Today, as I read from Isaiah 53 I have a Robin Mark song floating in my head. From his East of the River CD, the song is titled "Highly Exalted". Robin, the poet and song writer, takes his text from Isaiah 53 "You were despised, You were rejected Lord" and from the crucifixion "those who passed by even averted their gaze from the sight" and from the theological conclusion "such was the suffering you bore for us." In Verse two the pattern continues from Isaiah 53 "led like a lamb, a lamb to the slaughter you spoke not a word, but chose to be silent" and the theological conclusion "though you did not wrong nor was deceitfulness found in you."
Isaiah's image of the suffering servant is such an extraordinary parallel to the pictures we have from the gospels of Jesus death by crucifixion. Jesus did not defend himself (he remained silent) he was beaten, wounded, killed. Isaiah tells us that on him (the servant) was laid the transgressions of us all. That is, the Sin of the entire world was laid on Jesus as he went to the cross.
Despised by those who would not hear his word of hope and healing. Rejected by the very people he came to redeem. Curiously, this seems to be how Jesus is viewed by most in the world today. He is despised (or at least his church and followers appear to be) he is rejected (generally out of hand). Yet, for those who choose to embrace his suffering and follow in his footsteps, there is life and hope and joy unspeakable.
Someone once wrote (and for the life of me I cannot remember who) that Jesus only promised three things to his followers. 1. That they would be in constant trouble. 2. That they would be absolutely fearless. and, 3. That they would be ridiculously happy. I suppose I can handle a little despite and rejection if it is the price to live in unspeakable joy.