He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
The Servant of God in Isaiah is a “man of sorrows.” The Hebrew phrase (’ish makh’ovot) means, literally, “man of pains,” and refers to both physical and emotional suffering. God’s Servant would not be immune from difficulties. In fact, he would be “acquainted with deepest grief.”
Jesus is this man of sorrows. In his full humanity, he suffered the pains of this life. No doubt he sometimes hit his thumb with a hammer. Moreover, it’s most likely that he experienced the death of his earthly father, Joseph. Jesus knew the emotional pain of rejection as the very people he came to save denied him. Most of all, Jesus experienced the sorrows of the cross, feeling unbearable physical pain as well as the emotional and spiritual suffering of being forsaken by his Heavenly Father.
When we hurt, we find comfort in the fact that Jesus is a man of sorrows. He knows what it’s like to feel as we do. Thus his empathy isn’t theoretical. God the Son knows and shares in our suffering. He is with us, even when we are overcome by grief and despair. In time, he will deliver us from the pains of this world. In the meanwhile, our hearts are encouraged by the knowledge that Jesus is with us, that he understands, that he feels with us.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When you have suffered in your life, how have you sensed the presence of God? What helps you to know that God is with you even in hard times? What does it mean for you that Jesus is the Servant of God, a man of sorrows?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, how I thank you for being a man of sorrows. Thank you for becoming human, for experiencing life as we experience it (though you were without sin). Thank you for knowing what physical pain feels like, what loss feels like, what rejection feels like. I find it easy to turn to you in my pain because I know that you understand.
Thank you, my Savior, for choosing the way of the cross, the way of great sorrows. You took the sin that was mine, experiencing the separation from the Father that belonged to me. How I praise you, my Lord, for being not just a man of sorrows in general, but the man of my sorrows.
Today I pray for those in my life who are in the midst of sorrows. Relieve their suffering, dear Lord. May they know your presence and find hope and comfort in you. Amen.
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