Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:2–4) - Radical

Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:2–4)

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, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
– Isaiah 53:2–4

During this Advent season, when we think about Jesus and our hearts are drawn towards Him, I think it’s important for us to hear these words from Isaiah 53 that basically remind us that there was nothing in Him, humanly speaking, to draw us to Him, nothing in Jesus. He had no form or majesty that we should even look at Him, no beauty that we should desire Him.

This is very different from what people would be expecting or were expecting when it comes to a Messiah, King, or Ruler, and the reality is, it’s the same in our world today. We look towards people who have forms that attract us to the majesty that shouts splendor and grandeur, beauty that’s desirable, or power that’s desirable, and Jesus had none of that.

Isaiah 53:2–4 Tells a Different Story

In fact, the opposite was true of Him. He was despised by men, rejected by men, as one from whom men hide their faces, like I don’t even want to look at Him. We despised Him, esteemed Him not. We esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

The whole picture here is Jesus had nothing in Him, humanly speaking, to draw people to Him, yet this is how God, the God of the universe, came in the flesh. He came as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. This is so unlike we might think and so good, so much better than we would ever think—that God came to us in the form of a man.

This is what we anticipate in the Advent season – God becoming a man like us, acquainted with our grief, acquainted with our sorrows, acquainted with the challenges of life and a sinful world, yet without sin, yet without sin. He’s obviously very different from us in that way, but when it comes to sorrows, griefs, pain, hurt, He is familiar with all of these things such that He has born our grief and carried our sorrows.

Isaiah 53:2–4 Reminds Us Jesus Conquered Sin

Think about it. Sorrow in the world, grief in the world is the effect of sin in the world. We have sorrow, sadness, grief because of sin and all of its effects, ultimately death. And Jesus came to conquer sin and to conquer death in a way none of us could have ever imagined. Jesus came—like us, familiar with our sorrows, yet was without sin—to conquer the root of sorrow, the root of grief. He has conquered sin. As a result, He’s conquered death. He’s risen from the grave, and absolutely as a result of that. He has beauty and majesty to now draw us to Him.

Jesus, we praise You. We praise You. We exalt You right now as the one who we did not esteem when You were here. You had no form or majesty that we should look at You. We esteemed You stricken, smitten by God, afflicted, despised. We hid our faces from You, yet You were carrying our sorrows and acquainted with our grief. You experienced suffering to the fullest extent, not just physically but spiritually, taking the payment we were due upon Yourself on the cross.

This Verse Exalts Christ for His Work

Lord Jesus, we exalt You. We praise You for taking the just judgment of God upon Yourself that we deserve, and we praise You for not stopping there. We praise You for Your resurrection from the dead, Your ascension into heaven, the promise of Your return, when we will see You, and we will adore You. Lord, we will worship You. We will exalt You forever and ever and ever and ever. Jesus, You are our Savior. You are our Lord. You are our King, and we worship You.

God, I think about those who are listening to this right now who are struggling through sorrow and pain and grief. I know this is especially hard even at holiday times, so God, I pray that these brothers and sisters in particular would be reminded right now that You’re acquainted with sorrows and grief. You know hurt and pain. And You have ultimately conquered the root of it all.

Jesus, You are our hope. You are our joy. You are our love, and we exalt You. In Your name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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