A Man Acquainted with Grief and Sorrows
The book of Isaiah was written by the prophet bearing its name approximately 700 BC, which is around 300 years after Solomon's fall and the continued decline of Israel's spiritual condition. While Hezekiah's reign had, for a period of time, brought an end to idol worship, during Isaiah’s time-frame, Israel is once again engaging in adulterous practices towards God; therefore, the purpose of this book is to bring correction, warning, and an opportunity for true repentance.
When we back away as if viewing a forest from afar, we see the overall plan of God: man is separated from God, God has a plan of restoration, and He brought forth Jesus and the New Covenant through the people He created called Israel. This is the over-arching plan of the ages—the creation of an eternal family. However, when we move up close to a tree in the forest to inspect it, while we lose some sight of the forest, we are able to see intricacies we would have previously missed; for instance, there are tiny insects moving in and out of the cracks in the bark. In a similar fashion, we are a tree in the midst of the grand forest called the human race; nevertheless, God has great concern for us; furthermore, we have specific intricacies and hurts in our lives that God desires heal. He wants to set us free, not so we can live for ourselves, but so we can spend our lives on Him as a reflection of His love.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
The wording in the original language for "...let us reason together...," has the idea of a discussion with the conclusion of a convincing process taking place. In other words, God wants to have a sit down with His people Israel. He wants to convince them of their downward spiral.
It should be pointed out that the reasoning or communication God wants to put forth isn't a question of whether what His people are doing is sin; rather, the purpose of the reasoning is that His people would recognize their condition and repent.
Again, God's willingness to reason isn't associated with Him considering our opinion about what is or isn't sin. His word has established these truths already: His mind won't be changed from His eternal word whether homosexuality is a sin (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:24-32) fornication is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:9), whether drunkenness is a sin (Galatians 5:21). His word is clear. His reasoning is that He wants His people to see their sin and understand He has a plan of restoration, which must start for us with repentance.
Repentance in the life of the believer brings restoration to the presence of God and refreshing to the soul:
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
God will send Isaiah as a preacher to warn the people of their sin, giving them an opportunity to respond through repentance, but God also lets Isaiah know that there is an occurrence that takes place when the gospel is preached. While some will repent (respond to the Word of God by coming to the end of self and embracing God's ways), the hearts of many will become fat, a fattened heart could be described as a layer of hardened, congealed fat over the outside of the heart (inner man), which prevents the word of God from penetrating and performing its function; this concept can be equated to fallow (untilled) ground.
Furthermore, God tells Isaiah that even though they have ears, many times the ears become heavy, the hearing of the gospel becomes grievous and burdensome to the person who is not willing to submit and respond in an appropriate manner to God's calling. The heart of that man or woman begins to deafen their ears to the truth; also, they begin to close their eyes because they don't want to see what God is saying through the prophet (mouthpiece of God).
These truths can be found in Isaiah 6:1-11 through the vision Isaiah had when King Uzziah died, and he saw the Lord; when Isaiah experienced the presence of God, he saw his sinful condition, he repented, and he was commissioned by God to preach the gospel; when the gospel is preached, some respond through repentance, but some harden their hearts.
So what we have so far is: (1) Isaiah 1:18 God's people are living in rebellion and sin; however, God's desire is that they be restored into His presence; therefore, He wants to reason, have a sit down, where He promises them that even though the sins of the people are crimson, they can be made white as wool.
The world and the people of God need to hear that message: the sins of man are crimson. While we may be deceived by sin's blinders, the sinful condition of humanity's heart is "popping" red before the eyes of a holy God. But there is hope; there is forgiveness of sin; there is a plan.
(2) In the Isaiah six passage, we learn some more about God's plan. We learn that when our strength dies (Uzziah), we become dependent upon God, finding ourselves in the presence of God. And once in the presence of God, mankind begins to see himself for how he really is-- unclean. Once a person allows their heart to be transformed by God, a desire is birthed within them to do God’s will.
And this brings me to the passage that I want to preach. This passage is one of many in Isaiah, which describe what scholars call the “suffering servant.” Jesus was the suffering servant, and when we become convinced by the Holy Spirit that our purpose is to serve Him, He makes us a humble servant. The previous examples of Isaiah 1:18 and 6:1-11 certainly apply to our Christian lives today; however, in their original context, they referred to God’s overall plan of redemption beginning with Israel. As we move forward with more specificity towards the “suffering servant,” the main point I want you to get is that God is concerned about your individual life. He wants to make you whole. He wants to set you free.
Isaiah 61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
Jesus quoted this passage out of Isaiah in Luke 4:18, 9, also, referencing the fact that this passage in Isaiah was specifically referring to Him; when He was in the synagogue teaching; therefore, we have specific proof that the suffering servant spoken of throughout Isaiah are prophecies that point to our Jesus.
Who hath believed our report?
and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant,
and as a root out of a dry ground:
Promises had been given to Judah (Genesis 49) and David (2 Samuel 7), but at this time Israel's spiritual condition has taken a downward spiral. The people are serving false gods; nevertheless, the promise will never die; even though the ground is dry, the root remains. As Isaiah had already prophesied in:
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse,
which shall stand for an ensign of the people;
to it shall the Gentiles seek:
and his rest shall be glorious.
Previously, it was mentioned that the root was tender and that it would grow out of dry ground. The reference to Jesse right here is David’s dad; as most of us are aware, it was promised that Messiah would come from David. Now, during Isaiah’s time, approximately 200 years have passed since the prophecy given to David (2 Samuel 7:13); the kingdom has been split because of Solomon’s disobedience, and things will only worsen for Israel as time moves forward. King Zedekiah, who was the last King to rule from Jerusalem, was carried away to Babylon approximately 618 BC with his eyes gouged out, bound in chains, and thrown in prison. By the time Jesus was born about 600 years after Zedekiah, the Roman Empire had Israel under its power as a vassal state. The above prophecies were certainly true: the root of Jesse came forth, and He came as a tender plant out of dry ground; He was born of insignificant means when all hope for the promise appeared lost.
he hath no form nor comeliness;
and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men;
The majority will be repelled by the real Jesus. When you begin to tell the crowd that true Christianity isn't looking at the cross, but man, through faith in Christ, dying with Him on the cross, you lose the majority. We live in the midst of a time when everything around us appeals to our senses and convinces us what success is supposed to look like; yet, the success of our Savior was His obedience to death.
Who would have ever expected that the King of Kings would be born as a babe in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes, a king born to die. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords who deserves all glory and adoration came to this sinful world in the humility of a manger amongst not even common people but unclean animals.
He is the “suffering servant,” and He is asking us to be humble servants. It’s required of His people to learn His heart. What an arduous task this appears to be on the surface in the midst of a society where we are influenced by the world around us to be drawn towards that which is pleasing to the eyes. I think convertible Corvettes and Michael Kors watches are cool, but Jesus isn’t impressed. The King of the universe was born in a manger where animals would live. He didn’t wear silk robes. He was a lowly carpenter. He wasn’t impressed with the bank account of a man; instead, He chose to sit down to eat with sinners, tax collectors, and even lepers. And the way He handled these occurrences wasn’t like some woman wearing her diamond rings ladling Chicken a- la- king at a soup Kitchen for an hour in an attempt to feel better about herself. He sat with them, got to know them, and loved them. He knew the gospel could change their lives, so He invested the kingdom of God into them. This is not an arduous task; it is impossible for self to come to this type of conclusion. Only the gospel transforms a self seeking heart into a humble servant.
-- Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
There is nothing on the surface or superficially about our Savior that draws men to Him, but when you look inside and see His heart of humility and His willingness to give Himself for you, all the pomp and circumstance begins to fade. All the things that I thought would bring me happiness begin to take a backseat to the Savior's love and will for my life.
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
The world didn’t love Him then and they sure don’t love Him now.
The Soldiers mocked Him
And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand:and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him
The world mocked Him
And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross
Religion mocked Him
Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him
The thieves mocked Him
The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth
He was a man acquainted with sorrows, because He became clothed in the tent called flesh:
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
He has felt what we feel. He has been rejected; He has been hurt; He has been made fun of; He has had people that He loved turn their backs on Him. You can rest assured Christian that no matter what you experience on this side of the eternal veil, your Jesus has been there already, He defeated it at the cross, and:
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Oftentimes, when people are hurt by family, friends, or mostly people in the church, the devil preys upon their minds, telling them, "You're alone! No one loves you. You're isolated; the church is full of hypocrites, so why go back?"
The devil is a master at convincing people they’re alone.
Don’t say it again Christian. He was all alone, but you’re not all alone. You don’t have to be alone, because your Jesus took that for you:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?--
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him;...