Isaiah 53:3—Was Jesus despised by men or respected by them?

Problem: According to Isaiah, Jesus was “despised and rejected by men.” Yet in the Gospels, even Jesus’ enemies seemed to respect Him, saying as Pilate did, “I find no fault in Him at all” (John 18:38). The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus exclaimed, “Certainly this was a righteous Man” (Luke 23:47). Indeed, Luke says that Jesus “increased ... in favor with God and men” (2:52). Which is true—was Jesus respected or despised?

Solution: Both are true. In general, He was respected by His friends and rejected by His enemies. He was honored by His disciples, but crucified by His foes.

Further, Jesus was more accepted in general in His early ministry, but the antagonism became more intense in His later ministry. So, it depends on who is speaking and when, as to whether Jesus was despised or respected.

See All Problems

This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.