“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground: 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; 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” (KJV, Is. 53:2-3).
“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground”
As one continues to read through Isaiah’s Suffering Servant, the prophetic literature will cause him to stop and ponder what is being said. What does it mean when Isaiah spoke of Jesus as a tender plant? Who will Jesus “grow up before?” The questions abound, and the careful reader of Scripture will not be satisfied without gaining an understanding of the text.
The Word of Promise Audio Bible – New King James Version, NKJV: Complete Bible
In Isaiah 53:2, we are told that Jesus will grow up before God the Father. God the Father will be looking upon His Son and paying careful attention. He will sovereignly ordain each circumstance in the life of Christ to fulfill His ultimate purpose.
Jesus would grow up before the Father as a tender plant. In keeping with the context of Isaiah, the Bible has already said, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Is. 11:1). God would plant Christ into the line of David, and the Son of God would remain rooted as the Promised Messiah. Scripture says, “…Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15:13). But the text continues to be even more remarkable.
Jesus would not only be planted into the line of David as the Promised Messiah, but He would come as a root out of dry ground. Jesus would ultimately bring life out of death. The life of Christ would be nothing short of miraculous. Jesus was well known for bringing life to desolate places.
In the feeding of the five thousand, the disciples desired to send the people away and said, “…This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat” (Mark 6:35-36). But Jesus did not need to send the people away simply because the land was barren. Jesus was the root that grew out of dry ground. So instead, Jesus fed the people in the barren land, and food was left over after they had eaten.
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“he hath no form nor comeliness”
Jesus was not desirable by human standards. He faced rejection and had no form or comeliness about Him. When He walked upon the earth, many were intrigued by Him. Nevertheless, they could not get beyond what their senses were communicating. Even Nathanael questioned Christ. Scripture says, “And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46a). However, those who looked upon Christ with spiritual eyes would respond as Philip did and say, “Come and see” (John 14:6b).
“and when we shall see him”
Isaiah looked ahead to the day when the Messiah would come. Incredibly, the Jews were so blinded to the suffering Messiah. The Savior of the world was promised to the Jews. However, by the time He came their hearts were hardened, and their eyes blinded by sin and Satan. Nevertheless, Isaiah foretold of the incarnate Christ; as a result, one day, Jesus would not face rejection, and would come and walk upon the earth for all to see.
“there is no beauty that we should desire him”
Once again, Isaiah reiterates that the people would feel rejection towards and not desire Jesus. The passage at hand reminds the careful reader of what occurred when God gave the Israelites their first king. God desired to be the King of His people, but the people wanted a king they could see with their eyes, who would go out and come in before them.
Therefore God gave the people Saul. The Bible speaks of Saul in the following manner, “…Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people” (1 Sam 9:2). Later when Saul was anointed and proclaimed to be king before the people, he stood before them and towered over them in height. Samuel said, “…See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king” (1 Sam. 10:24). In contrast, Saul would be accepted by the people, while Jesus would not be desired.
“He is despised”
Instead, Jesus was despised by those He came to save. The Hebrew word translated despised is bazah which carries the meaning of disdain, despise, scorn, or thinking of someone as vile. Isaiah’s prophecies tell us that the Servant of God, Jesus Christ, would be looked upon with eyes of contempt.
“and rejected of men”
As a result of the despising of the Messiah, we read that Jesus would face rejection. The harmony of Scripture is an amazing attestation of the divine inspiration found within. For instance, Isaiah tells the reader that Jesus would go to a people who would reject Him. As one turns to the New Testament, he reads of the Messiah coming into the world. However, when he reads of Jesus’ birth, he will notice that from the outset, there was no room for Jesus in the inn. Instead, Jesus was relegated to a stable. Thus, the rejection of Christ can be seen from His entrance into the world.
“a man of sorrows”
He was truly a man of sorrows. He entered into the world and identified with His creation. He was not a distant God, as the deist would claim. He was not merely a prophet, as the Muslims would claim. He was not simply a man, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses would claim. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. He came and embraced humanity for the sake of His people and entered into the sorrows of the fallen world.
“and acquainted with grief”
He grew intimately acquainted with the griefs of mankind. However, the griefs of Christ were far greater as He was grieved for godly reasons. His sorrow was a godly sorrow to the uttermost. His sorrow and grief were based upon the truth rather than the lies of the enemy and the world.
After casting out a demon from a child, a deaf man was brought to Jesus. The Bible says, “And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephpha-tha, that is, Be opened. And straightaway his ears were opened…” (Mark 7:34-35). Jesus sighed with sorrow as he beheld the fallen world.
“and we hid as it were our faces from him”
Nevertheless, people would hide their faces from the Messiah, Who came to seek and save the lost. Specifically, Isaiah had the nation of Israel in mind when he spoke these words. Israel would turn their backs on God the Son and hide their faces from their King. At the end of Christ’s life, they would claim that they have no king but Caesar.
“he was despised, and we esteemed him not”
Their King had come to save them. The Promised King from the line of David had been planted in the earth like a root out of dry ground. But their hearts were dead. They were calloused. They were dry. They were like the dry bones in the book of Ezekiel, and only God could bring life out of death. While many esteemed Him not, God had mercy, and some followed Christ faithfully. Jesus truly entered into the fallen world in which man finds himself. Do not despise the Savior.
Father, I thank You for sending Your Son into the world to save me. You have shown much grace and mercy toward me. I see that I can look to Jesus when I am grieved and overcome with sorrow as One Who can identify with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.