Summary: People refused to heed the Servant of the Lord or His message & for that reason did not experience the power of His arm. For it is through heeding the message that the mighty arm of the Lord brings salvation, to believer & lost alike.
THE DESPISED FRIEND
[JOHN 1: 10-14]
Chapter 53 continues to speak of the Messiah, Jesus, who would suffer for the sins of all people. Such a prophecy is astounding! Who would believe that God would choose to save the world through a humble suffering servant rather than a glorious king? The idea is contrary to human pride and worldly ways.
So people refused to heed the Servant of the Lord or His message and for that reason they do not experience the mighty power of the arm of the Lord. For it is through heeding the message that the mighty arm of the Lord brings salvation, to believer and lost alike. There are two reasons given here that the world reject the Servant of God. The first is because they find the Servant unattractive. Second, because the way of the Servant is not popular with the world system, so He is despised and friendless. His low condition and especially His sufferings make Him an object of contempt. Isaiah wrote that people will not value the hidden strength of the Servant. We would reject Him because He was considered an ordinary person. But God often works in ways we don’t expect. The Messiah’s strength is shown through humility, suffering, and mercy.
But despite the fact that worldly people avoid becoming a friend with such a one as He; He is the only completely faithful friend any one can have. He is the "friend that sticketh closer than a brother" (Prov. ). For this friend willingly received the punishment that is due each and everyone of us for our transgressions and iniquities so that we might go eternally free.
The world may despise our Friend but we who come to know His mighty arm of salvation say, -"What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry everything to Him in prayer."
I. MESSAGE DISBELIEF, 1.
II. HUMBLE MESSENGER, 2.
III. PUBLIC REJECTION, 3.
God has been promising in Isaiah to save not only Israel but the world. Again in verse 1 we find that objective or message. Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
The Servant passage begins with two rhetorical questions. Who has believed our preaching or teaching? And, who has experienced its saving power?
These two parallel thoughts express the same idea. Believing what has been proclaimed and the revelation of the Lord’s strength are two aspects of the same thing. Whoever believes the Gospel Message is one who will experience the Lord’s saving power being extended to him. It was the arm of the Lord that brought Israel of old out of Egyptian slavery and it is the arm of the Lord that brings people out of the bondage of sin and death and into being a servant of God.
God manifests His delivering saving power through belief in His Servant and His Word. If His Servant and His Word are not believed, the delivering power of God is not revealed. When Paul quotes this verse in Romans 10:16, he follows it up with verse 17 as the interpretation. "So faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ."
Who has believed our report? Who would believe that when the delivering arm of God is reveal to save His people that it would look like Jesus? Who would believe that a deliverer would be so lowly and would fall so low as the means of delivering them? [The two NT quotations of the passage understand we or our to be the people of God who have heard the news and seen the revelation but have refused to believe (John 12:38; Rom. 10:16). Oswalt, Isaiah, 381]
If Israel had believed this prophecy concerning the Suffering Servant’s life, they might have recognized Him when He appeared. Neither the Jews or the world at large believed Him to be who He claimed to be, "the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Neither would they believe His teachings nor His mighty signs and works which proved Him to be who He said He is (Jn. 12:30).
Our message is this Suffering Servant’s incarnate birth, perfect life, atoning death, powerful resurrection and His glorious return. Our message is these events and their interpretation. Those who have ears to hear will experience the arm of the Lord. The arm is used as means of active power or strength (Deut., 4:34, 5:15, 26: 8). The arm of the Lord is the power of God that brings victory. No matter what enemies you face, even Satan, sin or the grave, His power is sufficient for all who believe His word.
Yes, the message is powerful to save, but not many people will receive it. Mt. 7:13-14 says, "The way is broad that leads to destruction- and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it."