Isaiah 49 … Consider Him, the Despised One

Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One,
To the despised One,
To the One abhorred by the nation,
To the Servant of rulers,
“Kings will see and arise,
Princes will also bow down,
Because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.”

There were so many facets about Him to consider. Isaiah is like that; so full and rich and deep. Far too deep to uncover in a few devotional thoughts. And the tug is always there, to keep digging; and I have to remind myself I am asking to see one truth about Him in each day’s reading. But it’s not easy, to stay focused on only one attribute of our multi-faceted, eternal God.

Initially, on first reading, I saw Him, as our Mighty Savior and Redeemer (49:26), and He is; but He is also revealed as the Servant (49:3,5,6,7), which He is; honored in God’s sight (49:5), which He is; a Light to the nations (49:6), which He is; providing release for the captives and sustenance for the weary (49:9-10), which He does; and generously bestowing the joy of His Comfort and Compassion (49:13-15), and oh, how He does!

And as I read and re-read, I realized I was continually drawn to this harsh fact, that while He is the Mighty Savior, the Honored Redeemer, the Light and Sustenance Who chose to Serve with Compassion and Comfort; He was Despised.

And I wondered, how did they miss Him when He came? How did they miss this reality that had been so clearly disclosed beforehand about the One Who was chosen to come as our Mighty and Honored Redeemer and Savior, the One Who would come as Light and Sustenance, the One Who would grant abundant Joy and His Divine Comfort and Compassion, the One Who came as the Suffering Servant? They had been told. Why didn’t they recognize Him Who was so abhorred? Why didn’t they see Him, the Despised One, with eyes of faith?

And I readily admit, considering this truth about Him is not a comfortable place to park. But it is because He was willing to come just that way, to come as the Despised One, that we can be spared and saved.

Consider Him, the Despised One

  • He was the Despised One, forsaken by God
    • My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
      Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning,
      (Psalm 22:1).
    • Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45-46).
  • He was the Despised One, forsaken and rejected by men
    • He was despised and forsaken of men,
      A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…
      (Isaiah 53:3).
    • “But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation,” (Luke 17:25).
  • He was the Despised One, a reproach of men
    • But I am a worm and not a man,
      A reproach of men and despised by the people,
      (Psalm 22:6).
    • They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head, (Matthew 27:28-30).
    • He was the Despised One, discredited by men
      …And like one from whom men hide their face
      He was despised, and we did not esteem Him,
      (Isaiah 53:3).
    • And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, 42 “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him, . 43 He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God,’”  (Matthew 27:39-44).
  • He was the Despised One as a lowly servant
    • He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
      To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
      I will also make You a light of the nations
      So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth,”
    • “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many,” (Mark 10:45).
  • He was the Despised One, the exalted King Who emptied Himself and came in humility
    • Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
      Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
      Behold, your king is coming to you;
      He is just and endowed with salvation,
      Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
      Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey,
      (Zechariah 9:9).
    • …Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, (Philippians 2:5-8).
  • He was the Despised One, Who came in poverty that we might become rich
    • For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich, (2 Corinthians 8:9).

How do we respond to Him, the Despised One?

Perhaps, we won’t be able to help but begin by expressing how sorry we truly are. It is heartbreaking to think of Him that way; almost unbelievable really.

Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
(Isaiah 53:1).

For although He was chosen, He willingly accepted the assignment to come as the Despised One, to be forsaken by the Father, and willingly took the reproach, rejection and scorn that we deserved. And because He willingly emptied Himself to become a Servant and gave up all His Heavenly wealth, we can become the recipients of His deliverance, if we humble ourselves and willingly accept His sacrifice for our sins.

And that is truly unbelievable! And yet it is the absolute truth, the gospel truth really. For if we will believe in Him, the Despised One, He has promised to heal and save us from our sins.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed,
(Isaiah 53:5).

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith,” (Romans 1:16-16).

Jesus told us what would come next; for when we belong to Him, the Despised One, we should expect the same treatment He Himself received.

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me,” (John 15:18-21).

We shouldn’t be surprised when we are hated and rejected by those who hate and reject Him, the Despised One. But we should be ready. And we will be, if we will humbly entrust ourselves to our Heavenly Father, as Jesus did.

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed, (1 Peter 2:21-24).

But I couldn’t help but go back to my wondering. Why didn’t the religious leaders recognize Him when God had told them exactly what to expect? For He had spoken: the Chosen One would come as One Who is abhorred and Despised. But they missed Him, for they were not really seeking His Truth.

In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God, (Psalm 10:4 NIV).

Pride crowds out God and His Truth. But the day is coming when pride will be brought down and all will know the Truth.

The pride of man will be humbled
And the loftiness of men will be abased;
And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, (Isaiah 2:17).

Yes, the day is coming when He will no longer be considered the Despised One, but all will see Him alone exalted; the day when all the world will know He Is the Lord, Savior, Redeemer and Mighty One of Jacob. And all who have waited for Him in faith, will not be put to shame.

“Kings will be your guardians,
And their princesses your nurses.
They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth
And lick the dust of your feet;
And you will know that I am the Lord;
Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame…
26 …And all flesh will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
(49:23, 26).

Until that day, let us seek to do what He requires, that we would walk in His justice and be devoted to kindness as we follow the humble steps of Him, the Despised One.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8).

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, (1 Peter 2:21).

Let’s Grow Together!

Leave a Reply