A Tender Plant

Isaiah 53:2.

For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.

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Setting the scene, Verse 2 talks about the childhood of Jesus.  No myths or fairy tales here. He was,  however, like a small sprout, a tender shoot, growing out of a decayed stock or stump of a tree that was apparently dead. This refers to His infancy, a sucking child, already predicted by the prophet ( v.2; 7:14; 9:6-7;11:1-2) and fulfilled in Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-55.

The second part of our verse speaks of His suffering. He had no beautiful form, because sin had marred His perfect face. Comeliness in the Hebrew word meant magnificence; splendor; glory; honor, excellency; majesty. He had none of this during His sufferings, but now He has it more than anyone else, except the Father and the Holy Spirit ( Eph. 1:20 -23;Phil. 2:9-11; Col. 1:15-18; I Pet. 3:22).

His lack of physical beauty was only during His suffering.  It is clear from the throngs who followed Him that He was indeed good to look upon; that He had an appeal about Him that made it possible for Him to enter a synagogue and teach as a known Rabbi. I hesitate to use words like aura or charisma, because they are so over-used and misused in today’s superlative-driven language.  I do believe it is true, though that He was most handsome.  I believe He was full of dignity, authority, and confidence.  I’ve just read an unattributed description of Him, and it was full of flowery language.  I don’t think Jesus was a flowery man.  He worked in Joseph’s carpentry shop; His hands were very likely calloused, rough, and very strong.  He did not live a soft and elegant life, but grew up among the poor.  But in spite of His being a mere Nazarene,  He attracted people wherever He went because He was full of grace and truth.

Luke 2:42 tells us that Jesus, as a child, increased in wisdom (intellect), stature (physical maturity), favor with God (spiritual growth) and favor with man (social growth).

It was this fine and unusually beautiful Man that was tortured to a point of not even looking human before He was placed on the cross.


Stony Places

Matthew 13:20-21. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it: Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”

The stony ground represents the person who hears the Word, and seems to receive it joyfully. Older believers may become quite excited at this person’s early enthusiasm for the Word, but as time passes they are disappointed to see that the early joy does not last.  When trouble comes, and it always will, this person is seen to have no depth, no place for a root to take hold. The heat increases, and the quickly-springing plant withers under the blast.

No fruit. This person is offended; that is, he is easily caused to stumble off the path set by the Word, and he fails in his journey.

Psalm 119:165. “Great peace have they which love Thy law; and nothing shall offend them.”