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Missing Jesus in Isaiah?

G. Campbell Morgan

With regard to Israel it was true that "He came unto His own, and they that were His own received Him not." They did not receive Him, because partial blindness had fallen upon them even in regard to their own prophecies. It is remarkable that these people who possessed, and were supposed to be instructed in, the prophecies concerning the Messiah, had almost altogether lost sight of one side of the prophetic message concerning Him.

Isaiah had portrayed, in unmistakable lines, and with detailed definiteness, the picture of the suffering Servant of God. How wonderfully the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah was realized in the Person of Jesus Christ. But these people had not begun to understand the fact of the suffering of Messiah; they had no conception of a lowly, despised, and rejected Deliverer. They expected One Who should set up a kingdom of earthly power. And when He came from lowly and despised Nazareth, and took the position of the Son of God, they were incredulous, unbelieving, simply because they had not understood their own Scriptures.

The same prophet had announced the fact of the incarnation. "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel." To the Hebrew that was a descriptive name, and the simple meaning of Immanuel was "God with us." It was the distinct foretelling of the stupendous fact that He should be the Godman, but they had never realized it. The people had largely lost their spiritual sense, and were looking only for the advent of a great prince who should deliver them from the bondage of Roman tyranny, unmindful of the more awful slavery of materialism. They had no conception of the Servant of God as lowly and suffering, neither of that deeper and sublimer truth that God would be manifest in the flesh; consequently there was no preparation for His coming, no official national recognition of the advent.

Adapted from The Crises of the Christ, Book I, Chapter VI, by G. Campbell Morgan.

Originally published September 13, 2010.