The period covered by New Testament history was characterized by frequent and complicated changes in the political affairs of Judea and those countries round about. None of these are accurately described in the New Testament and yet it contains many allusions to them in an incidental way. Josephus gives a detailed account of them all. This fact affords a most excellent opportunity to test the accuracy of the sacred writers. Agreement can be accounted for on no ground except perfect information on both sides. The New Testament reader who has no other source of information is left in great confusion.
He grew up before Him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He had no form or splendor that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him. (53:2; HCSB)
This description of God’s servant points to his insignificance. No one pays attention to the growth of a small, young plant. Watching a plant grow is not interesting and is not something that catches our attention. The root out of dry ground imagery suggests that the servant would come from nowhere. He would come from an unexpected place at an unexpected time. The NASB inserts the word “stately” to show that the servant will not come from nobility. He will have no stately form or splendor. He would not be the bloodline of an emperor. He would not be the child of a king. The servant will come from insignificant people and live a life of insignificance. We want information about the first 30 years of Jesus’ life. We want to know why there is no secular history about Jesus’ early life. But Isaiah prophesies that there would be nothing to write about by the world’s estimation. Further, his home was Nazareth, a town of ill reputation and considered a town of insignificance (John 1:46).
There was nothing about the servant that you would look at him and know that he is the Messiah. There was nothing about him that would cause people to follow after him. This flies in the face of all of the visual representations made of Jesus. Every movie has Jesus portrayed as a beautiful, charismatic leader, yet there was nothing about him that would cause the people to want to follow after him. The servant would not fit the Jewish expectation for a national Messiah.