Against All Odds

One of the primary objectives in seeking to persuade a person that your point of view is correct, is by presenting compelling evidence to support your assertion.

When it comes to the Messiah that God will send into the world, He tells us ahead of time; “He will be rejected.” This is not to say that everyone shall reject Him, but a large majority will. If the entire premise of the Old Testament is to prepare the world for the arrival of the Savior, it would be reasonable to assume that He will be accepted. The entire point of writing 400 prophecies that will identify the person that you want the world to know, is to cause their minds to receive Him.

The fact that Isaiah describes the coming Messiah as rejected by those He comes to save, places all of the prophecies that God gave us, in great jeopardy. Let us imagine that just one of the 400 predictions, does not happen as God said that it would. According to the Bible, the criteria for what constitutes a valid prophecy, is whether or not it comes true. If any part of the prophecy fails, or if it does not happen—precisely as it was written, then God instructs us to ignore all of the words of the prophet who said it.

It was the intent of God that by fulfilled prophecy, we would understand that the source of the words contained in the Bible, are from God, not from man.

Deuteronomy 18:21-22 And if you say in your heart, “How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?” —when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not listen to him.

The test for whether a person is a prophet of God, is also determined by the fulfillment of their words. If any word or part of the prophecy fails, the person who spoke the prediction is called a false prophet; and no one should listen to them.[1] If, however, the words that are spoken in each of these prophecies come to pass exactly as they were written, then we have confidence that God is the original source of these predictions.

Isaiah continues His description of a most unlikely Savior, by his prophecy of rejection that will be an emblem of the Messiah’s ministry.

Isaiah 53:3b He is…rejected by men…

Jesus Fulfills Isaiah’s Prophecy

Matthew 27:21-22 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”

Matthew 19:20-22 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

How Did Isaiah Know?

The fact that Isaiah could describe the Messiah as rejected, 700 years before Jesus comes to Jerusalem and is refused by the leaders of Israel, is remarkable. According to all that has been written about His arrival, it is clear that the Messiah should have been widely received. The reality that Jesus was rejected, serves as compelling evidence that this prophecy is credible. Because all of Isaiah’s 131 prophecies of the Messiah, are also so unlikely, and Jesus perfectly fulfilled every one, we have confidence that Jesus is the person that these predictions were written for.

I have often pondered the fact that many people today still reject Jesus Christ. They claim that they do so of their own free will, with full knowledge of who Jesus is, and what the eternal cost will be for rejecting Him as their Savior. What I find most perplexing about their decision is that they deny Him, in-spite of how wonderful He is. How anyone could walk away from Jesus is beyond my ability to understand. It must be that the depth and darkness of the human heart is much greater than we can comprehend. How any person could reject the Love that Jesus has offered to us, I find unbelievable.

Perhaps it is true that many people do not see themselves as the miserable sinner that I view myself, and how greatly I am in need of redemption. It is true that a great number of folks simply do not think that they are bad enough that they require anyone to make a sacrifice for their sins.

The reasons for rejecting Jesus Christ are innumerable and incalculable. Only in eternity, when each person has had their opportunity to stand before the Lord at the Great White Throne judgment, will it finally be known what their excuses and reasons for not coming to Jesus, truly were.[2] It is likely that most of those who reject Jesus Christ as their Savior do not know themselves—why they were unwilling to come to Him. Only when the Lord removes the veil of their heart, will we see what the truth is. I for one would like to be present at this judgment so that I could understand why so many were not willing to receive Jesus as their Savior.

At the time Jesus appeared in Jerusalem and was proclaimed as the Messiah, Israel was in dire need of a Savior. Because the Roman government had removed the right of self-rule from Jewish life, and the Messiah had yet to arrive, this caused the High Priest to proclaim that God’s word had failed. The people cried out to the Lord in desperation for a deliverer, unaware that He was already in their midst. See the chapter: Shiloh, for detailed information.

It is often the case that people who need help the most are not likely to know what kind of help they need. God sent us a Savior from-sin, first, which is our greatest need. At His second appearing, He will save us from the oppression, tyranny, and corruption of this world. Israel wanted the opposite: a conquering Messiah to free them from Roman oppression, but cared little for deliverance from personal sin.

Today, many people of the world are searching for ways to enrich their lives, while remaining poor and destitute in sin and moral failure. It is often observed by the Lord, that those who are financially well-off see themselves as having need of nothing, while He views their lives as wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.

Revelation 3:17 Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”

The gold refined in the fire is an illustration of the process whereby something of value, which is corrupted by pollution, is refined and made perfect by the fire which removes these pollutants.

What is needed most in the lives of all human beings, is that the fires of God’s judgement would burn away the sinful and useless things of this world, by the sacrifice Jesus made for us. At the moment we come to Jesus and are cleansed of all our sins, we are clothed in His righteousness. The shame of our former nakedness is covered by God’s righteousness, having made us perfect.

We need to be saved from sin before anything else. This was the purpose for which Jesus appeared at Jerusalem, in fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. He will come a second time to deliver the whole world from the corrupt governments of men.

Jesus called each of us to repentance and to begin a new life under His authority. The people of Israel earnestly desired a Messiah who would cast off the bondage of Roman authority, sit on the throne of David, and begin His rule immediately. Because Jesus allowed Himself to be brutally crucified, the Jews rejected Him as a weak and helpless failure.

Too bad for us when God comes to save us and we do not recognize Him because our expectations are different from what He brings us. Better to be open to anything that the Lord wants to do in our life and to allow Him to do whatever He desires, in any way that He wants to do it.

[1] Deuteronomy 18
[2] Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And all these, who are not found written in the Book of Life were cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15