In the Y'shayahu / Isaiah 42:5 - 7 G-d is speaking about Himself and his servants, Isaiah the prophet and the Jewish nation: "So said G-d the L-rd, the Creator of the heavens and the One Who stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and what springs forth from it, Who gave a soul to the people upon it and a spirit to those who walk thereon.
"I am the L-rd; I called you with righteousness and I will strengthen your hand; and I formed you, and I made you a covenant for the people, for a light to nations.
Now read Y'shayahu / Isaiah 49:7: "So said the L-rd, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, about him who is despised of men, about him whom the nation abhors, about a slave of rulers, "Kings shall see and rise, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, for the sake of the L-rd Who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, and He chose you."
Certainly verse 7 sounds appealing to a missionary, even though the Christian bible paints a picture of a beloved Jesus with throngs singing hosanna and strewing his path with palm leaves. . . The Jesus of the Christian bible was far from despised in general -- and WHICH nation despised him?
Matthew 4:25 says quite the opposite was true: “Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him."
Mark 3:7-9 says "...a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him."
These verses from the Christian bible hardly describe a despised man -- let alone despised of "nations" (plural).
Again, read the passage in context and it is clear that the despised are the Jewish people in exile. Think of pogroms and the Holocaust -- from exile circa 135 CE to today antisemitism of the nations has burdened the Jewish people. The image is of The Strasbourg massacre occurred on February 14, 1349, when several hundred Jews were publicly burnt to death, and the rest of them expelled from the city as part of the Black Death persecutions.
Despised. . .
However, in the messianic age the nations will recognize that we are G-d's chosen people (chosen to be the nation of priests to THEM, but too many ignored the message and killed the messenger). G-d says that He will redeem us from exile and save us.
How do we know this is about the Jews?
Read the chapter!
"And He said to me, "You are My servant, Israel, about whom I will boast."." Y'shayahu / Isaiah 49:3.
The T'nach has the theme of a despised Jewish nation in exile in many places. See Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:3, Y'shayahu / Isaiah 60:15, Y'rmiyahu / Jeremiah 49:15 "For, behold, I have made you small among the nations, despised among man" and N'chemiah / Nehemiah 3:36 "Hearken, our G-d, for we have been despised, and return their reproach upon their head and cause them to be despised in a land of captivity."
As the bible stated: the Jews in exile have indeed been despised. Read verse 7 again:
will make you for a people (NOT one individual, aka Jesus, but "people").
A covenant to establish a land (to return to Israel. This did not happen in the lifetime of Jesus and within 100 years of his death the Romans exiled the Jews from the land -- the opposite of Isaiah's claim).
G-d says that He can take captives from the mightiest rulers and He will rescue us. Those who oppress Israel will be so distressed that they will become physically ill. Everyone will know that it is G-d Who has saved Israel. John 8:48-49 does not speak of Jesus being despised (it speaks of him being possessed by demons!). Even if the verses in John did speak of Jesus being despised the words of G-d in Isaiah disprove the missionary's claim that this verse is prophetic of Jesus.
The Christian bible says that some Jewish leaders didn't like Jesus, but it never even suggests that the entire nation hated him. Even though Jesus' followers deserted him at the end, they didn't hate him.
Proof of this is even simpler: if everyone hated Jesus who founded the religion after his death? Yet again the list maker is taking one sentence out of context that s/he thinks sounds like it "fits" Jesus and ignoring what is going on in the chapter. Isaiah has been selected to be G-d's prophet -- not only to the Jews but to all the nations of the world who will one day know his messages through the T'nach (the Jewish people's bible) and the Jewish people (Israel) itself.
In chapter 49 G-d says the Jews are despised among nations. Verse 7 begins a new thought -- that the nations despise the messenger. Ibn Ezra opines that this is Isaiah, whose message was often rejected. Most sages suggest that the despised is the Jewish people who the nations continually humiliate, mistreat and reject. . .
Y'shayahu / Isaiah 49 goes on to say that in the messianic era the nations will realize the Jews are G-d's messenger and will bow down before us (a metaphor meaning they will recognize that we know G-d and are indeed His people).
The chapter goes on to say that G-d answered and saved Israel, and He will watch over us in exile -- we will not die (cease to exist) for we are an eternal people. One day we will return to Israel and rebuild our land. One day the Jewish exiles will be released from exile and upon returning, they will graze along the road, not hungry, nor thirsty, nor suffering from the heat, because G-d will lead them by springs of water. Mountains will be leveled to smooth roads and overgrown highways will be cleared. The exiles will return from far and wide. Heaven and Earth will rejoice in song that G-d has had mercy on His people.