Man of Sorrows

Isaiah 53

1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

Definitions

Despised: feel contempt or a deep repugnance for.
Synonyms: detest, hate, loathe, abhor, execrate, deplore, dislike

Sorrows: a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.

Afflicted: (of a problem or illness) cause pain or suffering to; affect or trouble.

Over two thousand years ago, Jesus was sent to earth in human form. And so that he could relate to the common man, he chose to come into this world as a common man. Although the book of Isaiah was written centuries before Christ’s birth, it gives us a vivid picture of what the Savior would be like. All the things that he endured, he endured them in the same manner that we would have. He was not exceptionally physically gifted. He did not have superhuman strength or endurance. Verse 2 says that he was not at all special in a physical sense.

He is described as a man of sorrows. Sorrow is a very graphic word which means much more than typical sadness. The dictionary defines sorrow as a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others. In Christ’s life, he would experience every bit of this and more. I have personally felt sorrow and I know that many others have experienced it, possibly to a much greater degree. But how many of us can say that we volunteered to suffer great loss and pain for the sake of others? Adding to the unlikeliness of Christ’s sacrifice is the fact that he did it for those who he knew would despise and reject him.

Consider what it means to despise someone. There are people who you may not like but is there anyone you truly despise? If you are like me, then the answer is no. So for me to understand Isaiah’s words concerning how people felt about Jesus, I had to think about what it would take for me to despise someone. I had to look back through history and I came to the conclusion that I would have despised Adolf Hitler or slave traders. For these people I would feel more than a casual dislike, in fact, if not for the new nature that the Holy Spirit has created in me, I might say that I would have hated or despised them. I think about how strong that feeling is and I couldn’t imagine coming to earth to save people who I knew would feel that way about me.

In my line of work I often have people who are upset with me. In fact, I would say that some people have even hated me. People usually express hatred towards me when I have to make a decision that negatively impacts them. It bothers me but I know its part of my job. Christ left heaven to experience hatred like I could not possibly imagine and he did it for the sake of those who hated him. Scripture goes on to tell us that he was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. Some even argue that Christ descended and experienced literal Hell for us. The verses concerning this are up for debate but the idea is simple. Christ suffered tremendous pain and agony for people like me and you who certainly were not deserving. Can you imagine that?

Imagine, your friend gets angry and punches a wall. How would you feel if instead of your friend suffering a broken hand as the consequence of his foolish act, you felt the pain and suffered? Would you be okay with that? Imagine if you were riding in a car with another person, they ignore posted speed limits and end up being pulled over. The officer looks right past the driver and writes you a citation for speeding. Would you think it was fair? Would you volunteer to pay the fine even if it were for a person who you knew hated you?

At the moment of Christ’s crucifixion, he took upon himself all of the filth and dirt that our sinful lives accumulated. A sinless and pure spirit took all of it for our sake even when we would have been considered his enemies. While we were yet sinners going our own way and doing our own thing Christ made this sacrifice. According to Romans 6:10 God’s powers was sufficient that through Christ’s sacrifice all sinners could be set free even though who had not yet been born. What an amazing gift.

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