236: Isaiah 53:3a

COPYRIGHT WARNING

365 Prophecies: Prophecy 236

The Messiah will be despised, hated, looked down upon as worthless and irrelevant.

Old Testament Prediction:

Isaiah 53:3a He is despised

New Testament Fulfillment:

Mark 13:13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

Luke 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, “We will not have this man to reign over us.”

Luke 21:17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”

Application:

The great cosmic conspiracy that is not often spoken of publicly is the hatred that this world has for Jesus Christ. A person can mention the name of most any person of history, and a friendly discussion may begin. Let someone mention the name of Jesus Christ; and immediately, the conversation will turn silent, and all eyes and ears will be upon the one who mentioned His name.

The name of Jesus and what He stands for has an immediate polarizing effect upon people. Either they love Him or they hate Him. He is either deeply revered or greatly scorned and ridiculed.

Why is Jesus hated so vehemently? Because He reminds people that they are sinners. Most people do not want to be told that they need a Savior. To even imply that a person is deficient in his moral life is offensive and causes anger.

The reason that the world hates Jesus Christ is because He has a claim upon our life that demands an answer. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. To acknowledge this truth is to admit that we have a problem. For a majority of people, this is an insult to their pride and self-worth and an impossible fact to acknowledge.

There is no middle ground with Jesus. Either we are with Him, or we are against Him. Jesus said that there is no grey area, no neutral place that is acceptable to Him. Either we make a decision for Him, or we are against Him. Jesus said that no decision for Him is the same as rejecting Him.

Luke 11:23 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

I have spoken to people who have told me that they have not yet decided whether to follow Jesus. We should understand that the Lord does not allow us this place of indecision. He has died for the sins of the word, and He is worthy of a firm verdict. Either we see what He has done for us and fall at His feet in complete surrender, or we back away and admit to Him and the world that we will not serve Him. Let us not, however, say that there is insufficient proof for His existence or that He is unworthy to be served. The evidence for Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is absolute and irrefutable. Even the most obstinate of adversaries must admit that Jesus is the genuine article and that He has proven Himself worthy of all honor and worship.

I can respect anyone who honestly examines Jesus and the life that He has represented to us, and then says, “I will not serve Him.” I cannot, however, respect anyone who will either not look at the evidence at all or pretends that there is insufficient proof that Jesus is Lord and God. Upon their affirmation that Jesus is not a valid person of history, they use this false and feeble excuse as the reason for their unbelief. To deny that there is insufficient evidence to believe the claims of Jesus is intellectually disingenuous. There is greater evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ than there is for any other person who has lived upon the earth.

The excuses that many people make for not surrendering their life to Jesus are weak and lacking credibility.

After spending many years searching for truth myself and having examined a great amount of the evidence for Jesus’ life, I reached a point where a decision had to be made. Either I would admit that what is revealed about the person described by the New Testament as Jesus of Nazareth is overwhelming and incontrovertible, and I would accept Him; or, I would have to admit that the evidence was overwhelming and incontrovertible, yet I would not accept Him.

The point being: evidence is not enough to cause any person to receive Jesus as their Savior, the will must also be convinced and surrendered. There is no amount of empirical evidence that can change a heart which simply does not want to believe. The greatest barrier to faith is always the will. It is this often overwhelming obstacle which makes it impossible to bring some people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

It is laughable when men and women who claim to be highly educated and free thinkers, deny the evidence that is available to confirm that Jesus is who He claims to be. The historical record alone insufficient to confirm that Jesus lived and was crucified in Jerusalem in 32 A.D. The Secular record of the Romans and the Jews, both contain detailed descriptions of Jesus of Nazareth—crucified and buried, in their historical records.[1]

“In recent years, no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus or at any rate very few, and they have no succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary.”[2] —Michael Grant, Ph.D.

The problem with many modern men is that they begin with the premise that Jesus is a myth, the Bible is unreliable and God does not exist. When any person commences on any investigation of facts with a predetermined conclusion, it is impossible to objectively evaluate the evidence that is available. We can never reach a valid decision when we start with a conclusion before we begin. First, it must be determined that we do not know whether something is true or not. In fact, it is beneficial to start with an assumption that something is very likely valid if a large majority of reasonable people believe it to be true and then begin look at all sides of the issue.

It is a grievous truth that many people reject Jesus based on the opinions of other people, without having ever investigated the facts themselves. I have read the statements of many intelligent men and women who have repeated the same inaccuracies about Jesus that many others have stated. All of these false assumptions are easily impeached, yet it is obvious that no personal search has ever been made. These men and women who spend countless years conducting research have never taken the time to learn the true facts concerning Jesus Christ for themselves.

Since Jesus has claimed to be the Creator of the universe and the one to whom all life owes its existence, it would be reasonable that these claims should be honestly investigated. To dismiss the statements that Jesus has maintained, as a historical person who has impacted the world in greater regard than any other human being, without examining the facts, is the greatest error and travesty of life.

Jesus is either a legend, a liar, a lunatic; or He is Lord.[3]

A person who has said and done the things that Jesus has said and done cannot be insane. No one who has the power to speak to a blind man and cause him to see for the first time in his life, or can speak to a man who has been unable to walk, suddenly to stand and walk away, is lacking credibility. A person who can stand at a gravesite and command the dead to live is worthy of our attention.

John 11:41-44 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

There has never been anyone on the face of the earth who could do the things that Jesus is said to have done. To dismiss Him because His claims are so outlandish and impossible, is perilous. What if everything which is claimed about Jesus is true? If we miss knowing Him, then we have missed the opportunity of a lifetime to know the greatest being ever to exist.

The works that Jesus performed testify of who He is. If He has done the things that the gospels tell us, then He is not just a man; He has the power that only God could have.

John 10:25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.”

John 10:37-38 “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.

It is impossible that Jesus is simply “a legend,” for legends and myths do not carry the weight of evidence that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ presents. The entire civilization of all mankind was changed by the witness of those who recorded the events of Jesus’ brief time here on earth. The record of His life and the things that He has said and done have been copied and distributed in greater numbers than any other event in the history of the world. The men who witnessed Jesus Christ alive, three days after He was brutally murdered, were willing to die rather than recant their testimony that the things they wrote were true. The countless number of lives who were changed by coming into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, numbering into the billions, is real and credible evidence that the person of Jesus Christ is both real and alive to the present day. Finally, the massive number of Old Testament prophecies which were written for the Messiah—which Jesus fulfilled in perfect detail in the New Testament accounts, carry great weight in validation Him as the object of these prophecies. We cannot overlook the immense evidence that predictive and fulfilled prophecy presents us. To ignore or refute these facts is foolish and dishonest.

Jesus challenged us to examine what He has done in order to determine who He is. These things testify of His true identity.

It is so easy to dismiss altogether the testimony about Jesus in the Bible, by saying that these accounts were written long after they occurred, as modern apostate commentators so often do today. You will not hear these self-proclaimed experts of historical evidence make the same accusations against any other secular record for any other person of history. Homer’s Iliad is documented by copies which are dated at least one thousand years after the events occurred, yet no one disputes their authenticity. The account of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels of the New Testament, has today been proven to have been written as soon as 28 years after the events took place.

One of the most stunning discoveries in the field of New Testament reliability came from an Egyptologist in the late 19th century by the name of Charles B. Huleatt. Three small fragments of papyrus from upper Egypt, found at Magdalen College, Oxford in 1901, contained twenty four lines from the gospel of Matthew Chapters 26:23 and 31. Dr. Carsten Peter Thiede, the director of the Institute of Basic Epistemological Research in Paderborn, Germany, discovered by a scanning laser microscope that these fragments were certainly from the original gospel of Matthew that was written while Matthew was still alive, about 60 A.D.[4] This is just 28 years after Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead. This means that the Gospel of Matthew that we have in our possession today was written by Matthew Himself, while he was still alive.

The events of Jesus’ life and the works that He performed are recorded in greater numbers and closer to the time when He accomplished these things, than any other person of history. Yet, He is dismissed as a fraud—not because of the evidence but because of presupposition and a profound hatred for who He is.

The reason that the world hates Jesus is because He said that we are all sinners and that we will all perish if we do not receive Him as our Lord and Savior. He left no other alternative. It is for this reason that people abhor Him and refuse to acknowledge His claims upon their life—not because of the facts or the evidence.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

Anytime you hear a person state that there is insufficient evidence for the existence of God, or that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, you are hearing the words of a person who has not determined these conclusions based on facts but on his own personal predisposition that he will not believe, no matter what proof is presented to him.

“The atheistic position that there is “no God” is illogical. In order to know that there is no God without a doubt, a person would have to examine every piece of evidence that is available. Since no person has ever examined all of the evidence in the world for the existence of God, they really do not know whether or not He exists. Therefore, the most that anyone can honestly say is “I don’t know if there is a God.” A true atheist is someone who has examined all of the available evidence and concluded that “there is no proof for God.” Since no one could possibly examine all of the evidence for God, by definition, being a true atheist is not possible.”[5] —Robert Clifton Robinson

This is why men hated Jesus when He came to Jerusalem and announced the time for men to repent of their sins and receive Him as their Savior. It is the same reason that men hate Jesus today and stubbornly refuse His claims upon their life.

Lack of evidence has nothing to do with the world’s hatred of Jesus.

It is because the evidence is so great and irrefutable, that Jesus is hated so adamantly. Many men who have made claims to be God during the history of the world were quickly discounted as insane and forgotten. This is because there was no credible evidence for the assertions that they made. Why is it that people hate Jesus so vehemently? Because the evidence to support what He claimed about Himself is beyond repudiation. This is why people try so hard to discredit Him. If Jesus were not who He claimed to be, no one would pay Him any attention. The fact that He remains, to the present day, the most important person in the history of the world is evidence of His claims. Many millions of men and women over the course of the past two thousand years have tried to discredit Jesus, and they have all failed. They are all dead and gone, and Jesus is still alive and changing people’s lives. Jesus is more prominent today in the world than at any other time in history. Why? Because everything that He has said and done have been proven to be true.

Hatred of Jesus began before man was created:

The hatred that the world has for Jesus began with satan. As Lucifer sought to ascend into heaven, far about the throne of God, he was cast down to the earth. Jesus said that He saw satan fall from heaven.

Luke 10:18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

The evil of this present world originated in a fervent hatred for God before the first man was created. Lucifer coveted the power and glory that God possessed, and he wanted it for his own. When he was cast out of heaven and consigned to eternal condemnation, Lucifer became satan and set out in his hatred to destroy everything that God planned for mankind, including the death of the promised Messiah. When Jesus came in fulfillment of the Scriptures, He forever defeat satan and the power of sin and death. The reason that the world hates those who believe in and follow Jesus is because it first hated God who said that the deeds of men are evil.

John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

Why is it that all of the other religions of the world are at least tolerable to most people?

Because they have one thing in common: They allow many ways to God, and these ways are based on works that we can do to make ourselves acceptable to God. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ states that we are lost, without hope, and that we cannot save ourselves. We can only be saved if we humble ourselves, repent of our sins, and surrender ourselves totally to Jesus Christ as the only way to heaven.

John 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.

The world hates Jesus because He claimed to be the only way to God. Not one of many ways, but the only acceptable and exclusive way to heaven and eternal life.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

If Jesus had simply stated that His way was the best way but not the only way, His message would not be nearly as intolerable. Human beings have a problem with being offered ultimatums. Many people resent the fact that Jesus claimed to be the only way to heaven and that by not receiving Him, they will condemn themselves to eternal separation from God. In my conversations with people, they have assumed that the Christian church has taken the stance that Christianity is the only way to heaven. In fact, none of us has established that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. Jesus Himself said this, and the Bible echoes this fact throughout the New Testament (John 14:6, above).

The issue of trust is often the largest barrier for many people in finding salvation in Christ. Because a great number of people have been hurt, betrayed and disappointed by other people, they find that it is hard for them to trust anyone, let alone God.

Many years ago, I had a dear friend who served with me as an elder in one of the two churches in which I was the pastor. It was clear to me that he had some difficulty with the issues of trust. He told me that he did not feel that any one man should be given the right to make decisions in the church without a vote of the entire church. His issue was trust; and because all men are fallible, no man can really be trusted. I told my friend that in the case of a pastor and his elders, trust was an absolute necessity. It would be impossible to serve together if we did not mutually trust each other. Otherwise, we would constantly be trying to determine what the true motivations of those we served with, were, and we would not be able to fully commit ourselves to anything. Unless a man felt that He had complete trust in the pastor whom he was serving, he would never be able to support any of the decisions that were made. Either we believe that someone has the best of intentions and give them the freedom to fail, learn, and begin again, or we will not be able to serve the body of Christ in any ministry. Trust is an absolute requirement.

Upon being confronted with his inability to trust, he picked up his keys, left the room, went to the church and took his personal belongings, and never came back.

When we are faced with an ultimatum, many of us will often rebel and become angry. It is pride that is the central issue and the problem which is often insurmountable to many human beings. Pride is the barrier which prevents us from accepting Jesus as our Savior by the surrender of our life to Him. First, we must have reached a place where we are willing to subdue our pride, humble ourselves and admit that we are a sinner and that we need a Savior. Then, upon examining the evidence of Jesus’ life and the great number of prophecies that He fulfilled, along with the many works that He did which all verify that He is who He claimed to be, we can deal with the major issues of trust.

Will we trust Him?

This is the primary question that the Lord asks of us, not just at the first moment that we trust Him with our eternal life but an enduring question all throughout our life. Everyday, Jesus will ask us if we are willing to trust Him. At each trial, during all of our suffering, in all losses and during each discouragement—the question is always the same: “Will you trust me?”

Isaiah predicted in this 236th Old Testament Prophecy, that when the Messiah comes to the earth, the chief focus of the world will be its hatred of Jesus because He convicts the world of its sin. Isaiah used the word despised to describe the Messiah because of the true feelings that many people will have towards Him. A person may dislike another person, but to despise someone is to look upon a person with great contempt and regard this person as weak or worthless. There is perhaps no stronger word that could have been used to describe the world’s hatred for the Messiah than—despised.

Each of us have but one life to make our decision as to whether we will despise and reject Jesus, or love and embrace Him. Most importantly, will we trust Him? To reject Jesus is to despise, abhor, and assign Him a place of unworthiness in our life. I pray that you will discover the truth about Jesus and that by embracing this truth, you will be able to experience the incredible blessings that He has planned for you; if you will only submit your life to Him and trust Him.


NOTES:
[1] 1.P.E. Easterling, E. J. Kenney (general editors), The Cambridge History of Latin Literature, page 892 (Cambridge University Press, 1982, reprinted 1996). ISBN 0-521-21043-7
A political history of early Christianity by Allen Brent 2009 ISBN 0-567-03175-6 pages 32-34
Robert Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000. p 39- 53.
2. Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0-391-04118-5 page 42
Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 2001 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 page 343
Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation by Helen K. Bond 2004 ISBN 0-521-61620-4 page xi
Tradition and Incarnation: Foundations of Christian Theology by William L. Portier 1993 ISBN 0-8091-3467-5 page 263
[2] Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels by Micjhael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200
[3] Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity, London: Collins, 1952, p54-56. (In all editions, this is Bk. II, Ch. 3, “The Shocking Alternative.”) Forty years earlier, G. K. Chesterton used a similar argument about someone else in his The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904), where Adam Wayne is described this way: “He may be God. He may be the Devil. But we think it more likely as a matter of human probability that he is mad.” See Cecil Chestrton, G. K. Chesterton: A Criticism (Seattle: Inklng, 2007), 26.Quoted by Neely Tucker, “The Book of Bart”, Washington Post 5 March 2006
[4] Thiede, Carsten Peter & D’Ancona, Matthew, The Jesus Papyrus, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1996.
[5] Robert Clifton Robinson, 2013

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