“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
Explanation and Commentary of Isaiah 53:3
One of the most well-known prophecies about the suffering Savior, Jesus Christ, it is remarkable how accurately Isaiah predicted the events that would befall Christ. Then again, it is not remarkable considering God is the author of prophecy. The misconceptions about the way Messiah would come and how he would save the Jews were many, but it is hard to understand how, having access to the prophets, they failed to recognize the Son of God when he came, both before and after his death and resurrection.
It was necessary for the man of sorrows to suffer. It was the main thing that he came to do, paying the price for our sin and rebellion so that we could be reconciled to God and one another (2 Cor 5:18). This was necessary because the penalty for sin against God is death (Ro 6:23; Ge 2:17) and there is no way in our fallen flesh for us to keep to the law to the perfection that God, in his own holiness requires. He could require no less and still keep to his own integrity, but because he is rich in mercy (Eph 2:4), he knew from the very beginning how he would forgive men and adopt them into his family.
It is right for us to mourn for the Savior in his suffering, and weep for what he went through as we thank him and praise his holy name. We should also use the memory of his torment to help us to remember not to take for granted the great price he paid for our righteousness. We should give our lives and our worship to him to his worthy because he was slain (Rev 5:9).
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Isaiah 53:3
#1 “He was despised…”
For those who rejected Jesus, it wasn’t enough to dismiss him and his claims, but they went so far as to hate him. Perhaps their hatred should be seen as the proof that they actually may have believed, but did not want to, fearing their loss of status should his claims be true, as deep down they knew to be the case.
#2 “…and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering and familiar with pain.”
Though it cannot have been a surprise to Jesus, knowing as he did the necessity of his rejection, betrayal, and death (Lk 13:33), nothing seemed to grieve him more than the failure of his people to accept him and his loving attempt to gather them to safety (Mt 23:37-39).
#3 “Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
Those from whom men hide their faces have been shamed by society and are not recognized, counted as inhuman because of some transgression. This treatment of Jesus was necessary for his death to be effective. He had to take on the sins and shame of the world for its fallen state, and this was part and parcel of the process.
Bible Study on Isaiah 53:3
Expert Overview of Isaiah 40-66
Biblical Translations of Isaiah 53:3
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.