He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
– Isaiah 53.3
The prophet Isaiah is here describing what would happen when the Lord of glory would come to earth 700 years later. How is it that the Lord of glory would come to earth to be humiliated? How is it that He who deserved no shame, would be shamed?
God came to earth in the life of Jesus. He was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth. Once He embarked on His ministry, He moved to Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee. He traveled through the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee – locations less than 200 miles apart. He opened blind eyes and deaf ears, He made the lame to walk and cleansed lepers, He fed the hungry and encouraged the downtrodden. Yet when His time of crisis came, no crowd rose up to defend Him. He was whipped and then nailed to a cross, and thus died “despised and forsaken.”
Remember: this is God Almighty come to earth! He was not surprised at the treatment He received. He knew this would be His fate. Why then did He submit Himself to it? To win us back from evil to Himself. It’s the sort of thing loves does.
You and I have the opportunity today to imitate that love – to let that love motivate our behavior toward others. Dare we try it? Dare we not?
All we have to do is follow His example of going into the day determined to do our duty without any thought of seeking “esteem” from others. It is a life “acquainted with grief” and “sorrow” because people will disappoint us. It brings honor to our heavenly Father if we love them anyway.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, God, and Father: You sought no glory or praise on earth – You sought only to serve. Grant that I may be similarly motivated. Grant that today I will seek approval from no one else but You alone. I know You see everything – now and throughout the day. Help me think as You do…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.