit us to serve. Amen.

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