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…
In the Gospel we see this rejection in actual occurrence.
I. HE WAS DESPISED AND REJECTED BY THE WORLDLY-MINDED (John 6). Following Christ for the sake of bread may lead to much enthusiastic and self-denying exertion. Here, the very meanest view of Christ is preferred to those lofty and spiritual truths by which He tried to allure and save their souls. In his presence, before His face, while listening to His voice, and with the splendour of the miracle before them — all are passed by for the bread. Is not this the essence of worldly-mindedness? Christianity is the religion of many, not for the sake of the Lord Himself, nor His gracious words, nor even His miracles, but for the bread, for reputation's sake, and social character and respectability.
II. HE WAS DESPISED AND REJECTED BY THE RATIONALIST (Matthew 13:54-57). It was in "His own country." There men thought they knew Him; His family had long dwelt there. Parents, brothers, sisters were all familiarly known — all, down to their very trade: "Is not this the carpenter?" The facts of the case, as the rationalist is so fond of saying, were all clearly apprehended, and stood forth in their true dimensions. "Whence hath this man this wisdom and these mighty works?" Is it real? is it not on the face of it absurd, this mere carpenter's son? This is the inmost spirit of rationalism. It rejects everything above the level of visible and tangible fact, everything that cannot be weighed and measured, everything spiritual in Scripture doctrine and supernatural in Scripture history.
III. HE IS DESPISED AND REJECTED BY THE ECCLESIASTIC (Matthew 21:15-23). The ecclesiastical temper is not found solely or chiefly amongst those who are ecclesiastics by profession. The religious spirit may be crushed — indeed, has often been; rigid and severe forms may take the place of the easy and graceful motions of vital Christianity. "This" is "the rejection of Christ in the freedom by which His Holy Spirit "distributes to every man severally as He will."
IV. HE IS DESPISED AND REJECTED BY MEN OF BRUTE FORCE (Luke 23:11). To some the tenderness of the Gospel religion is an offence. Humanity is a peculiarly Christian virtue, and meekness and resignation. The calm tranquillity of meditation, the tearful eye of compassion, the sublime courage of patience, the dating heroism of forgiveness, excite no sympathy or admiration in some breasts. Theirs is the rejection of Christ; through a false manliness.
V. CHRIST IS DESPISED AND REJECTED BY HIS OWN (John 1:11). Some, from a natural sweetness and amiability of disposition, seem in a certain degree adapted to be Christians. The restraining effects of home discipline and generous education have restrained them from open transgression. Yet their rejection of Christ as a Saviour from sin is often most decided and even disdainful. They think the charge of sin inappropriate, for they have no consciousness of it, and no felt need of a Saviour. The sinfulness of rejecting Christ is seen in its being a rejection of the Father (Luke 10:16). It is not possible to reject Christ, and be right with God.
(S. H. Tindall.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.