Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
(Isaiah 53:1 NKJV)
This time of the year there is a lot of talk about the birth of Jesus (though not nearly as much as in past decades!). The Baby Jesus, the helpless infant lying in a manger is a heart-warming image. The Babe in the manger is also less threatening, disturbing, than the adult Jesus of Nazareth who claimed to be the Son of God and Savior of mankind!
Isaiah prophesied not only of the coming of the Messiah, but also of the attitude of skepticism and outright disbelief of those to whom He came. “Who as believed our report?” Isaiah asks. The Apostle John witnessed the rejection of Jesus Christ by the Jewish nation under the instigation of their religious leaders, as well as the ignorant indifference of the world in general:
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. (John 1:10-11)
The following illustration comes from Matthias Ruether, principal of Brake Bible and Missions School in Lemgo, Germany.
Imagine being not prepared when the king arrives. That's rather tragic. But this is just what happened in a small restaurant in Ladenburg near Heidelberg, Germany, on August 22, 2011. Around noon, a friendly-looking married couple in their mid-sixties was seen standing in front of the "Gueldener Stern" ("Golden Star"), the oldest inn in town, studying the menu. The proprietress walked up to them and told them, somewhat gruffly, that they were at capacity. She went on to explain that a wedding reception was taking place that day, and not one table was to be had. Maybe they'd have better luck in the pizza restaurant next door. So the famished couple walked over to the Italian restaurant, much to the joy of the pizza baker, who realized at once who stood in front of him - namely, the Swedish royal couple, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Sylvia! ….
When the proprietress (of the inn) was asked about her faux pas, she was more than just a little uncomfortable about it. "I just don't have time to read magazines all day," she offered in explanation as to why she did not recognize the royal visitors. . .
Christmas reminds us that the King of the world came. Unrecognized by most, he became man in a small town in Israel. "He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him" (John 1:11). Had the proprietress but recognized the Swedish royal couple, she would have been saved from major embarrassment. But there is a lot more at stake at Christmas. He who recognizes the Son of God will have eternal life. "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God," (John 1:12). (Translated from German by Ilka Jones)
"I just don't have time to read magazines all day," said the proprietress. But do folks today have even a few minutes of the day to read the Bible? Even those who profess to be Christians are too busy to read and study God’s Word. Surveys have indicated that only 10% of those who say they are evangelical Christians have read the Bible in its entirety. In Jesus’ day, even those who did read the Scriptures failed to recognize the Messiah when He was in their midst: “You search the Scriptures,” Jesus challenged the religious leaders, “for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” (John 5:39)
Who has believed our report? asks Isaiah. Indeed. I challenge every reader today to read all of Isaiah 53, and ask yourself honestly: “Who does this chapter describe?” And pray that God’s Holy Spirit would reveal Christ to you. For Isaiah goes on to ask: And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?”
Unless and until God opens a person’s heart and mind to the truth, that person will remain in darkness and ignorance. The problem is not intellectual – it is spiritual. Pride keeps people from yielding to Christ. Jesus prayed,
"I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. (Matthew 11:25-26)
Have you believed the report, the message of Christ prophesied centuries before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem? Have you embraced Him as your Lord and Savior?