Question: “How can a wise person worship a god/messiah who can’t save himself from death?”
Answer: God’s Wisdom as an invitation to come.
Isaiah 1:18 says:
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.”
You ask whether a wise person can worship a Messiah who “can’t” save himself. To assume Jesus of Nazareth could not save Himself from death is error. But before we get into whether He could or couldn’t save Himself, look closely at Isaiah 1:18. God invites ALL to come and reason together with Him. I cannot think of a more amazing verse to contemplate. God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth not only invites you and me to come and reason with Him, in His inviting us He Himself is agreeing to share with us His Own Counsel. Why would God invite us to Reason with Him? There is only one reason, and that is to show us HIs Own Mind concerning ourselves as His Own Creation. This invitation is to come and KNOW His Own Mind concerning us, His Own Will. This is an invitation to Wisdom. You are wise if you come when God gives an invitation.
Notice Adonai says, “Though your sins are as scarlet”. My friends, this is the Gospel of Adonai, Yeshua HaMashaich. He says to all who come to Him, though YOUR sins are RED as scarlet, “They will be as white as snow”. This is what the Gospel tells us, through the death and resurrection of Yeshua, Jesus, though our sins are as scarlet, irreparably stained, through the Sacrifice of the Lamb of God slain from the foundations of the World, they can be made as white as snow. “Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” Again, God’s wisdom/reason says come and learn of Me. The Apostle Matthew, who was one of Jesus 12 disciples, writes the words of Jesus, Matthew 11:29, ”Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” This invite is the same invite that God gives in Isaiah 1:18. The Apostle Matthew also quotes Jesus in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Jesus is saying He came to fulfill what was written of Him in the Prophets of Israel, this includes Isaiah, and all the rest. There is so much written of Him in the Prophets of Israel.
Notice what Jesus says in John 3:17- 21, 17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” The invitation is to come to the Wisdom of God revealed in His Own Son. It is in not coming that we are already condemned to hell. Jesus came to save us, and bring us into right relationship with God. This is the invitation of Isaiah 1:18, and it is the invitation of the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah. It is one and the same.
Not only do we have this prophecy in the very first chapter of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the Prophet continues his prophecy in Isaiah 53 describing what God Himself calls His Own Reasoning. This is the example of the Mind of God, this is the Wisdom of God, even His Only Begotten Son. This is the Wisdom of God that the world thinks of as foolishness, and is willing to mock, and insult.
My comments on Isaiah 53 are in parenthesis. The verses are highlighted in BOLD.
1. Who has believed our message?
(this again is as an invitation to come, let us reason together says Adonai)
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
(God now speaks concerning His Own Reasoning, His Own Counsel, His Own Wisdom, and there is nothing that can compare with Him in all the universe. Nothing man can contrive to in his own imagination can ever come close to the Wisdom of God in this verse. These verses speak of The Son of God, Yeshua, hundreds of years before Jesus of Nazareth was born of a virgin, His coming was foretold. God Himself came as a man to live this very life Isaiah prophecies He would live. And He died in the very way He said He would, and rose from the dead just as the prophets said he would do.)
2. For He (Son Yeshua) grew up before Him (Father God) like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
( The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians wrote of this same Jesus as is described for us here in Isaiah. Here is what the Apostle Paul writes, Philippians 2: “3Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” The Apostle Paul describes for us what Isaiah prophesied would be the way in which the Messiah, the Lamb of God, would be known.”)
3. He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4. Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
(The Apostle John, who was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, recorded what the Master said about this, ”If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.”)
5. But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
(The Apostle John also records another eye witness event, him being the eye witness, In John 19:34,35, “34But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.…”)
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
( The Apostle John also records, having been an eye witness, John 19:1-31Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him. 2And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; 3and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face. Isaiah 52:14 tells us, “So His appearance was marred more than any man”. They didn’t just scourge Him, they tried to physically crush Him as was foretold in the Prophet Isaiah)
6. All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
7. He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
8. By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
9. His grave was assigned with wicked men,
(The Gospel of Mark records the events that fulfill this ancient prophecy in Mark,15: 27-32 “27They crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. 28[And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with transgressors (“assigned with wicked men.”] 29Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. 32“Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.”
(Many say of Jesus if he couldn’t save Himself, He was not God. You are in this number, numbered with the evil doers, if this is what you say of the Son of God. You company with them.)
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
(The Gospel of Mark also tells us of Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy man who secretly believed on the Son of God, here is what Mark reports, “ 42When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. 44Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead. 45And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see where He was laid.”
10. But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
11. As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
12. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.” NAS
Luke records the words of Jesus concerning this prophecy in Isaiah, saying: Luke 22:37, 37“For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.”
You ask how can a wise person worship a god/messiah who can’t save himself from death? I hope first of all you see that it is the Wisdom of God that invites us to believe in a Messiah that will not save Himself from death, but on the contrary, He freely offers Himself as a propitiation for our sins. I hope you can see it is the Wisdom of God that accepts the sacrifice of Yeshua, the Only Begotten of the Father, that will offer up His Own Life for you and me. If He chose to save His Own Life, we would all be without hope, eternally.
To answer the latter part of the question. Jesus could have saved His Own Life if He desired. Again, from the Apostle Matthew, chapter 26, Jesus says, “ 52Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53“Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54“How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”…