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. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): He is despised and rejected of men—accounted as the scum of mankind, as one unworthy of the company and conversation of all men.
JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people,” saith the Psalmist in the person of Christ, Psalm 22:6—A worm and no man, not held so good as wicked Barabbas, but crucified between two thieves, as worse than either of them, and made nothing of.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): It was not only His last scene that was tragical, but His whole life was a life of humiliation, meanness, poverty, and disgrace…He was born in a stable because there was no room in the inn, and for want of conveniences, nay for want of necessaries, he was laid in a manger, instead of a cradle.
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): This shows the meanness of our Lord’s birth, and into what a low estate he came; and that now, as afterwards, though Lord of all, yet had not where to lay His head in a proper place; and expresses His amazing grace, in that He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor.
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): “He came unto his own,” John 1:11—to those of His own family, city, country; and His own people. “And his own received him not”—would not acknowledge Him as the Messiah, nor believe in Him for salvation.
JOHN GILL: Christ suffered many things in His personal character, being traduced as a sinful and wicked man, and a friend and encourager of sinners; as a man of immoral principles and practices; as an idolater, a blasphemer, an impostor, a seditious person; as one that had had familiarity with the devil, and did His miracles by his assistance.
MATTHEW POOLE: “Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country,” John 4:44. Christ spake those words more than once, Matthew 13:57, Mark 6:4, Luke 4:24.
JOHN GILL: “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?” John 7:48—men famous for wisdom, learning, or holiness…He had none about Him of any rank or figure in life, only some few fishermen, and some women, and publicans, and harlots.
MATTHEW HENRY: The place where He preached—in Galilee, a remote part of the country, that lay furthest from Jerusalem, as was there looked upon with contempt, as rude and boorish. The inhabitants of that country were reckoned stout men, fit for soldiers, but not polite men, or fit for scholars.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The first great cause why Jesus was rejected by those to whom He appealed, may be deduced from the tenor of His doctrine—it offended the pride of the Pharisees, was repugnant to the wise infidelity of the Sadducees, and condemned the pliant temper of the Herodians…Besides, their dislike to His doctrine was increased by His manner of enforcing it. He spoke with authority, and sharply rebuked the hypocrisy, ignorance, ambition, and avarice of those persons who were accounted the wise and good, who sat in Moses chair, and had hitherto been heard and obeyed with reverence. But Jesus exposed their true characters; He spoke of them as blind guides; He compared them to “painted sepulchres,” and cautioned the people against them as dangerous deceivers. It is no wonder, therefore, that on this account they hated Him with a perfect hatred.
MATTHEW HENRY: He was the stone which the builders refused; they would not have Him to reign over them―they had formed a design to kill Him…Was Christ betrayed by a disciple? So it was written, Psalm 41:9, “He that did eat bread with me, hath lifted up his heel against me.”
JOHN GILL: What an horrid, insolent, and unparalleled action that was—the betraying of Him by Judas into the hands of the high priest, Scribes, and Pharisees…“Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled,” Matthew 26:56. They were the “disciples” of Christ that forsook Him, whom He had called, and sent forth as His apostles to preach His Gospel; and to whom He had given extraordinary gifts and powers; who had forsaken all and followed Him, and had been with Him from the beginning; had heard all His excellent discourses, and had seen all His miracles, and yet these at last forsake Him, and even “all” of them: John the beloved disciple, that leaned on his bosom, and Peter, that professed so much love to Him, zeal for him, and faith in Him.
ADAM CLARKE: They lead him to the high priest’s house, and Peter follows and denies his Master.
MATTHEW HENRY: It added affliction to His bonds, to be thus deserted.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): No other place so well shows the griefs of Christ as Calvary and no other moment at Calvary is so full of agony as that in which this cry rends the air, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): These are words of unequalled pathos. They mark the climax of His sufferings. The soldiers had cruelly mocked Him: they had arrayed Him with the crown of thorns, they had scourged and buffeted Him, they even went so far as to spit upon Him and pluck off His hair. They despoiled Him of His garments and put Him to an open shame. Yet He suffered it all in silence. They pierced His hands and His feet, yet did He endure the cross, despising the shame. The vulgar crowd taunted Him, and the thieves which were crucified with Him flung the same taunts into His face; yet He opened not His mouth. In response to all that He suffered at the hands of men, not a cry escaped His lips. But now, as the concentrated wrath of heaven descends upon Him, he cries, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Surely this is a cry that ought to melt the hardest heart!
C. H. SPURGEON: O Christian, pause here and reflect! Christ was punished in this way for you!
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Not only did He offer His body as the price of our reconciliation with God, but in His soul also He endured the punishments due to us; and thus He became, as Isaiah speaks, a man of sorrows.
C. H. SPURGEON: Methinks I hear the Father say to Christ, “My Son, I forsake thee because thou standest in the sinner’s stead. As thou are holy, just and true, I never would forsake thee. I would never turn away from thee, for, even as a man, thou have been holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners—but on thy head rests the guilt of every penitent—transferred from him to thee, and thou must expiate it by thy blood. Because thou standest in the sinner’s place, I will not look at thee till thou have borne the full weight of my vengeance. Then, I will exalt thee on high, far above all principalities and powers.”