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Man of Sorrows

“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” (Isaiah 53:3).

On this side of history, we look back to when Jesus came to earth as a humble baby. We reverence Him, recognizing Him as God in the flesh, the Savior of all mankind. Representations of Him populate Christian art, most depicting Him as a man with a serene face and perhaps a soft glow behind His head. We honor Him, knowing Him as our Lord.

But when He came to earth, this was not the reception He had. Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, Isaiah prophesied that He would be despised and rejected. He would have no great beauty, and no one would desire Him. No one would think that He was the one who had come to save Israel. Yet this was He. Immanuel, God in the flesh, had come to be with us, to take on our sorrows and bear our shame, to carry our sins in His own wounds and by them heal us. He, the Creator of the world, chose to take the form of His own creation. Not considering equality with God a thing to be grasped, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant. He was pierced for our transgressions and punished for our sins, so that by His wounds we might be healed.

Jesus could have come in any way He chose. Everyone expected Him to come as a mighty, conquering king. But the God of the world chose to come suffer and die. He chose to be rejected and despised by His own creation. He could have picked any way to come, and this is what He chose.

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