2021-09-22

Our Glorious Lord (4) – The Despised and Rejected One

“He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.” (Isaiah 53:3)

It was foretold by the prophet Isaiah, long years before the coming of Christ, that when men saw Him in lowly form and grace, they would find nothing in Him that would cause them to “desire” Him, but that He would be “despised and rejected of men” (Isa. 53:3). “Despised,” He was, because of His lowly form and lack of that “majesty” which is held in honour among men. “Rejected,” because He stood apart from the ways of men, neither receiving their proffered honours (John 6:15), nor acting as arbitrator in their personal (Luke 12:13-14) or national disputes; but ever witnessing for God and His Truth (John 8:40; 16:37). And because of His faithful testimony, which exposed the sin of man, and brought the claims of God to bear on the conscience, the Son of God was “rejected of men.” This was not by some, but by all classes and conditions of mankind.

Around His Cross, priests, scribes, and soldiers stood mocking (Matt. 28), rulers and people deriding (Luke 23:35). And as Acts 4:27 informs us, in the reckoning of God and of heaven, whether at or absent from the last great tragedy of Calvary, “Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and people of Israel,” are held to have been “gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ” on that day, taking sides with the powers of hell, in the murder of the Lord of Glory. Nor is this all. For after His resurrection from the dead—and the seal of God had been set on His witness and His work—and His ascension to heaven to sit on the right hand of God had been verified, His rejectors sent the insulting message after Him—as in the parable of the Nobleman (Luke 19:14)—“We will not have this Man to reign over us.” And this decision, the records of the rejection of Christ’s ambassadors and their message, surely confirm.

And the world is the same Christ-rejecting world still. It has not changed its attitude toward the Christ of God one whit. True, that part of it called “Christendom,” has assumed His Name, and is now called “The Christian World.” It professes what it calls “the Religion of Jesus Christ,” but it has as little place for the despised Nazarene, whom God has  made “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36), as it had when it hurried Him to the Cross. And this is the world in which the redeemed of the Lord now are. It is here, in the midst of those who despise and reject their Lord and Lover, that they are called to live their daily lives, and bear their daily witness to His truth. Need they wonder if they meet the same hatred as their heavenly Lord and Master met? They need not, for He told them they would (John 15:18-19). If they do not, the change must be in them.

But is it so in fact and experience? Is it so with us, with thee, O my soul? Surely the fine gold has become dim in many who bear the great Redeemer’s Name. Compromise has been at work. The clear-ring testimony to the world of its sin and coming doom has been muffled, The clean-cut path of separation, marked out in the Book of God for the followers of the earth-rejected Christ, has been made broader, and a Christianity to which the world can give its countenance and the devil his patronage has come to be popular. But what does God think of all this? His estimate of His beloved Son can never alter, can never change. Nor can His attitude toward that world and its rulers who crucified His Christ, has persecuted His people, and seduced His witnesses from the path of separation, in which He has called them to walk and witness for an earth-rejected Christ, to become world-reformers and world-lovers (2 Tim. 4:10). For has His Word not testified, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in Him” (1 John 2:16)? And does He not tell His people in no uncertain sound “that the friendship of the world is enmity with God, whosoever, therefore, would be a friend of the world, maketh HIMSELF AN ENEMY OF GOD” (Jas. 4:4, R.V.).

J.Ri.


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