The man of mystery

I preached yesterday at NLMG from Isaiah – here is a portion of the message:

This passage of scripture describes a mysterious person is both exalted and humbled. Look here at verse 13 of chapter 52:

Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.

But then this servant turns really ugly in verse 14:

his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind

Then in verse 2 and 3 of chapter 53:

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.

This reminds me of someone whose face is so disfigured that you don’t want to look at them and you definitely don’t want your children staring at.  I have been volunteering with the homeless in Shepherds Bush over the past year and there is one man in particular whose fits this description.  Many of the people who come for a meal and a movie have had difficult lives but this man just looks worse than the rest. He stands out in a negative way – you know this man has seen very hard times.

This is the image Isaiah is giving us. This person is not glorious, he’s not Prince Charming in Shrek whose got the flowing blond hair, huge muscular arms and perfect chin. Those are the kind of guys in Bollywood films and glossy magazines but the picture we have here is the opposite – “no form or majesty that we should look at him.”
But Isaiah does make one other point about this servant – he is innocent. Look in Isaiah 53:7:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

Silent before those who are abusing him.

And then in verse 11 it says “the righteous one, my servant.” So this servant is beaten down, oppressed, ugly, nothing to look at and yet at the same time he is righteous.

Interesting.  Kind of reminds me of someone.

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Chris Hatch

Seeking to love God and neighbor