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Research Report 1

Research Report 1

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Published by: Jason Brooks Stansel on Oct 20, 2010
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10/20/2010

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A proper understanding of the Messiah’s character is crucial in developing a healthy,God-honoring relationship with Him. How can a person experience intimacy with someonewhom they do not know? They cannot, and it is for this very reason that time and energymust be spent examining the person of the Messiah. It is intimacy with Him which propels usto new Spiritual heights and understanding, to a deeper love for the Father who saves us. Thisundivided devotion, grounded in the true character of Christ, is what matters most in the lifeof a committed disciple, and especially a person in ministry. For the Kingdom-builder todevelop a view of the Messiah which contradicts His true nature is to cause more damage tothe Body than can be imagined. Thus, to remedy such potentially damaging effects on God’skingdom, it is good to search Scripture for insight into the personal character of the Messiah.The book of Isaiah is a good place to start, for it is here that God most plainly reveals His plan for the Chosen One, including the kind of man He would be: a suffering servant,compassionate to all, who was despised by many and altogether undesirable to those whorefused him as Lord.SUMMATION OF RELEVANT RESEARCHIt is clear that God’s path for the Messiah was to be marked by humility, lowliness,and suffering, starting even from His birth. Isaiah prophecied He would “[sprout] up like atwig before God,
like a root out of parched soil...
” (Isa. 53:2 New English Translation; italicsmine)
1
, metaphorically indicating that the nature of His birth, and the circumstances in which
1
1
All Scripture references are cited from the New English Translation.
 
He existed, would be poor, even “miserable”.
2
Some scholars argue this passage is areference to the Messiah’s fallen heritage, or, more specifically, to his ancestry from the“sterile house” of David.
3
But it seems also to imply something about the generation to whichhe would be born; that is, he would walk among, and minister to, a spiritually dry people whocould no more see His destiny as the redeemer of the world than they could their own sin.And, as we see in the New Testament, this is certainly true. Israel expected the Messiah toshow himself in splendor and extravagance when, in fact, He came as quite the opposite,unsightly in form and lowly in status.
4
Some would argue the opposite, however, suggestingthe Messiah was actually perfect in human form and pleasant to the eye.
5
The “uncomliness”spoken of in Isaiah, according to proponents othis view, refers instead to the moral“loveliness” exhibited by the Messiah which would be lost on those who preferred their ownsinfulness to the teachings of the Chosen One.
6
 This view pays no homage to the theme of lowliness and humilityfound throughoutIsaiah’s prophecy of the coming Messiah. There is no indication in Isaiah’s description thatthe Chosen One would be desirable in
any
way, as the word used in Isa. 53:2, “hâdâr”, meansliterally “ornament or splendor:--beauty, comeliness, excellency, glorious, glory, goodly,
2
2
Harry Bultema,
Commentary on Isaiah 
(Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregal Publications, 1923), 507.
3
Bultema, 508.
4
Ibid., 506-507.
5
H. A. Ironside,
Expository Notes on the Prophet Isaiah 
(New York: Loizeaux Brothers, Inc, 1952),298-299).
6
Ibid.
 
honour, majesty.”
7
It is clear, then, that the Messiah was not beautiful in appearance, but thatGod’s theme of humility and lowliness was appropriately evident in His physical form aswell as in Israel’s reaction to his teaching. It is important to note that his plain, perhaps evenunsightly, appearance might have allowed him to relate more easily with the people whom hewould associate himself with most: the outcast and oppressed, a fact which must not beignored by those claiming commitment to Christ.APPLICATION TO MODERN CHRISTIANITYUnderstanding the lowly nature of the Messiah’s character, the humble position whichhe held in every aspect, will help shape the modern Christian’s philosophy of ministry in a profound way. This philosophy should take into account Jesus’ emphasis on ministry to themarginalized, including women, lepers, and harlots, the people who seemed most acutelyaware of their sin and who showed desperation for redemption and yearning for truth. And hedid so with all humility, a principle many of us have forgotten, including some pastors of today. To use an example, Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill church in Seattle, Washington isquoted in
 Relevant Magazine
as saying:Some emergent types [want] to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dresswith a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy Zenstatements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. InRevelation, Jesus is a prize fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in Hishand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can
3
7
James Strong,
St ong 
ʼ   
s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible 
(Nashville: Thomas NelsonPublishers, 1996)

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