Skip to main content

Isaiah 53:3 & meaning...

He 

was despised as one from whom men hide their face; and we didn’t respect him.

Isaiah 53:3

Context

Isaiah 53 [1.] Who has believed our message?

    To whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed?

For he grew up before him as a tender plant,

    and as a root out of dry ground.

He has no good looks or majesty.

    When we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He was despised,

    and rejected by men;

a man of suffering,

    and acquainted with disease.

He was despised as one from whom men hide their face;

    and we didn’t respect him.

Isaiah 53 [4.] Surely he has borne our sickness,

    and carried our suffering;

yet we considered him plagued,

    struck by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions.

    He was crushed for our iniquities.

The punishment that brought our peace was on him;

    and by his wounds we are healed.


Meaning:

Isaiah 53:3 stands as a profound testament to the suffering and rejection that the prophesied Messiah would endure. In just a few words, this verse encapsulates the depth of the Messiah's earthly journey, offering profound insights into the nature of His mission and the ultimate purpose of His sacrificial love.

  • Despised and Rejected: 
The Messiah, foretold by Isaiah, would not be greeted with acclaim and adoration. Instead, He would experience profound rejection and disdain from those He came to save. The rejection theme echoes throughout the New Testament, finding fulfillment in the rejection of Jesus by religious leaders, his own people, and even his closest associates during his earthly ministry (John 1:11; Mark 14:50).

  • A Man of Suffering: 
The Messiah's journey would be marked by suffering. Not just physical agony, but a deep, empathetic understanding of human pain and sorrow. This nuanced suffering goes beyond the physical realm, delving into the emotional and spiritual aspects of the human experience. In Jesus, we see a Savior who not only bore our sins on the cross but also entered into the depths of our suffering, making Him a compassionate and relatable High Priest (Hebrews 4:15).

  • Familiarity with Sickness: 

The Messiah would intimately know sickness. This goes beyond physical ailments, pointing to a profound identification with the brokenness and sinfulness of humanity. Jesus' healing ministry during His earthly life demonstrated not only His divine power but also His compassionate engagement with the suffering of individuals (Matthew 8:16-17).

  • Turned Away From: 

The imagery of people turning away from the Messiah conveys a sense of isolation and abandonment. This anticipates the loneliness Jesus experienced, not only during His trial and crucifixion but also in the garden of Gethsemane where His closest disciples fell asleep while He prayed in anguish (Matthew 26:36-46).

  • Not Valued: 

The rejection reaches its climax in the ultimate act of devaluation. The very One who came to offer redemption and reconciliation would be disregarded and underestimated. This echoes the paradox of the cross, where the greatest act of love and salvation was accomplished through an event that seemed foolish and weak to the world (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).


Isaiah 53:3, in its succinctness, encapsulates the heart of the Gospel narrative. It foreshadows the rejection and suffering of the Messiah, laying the groundwork for a deeper understanding of the redemptive work that would unfold. This verse sets the stage for the subsequent verses in Isaiah 53, which vividly portray the vicarious atonement accomplished by the suffering servant.

As we reflect on Isaiah 53:3, we are compelled to ponder the profound mystery of God's plan for salvation. The rejection and suffering of the Messiah were not arbitrary events but integral components of a divine strategy to reconcile humanity to God. In the despised and rejected Messiah, we find the source of our acceptance and the means by which our value and worth are restored.


PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible