Isaiah 53:2 gives a prophetic description of Jesus’ early years on earth: “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” From youth to adulthood, Jesus grew up like a sturdy plant, upright and God-fearing in all His ways. This fact is also described in Luke 2:40: “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” At the same time, Jesus was “a root out of dry ground.” He came forth as God’s messenger to Israel at a period of prolonged spiritual poverty. Israel had not received any prophetic revelation for nearly three hundred years. This prophetic silence was broken only by John the Baptist, then Jesus Himself, who both proclaimed the coming of God’s kingdom.
Jesus had no special outward splendor that would reveal His true identity to people. They saw in Him nothing more than the son of Joseph the carpenter. (See Matthew 13:54–55.) When Peter acknowledged Him as the Messiah and Son of God, Jesus said that this revelation came not through Peter’s natural senses; rather, it was given to him by God the Father. (See Matthew 16:17.) The prophecy continues, “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows [pains] and acquainted with grief [disease]. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus did not seek the favor of the wealthy. Instead, He devoted Himself tirelessly to helping the poor and the suffering. He faced pain and disease, eventually taking upon Himself the pain and disease of the whole human race. Hanging on the cross in shame and agony, He became “like one from whom men hide their face” (Isaiah 53:3 nasb).