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Isaiah 53:3 • tv207a
A television broadcast sermon delivered
Sunday, November 13th, 1983
Henry T. Mahan
Transcribed, edited and published
March 4th, 2011
Henry T. Mahan Tape Library
Zebulon Baptist Church
6088 Zebulon Highway
Pikeville, KY 41501
“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.”
I have for you today, what I believe is a very, very, important message. I am going to be speaking from the Book of Isaiah Chapter 53. I will be reading verse 3 for my text.
Here is the title of the message; I have entitled this message: “THE CHRIST OF THE BIBLE.”
Not many years ago a man said to me; “there is something that I do not understand, will you please explain it to me?” I said; “what is it?” He said, “Well, the Bible, speaking of Jesus Christ, says this in Isaiah 53; “He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows acquainted with grief and we hid as it were our faces from Him. He was despised and we esteemed him not.”
“Is that correct?” I said, “That is what it says.”
He said, “Doesn’t it say over in the Book of Matthew that when our Lord came into a city one time that all the people of the city, great multitudes, came out to meet Jesus Christ and they asked Him to leave their country and not come back?”
Is that correct? I said, “That’s exactly right; they asked Him to leave their country and never return.”
He also said, “Doesn’t it say in the Book of John Chapter 15, of which the Lord Jesus Himself is speaking, “if the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you.”
I said, “That’s exactly what it says.” Christ said that many times. He told His disciples one time; “marvel not if the world hate you, it hated me before it hated you.” Don’t be amazed that people hate you because they hate Christ.
Then He said, “Didn’t Pilate ask the people of which there was a multitude gathered on that special day, and He asked them; “whom shall I release unto you, Barabbas a thief, a condemned criminal, a convicted murderer? Shall I release unto you Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Christ? Didn’t the people say, “Give us Barabbas; we prefer Barabbas to Jesus Christ?”
Pilate said, “What shall I do with Jesus?” The people said, “Crucify Him.” I said, “That’s correct.” They said, “Give us a thief and crucify Jesus Christ.” That is what they thought of Him.
And he said, “Didn’t Jesus say over in Luke 10, “He that heareth you heareth me and he that despiseth you, despiseth me, and he who despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me?” I said, “That is exactly correct!
The Bible says all of those things that you have mentioned. But, He said; “What does all that mean?” He said, “No one hates Jesus. Why, He fed the hungry and He healed the sick. He raised the dead and He blessed the children. He went about doing good; people don’t hate Jesus.”
My reply was this; now you listen to me; “all of those Scriptures that I read to you are right there in the Word of God and you have read them and you have heard them. “He was despised and rejected of men.”
He was hated; “we hid as it were our faces from Him.” He was crucified and slain, and rejected of all men. “He came unto His own and His own received Him not. He was in the world and the world knew Him not.”
My reply was this; the people of the world, then and now, the people of the world did not hate Jesus of Nazareth because of what He did. They didn’t hate Him because of what He did; they hated Him because of what He said.
Will you please listen to this? They didn’t hate Jesus of Nazareth for what He did. They hated Him then and they hate Him now for what He said and what He claimed for Himself, what He declared about redemption, about His Father, about sin, about them, and about Himself.
That is why they hated Him. Now listen carefully; don’t leave; I will show you something but you may not have understood it up to this point. They didn’t hate Jesus Christ when He performed miracles. They rather lauded and praised Him.
It says in John Chapter 2, verse 23 and I see the preachers talk about “Jesus healing” and all of these other things. I know God heals but that is not the issue. It wasn’t the issue then and it is not the issue now.
Nobody hates a doctor, nobody hates a healer, and nobody hates a man who relieves people of pain. These people didn’t hate Him for that purpose. In John Chapter 2 verse 23, now listen; “when He was at Jerusalem at the Passover, many believed in his name when they saw the miracles which he did.”
But, He did not commit Himself to them because He knew what was in them and “He needed not that any man testify of man, for he knew what was in man.”
Why, they believed on Him when they saw the miracles. In John 6:14, when our Lord fed the 5,000, He took five loaves and two fishes and fed 5,000 men, not counting women and children.
Do you know what they said when they got done eating that fine meal? They said, “This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.” They followed Him all the way to the other side of the sea. When He healed people they praised Him. When He fed them they followed Him.
In Matthew 21, when He rode into Jerusalem (you know this is so), when He rode into Jerusalem on the donkey, the Jewish people in multitudes spread their garments, the Scripture says, right here in Matthew 21; “they spread their garments before Him.”
They cut palm branches from trees and spread them in His path. They began to cry; “blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna to the Son of David.”
Oh, they had visions of great earthly kingdoms. They had visions of Jesus of Nazareth sitting on a throne and restoring the Jews to the power and glory of David and Solomon. They were so excited about it that they didn’t know what to do.
So, I am saying that there was no conflict with Jesus Christ concerning what He did, it was what He said. Now listen to me; what He did was not the issue (and I am telling you this now); you will never reveal the true feelings of a man’s heart towards Jesus Christ by talking about His power to heal.”
Nobody objects to that; everybody is for that and you can talk about it from now until He comes back to the earth. You will never reveal the true feelings of a man’s heart about Jesus Christ. I’m talking about His power to heal or talking about His power to feed the hungry or His power to give benefits and blessings to those who follow Him.
The true nature of men, their true feelings toward Jesus Christ are revealed when you preach to them what He said. When you preach to them the Gospel which He preached, when you declare the doctrines that our Lord Jesus Christ set forth, that is when the true enmity, that is when the true hatred comes forth from the human heart.
I want you to listen very carefully. Do you hear what I am saying so far? I have tried to lay a foundation from the Scriptures that is true. It wasn’t what Christ did that brought about the enmity of heart against Him. It wasn’t what Christ did, it was what He said.
Now listen to these Scriptures; Matthew 7:28, “and it came to pass when Jesus had ended these sayings that the people were astonished at His doctrine,” when He ended these sayings, “they were astonished at His doctrine.”
Then, listen to this in Luke 4:28; “and all that were in the synagogue, when they heard these things, (not when they saw the miracles and people breaking crutches and throwing away wheelchairs and things), when they heard these things they were filled with wrath.”
The wrath came because of what they heard. What they heard is what He said, not what He did, but what He said.
Then, in John 10:19; listen to this Scripture, “there was a division among them for these sayings.” Now, there was a division among the people because of Him and the reason was because of what He said and what He preached, what our Lord declared unto them.
In John 6, verse 60; listen to this, “many of His disciples, when they heard this; (our Lord had preached to them, and when they heard what He said, they declared); this is a hard saying, who can hear it? And they went back and walked no more with Him.”
Do you see what I am saying? Our Lord could heal the sick and raise the dead. He could give sight to the blind and cause the lame to walk. He could feed the hungry and do all of these things and they had no objections whatsoever.
But, when He began to declare who He is and what He came to do in His Father’s will and in His Father’s power, all of these things concerning His Gospel; that is when there was a division. That’s when wrath came up in their hearts against Him. That is when they declared war against Him and that is when they set about to kill Him because of what He said.
I have given you that again, and again. “When He finished these sayings, the people were astonished.” When they heard these things “they were filled with wrath.” There was a division for these sayings.
Then, when His disciples, not the twelve, but His followers, when they heard these sayings, they said; “we can’t hear that and they went back and walked no more with Him.”
I am saying this as clearly as I can say it; men do not despise and they do not reject Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord Jesus Christ because of charity, everybody loves charity, there is nobody against charity.
They didn’t reject Him and despise Him because of good works. Who on earth would line up against good works? They didn’t despise Him and reject Him because of morality. Most everybody I know is for morality.
But, they refused His person and His work in redemption. And the storm that rages about Jesus of Nazareth, the storm that rages has always raged about the head of the Lord Jesus Christ and it involves four things. I am going to deal with them in the time that we have got left together.
There are four things involved in this storm about the head of Jesus of Nazareth:
First of all: Who is He? Loud and clear, who is He?
Secondly: What did He come to do?
Thirdly: What authority and power and right does He have, what authority?
Fourthly: Where is He now?
I want you to listen to the Scriptures. If you care to, take your Bible and follow with me in John 10:30 through verses 33, starting with John 10 verse 30:
The Lord Jesus said, “I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones to stone Him.” And He said to them; “many good works have I done among you. For which of these works do you stone Me?”
And they said, “For a good work we stone thee not,” (they have no objections to good works). We are not stoning you because of good works; that is not why we are angry. We are stoning you because you are a man and you make yourself God; you claim to be God.”
They understood exactly what He was saying. These men understood exactly what Jesus Christ was claiming. They didn’t care if He roamed the streets and healed the sick. They didn’t care if He roamed the streets and made the blind to see. They didn’t care if He roamed the streets and relieved the poverty and distress; they said, “You can’t be God.”
That is exactly what they were angry about. It is a clear issue; it was to them and it ought to be to you and me.
Look at Isaiah 7:14; let me read you some Scripture. In Isaiah 7:14 the Scripture says, “behold the Lord Himself will give you a sign, a virgin shall be with child and bring forth a Son and you will call His name Immanuel.” Do you know what Immanuel means? It means God with us.
In Isaiah 9:6 the prophet wrote, “Unto us a child is born; unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.”
When you look at Christ you are looking at God. When you are hearing Christ you are hearing God. When you believe Christ you will believe God “for I and My Father are one.”
That was the issue; that is what brought the wrath. That is what brought the anger from the people. That is what made them nail Him to a cross, they said; “we have no king but Caesar. We will not have this man reign over us.”
He was rejected in His office as King. He was mocked in His office as King. He was crucified with that claim written in three languages over His cross and He is exalted right now in heaven as King. Now; that is the issue; He is God Almighty.
John 1: verses 1 through 3 says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Listen to this verse! When Paul was leaving the elders at Ephesus, he said to them; “you take heed to yourselves and to the flock over which God hath made you overseers and you feed the flock of God which He has purchased with His own blood.” “You feed God’s church, God’s people, which God purchased with His own blood.” God was in Christ.
When Thomas fell at His feet, he looked into the face of Jesus Christ and said; “my Lord and my God.” The writer of the Book of Hebrews says, the Father declares, “let all the angels of God worship Him.”
And again, he said in Hebrews 1:8; “thy throne O God is forever.” I am telling you, you can raise a lot of ruckus and a lot of things like that by drawing up issues in your church. I will tell you where the issue is; it is who is Jesus Christ, who is He?
That was the issue then and that is the issue now. That is what brought the wrath. This man says, “They don’t hate Jesus.” They don’t hate the Jesus that they are hearing preached because He has been whittled down. He has been made in the image that men will let Him bear instead of bearing the image of the heavenly Father. Who is He?
All right; in John 8:56, now listen to this; our Lord said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. He saw it and was glad.” And the Jews said, “You are not even 50 years old. Have you seen Abraham?” He said, “Before Abraham was; I am.”
“Then they took up stones to stone Him.” When? When He said, “Before Abraham was I am?” I AM is the name of God.
Second: The second great issue is this; what did Jesus Christ the Son of God come into the world to do?
“He came into the world to save sinners;” that is why He came, to save sinners by His obedience and His sacrificial, substitutionary death. These men, these religious men rejected His charges against them.
He said that they were sinners. They said, “We be not sinners.” He said, “All men are sinners.” They rejected His charges against them when He said, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
“We have never been in bondage to anybody; we are not in bondage.” Christ said, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” He is in bondage to sin.
Then they said, “We be not born of fornication.” That is; “we be not born in sin. We don’t believe in original sin.” “We have one father even God.” He said, (now listen to this), He said; “No, you are of your father the devil; his works you will do. He was a liar from the beginning and you are a liar just like he is a liar.”
That’s what upset them and that is what made them angry. Our Lord Jesus Christ declared their true condition. They said, “We are not in bondage. We weren’t born in sin; we be not sinners; God is our father.”
Christ said, “You were born in sin. You are the servants of sin. The devil is your father and you need mercy.” That was it; they hated it.
They resented His love for sinners and His association with sinners. The Pharisees said to His disciples, “why does your Master eat with Publicans and sinners?” Our Lord heard them, He said; “because the well don’t need a doctor but they that are sick.”
“I’ve come not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. You go learn what that means. The Son of man has come to seek and to save the lost.” That was offensive to those good, moral, righteous, religious men.
It is offensive today. It offends man’s dignity. It offends his ego and it offends his pride to tell him that he was born in sin and is corrupt by nature, a child of wrath, and does not know God, that
God is the Father of all men.
He is the Father of believers in Christ. They said, “God is our Father.” He said, “The devil is your Father.” That is what made them mad and that is what men hate today.
I answered the man’s question. He said, “Nobody hates Jesus.” I said, “They do hate the Christ of the Bible.”
Third: The third great issue was His authority.
Listen to this in Luke 4; “And all they that were in the synagogue, when they heard these things, they were filled with wrath and they rose up and thrust Him out of the city and led Him to the brow of the hill and would have murdered him but He passed through their midst. His time was not yet come.”
What brought on this awful, dreadful, act of anger and wrath? What made these people who were worshipping in a temple on the Sabbath Day, what made them turn into a lynch-mob?
It is what He said, not what He did, but what He said. You might say, “Preacher, for heaven’s sake, what did He say?” I will tell you what He said, He told them the truth; He said, “I tell you a truth.”
You see, all of these people assumed they were people of God. They were Israelites; they were of the seed of Abraham by flesh. They kept the Sabbath Day; they kept the Law, and did all of these things. They assumed they had a corner on God.
Our Lord said to them; “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elijah sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow (a gentile). And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them were cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian (a gentile).”
That’s when they grew angry, when our Lord declared, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious. I will be merciful to whom I will be merciful. So then; it is not of him that willeth nor him that runneth but it is of God that showeth mercy.”
And they rose up in such anger that they would have killed Him. They tried to throw Him off of a cliff because He told them that salvation is of the Lord and that men have no corner on God, and God is not obligated to any man and “all authority is given unto Him in heaven and in earth.”
That is what He said. He prayed that in John 17; He said, “Father; Thou hast given me all authority over all flesh that I should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Me.”
The leper said to Him one day; “Lord, if you will, you can make me whole.” My friend; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” What He said then, He says today. What He was then, He is today. What He did then, He does today. That’s right; He is God!
He came to save sinners and He will save whom He will; salvation is the gift of God. It is through the mercy of God. It is not earned, it is not bought; God is under no obligation and that is true.
You now better understand why they hated Him, don’t you? Because, don’t you feel “That’s not fair,” some of you are rising up in your heart and saying, “that’s not fair.” If God does it, it is right. You see, God is the standard of right, not you and me.
Fourthly: The fourth great issue is this; where is He now? Where is Jesus Christ now? Where is He now? He has to be somewhere; where is He now?
In John 6:60, listen; “Many of His disciples when they heard this said, This is a hard saying, who can hear it?” When Jesus knew that they murmured at His Word, He said to them; “does this offend you?”
What He has been talking about is a vital union with Christ, eating His flesh, and drinking His blood, salvation is by grace, and His sovereignty. They were offended. He said, “Does this offend you? What will be your reaction when you see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before?”
If this offends you wait until you see where He is now. You talk about offensive! You might say, “Well, where is He now? “He is exalted and seated at the right hand of the Majesty in glory.” That is why they hated, despised, rejected, man of sorrows, Jesus of Nazareth, is right now; He is on the right hand of God.
You see; when He was buried and rose again, He ascended as our great high priest. He ascended to heaven and the Scripture says, “This man after He had offered one sacrifice for sin forever, sat down on the right hand of God as our great high priest.”
“He entered not into the holy place made with hands but into heaven itself.” And there on the mercy seat of glory; (Christ Himself is the mercy seat, the altar, the sacrifice, and the atonement and the one to whom it is made), for there, on the mercy seat of glory, our Lord perfected and sanctified every believer.
Christ ascended as our Mediator. There is one God and there is one man, “one Mediator between God and men and that is the man Christ Jesus.”
Our Lord sits at the right hand of God and you might say, “What does He do?” He ever lives to make intercession for me and for you. He ascended with all power as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Jesus Christ is coming again and the Scripture says, “When He comes again, every eye will see and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. Every knee will bow to the glory of God the Father.”
So, when the man asked me this question, “Do men hate Jesus Christ?” I said, “They surely do.”
You may not believe that anybody hates Jesus. They don’t hate the Jesus that is a figment of their own imagination.
They hate the Jesus of the Bible, the Christ of the Bible, who has all authority, who is prophet, priest, and king, who reigns in glory, who is the “only mediator between God and men.”