The western church in its vast economic affluence mostly ignores the reality of actual life, and the reality of suffering. We are, as followers of Jesus, most certainly, called to suffer.
The prophesy in Isaiah 53:3 reads:
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.
Rejected. Hated. Forsaken.
Grief, the kind that accompanies affliction and severe illness.
Man of sorrows, which, it seems, is pain inflicted both physically and emotionally.
Why is this so?
Jesus our Lord came to initiate the new order, the kingdom of God. Good news to the afflicted, binding up the brokenhearted, proclaiming (not “sharing”) liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners (Isaiah 61:1). Setting the captives free by His grace, so we shout hallelujah!
But natural men love the old order, the status quo, the way things are, the safe and familiar paths of the demonic world. Men of flesh are threatened by the new order of God, since an eternal decision is required that will cost them their familiar life. They often end up despising and forsaking both its message and especially the Messenger.
So, assuming we’re walking with Him, both He and us at times are people of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Jesus asked Saul on the road to Damascus why he was persecuting Him. And Jesus commands us to leap for joy now when the persecution comes! And it is promised to come. All who desire to live a holy life will suffer for His name’s sake.
Meditating on Scriptures that describe the time on Calvary, we see little joy at that time. But the joy given to the Author and Perfecter of faith because of the cross came later on, we’re told. Hebrews 12:2 goes on to say:
“who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In the garden on that last night, words were uttered that stun many, and me. Earlier on in my Christian life I was always taught Jesus was “never down.” Oh, He wept, but He was never in despair. But the words reflect the truth of that night:
Matthew 26:37-38 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”
Even our brother Paul experienced this gut wrenching emotion of excessive burden and despair:
2 Cor. 1:8 “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life…”
But a couple of verses later, Paul praises the truth of the Savior’s deliverance:
2 Cor. 1:10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, he on whom we have set our hope. and he will yet deliver us
And then we have his claim of the daily pressure of concern for the budding church plants, let alone his external sufferings on the road:
2 Corinthians 11:21-29 To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison. But in whatever respect anyone else is bold—I speak in foolishness—I am just as bold myself.
Are they Hebrews? So am I.
Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.
Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;
I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.
Many of us believers avoid sorrow at all costs. Some even think that sorrow, or any kind of tribulation in this world, means we’re out of God’s will. So, they claim, we just need to be positive, not negative.
Many hyper-charismatic’s and other well meaning people in God’s church today have bought into the lie that everything is to be positive. Like ishy-quishy mud between the toes. Not so, proclaims God’s holy word.
But those who walk closely with Jesus know the way of sorrow, the way of the cross, being acquainted with grief. But it’s temporary, we will be delivered. Praise to Jesus! Joy always follows these times to those who fix their eyes on Him, running the race with endurance (Heb. 12:2).
After circumcising Jesus on the 8th day and waiting 40 days for Mary to become ceremonially clean once again, the couple brought the newborn Son of Man to the temple. It’s at this time old Simeon gives his farewell blessing-prophesy in Luke 2:34-35:
“And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.””
Mothers, what do you feel when you read this? The fall and rise of many? A sign to be opposed? A sword piercing Mary’s soul? Is this any way to begin a new life with your firstborn? And the Son of God to boot?
But Mary knew, at least in part, it would not be a cake walk. Hardly. I’m positive the mercy of God was upon her as the Holy Spirit prepared her heart for the deposit of this word from the old saint. God, the faithful One in her life, would supply her need now, and even later at Calvary.
Did Mary know the prophesy of Isaiah 53, the Man of sorrows? Probably.
Did the Holy Spirit bring it to her mind, and then perhaps bring comfort? I’m speculating He did.
Might it have come through the psalmist? God knows. Someday I hope to ask her in heaven.
Psalm 30:5b Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Leap for joy – did she hear her Son preach this on the hillside of Galilee? Or when He did it again in Luke 6?
A man of sorrows? Even now? He’s a real Person. He feels our pain. He hurts. He gets mad. He gets joyful.
I remember vividly in Chicago growing up in the ‘60’s the first time that I saw a tough-guy biker wearing the t-shirt that proclaimed “Born To Die.”
So, at this time now, and when most wrongly celebrate His birth on the pagan winter solstice of December 25th, we remember He was born to die.
But much much more than that.
He was born to be resurrected!
And to intercede for us at the right hand of God the Father!
In this fact and on Him we have set our hope. The resurrection is what the first brethren of the New Covenant celebrated every time they met together to practice the one-another’s and have the love feast, the full meal as the Lord’s Supper!
Looking back to the sacrifice and freedom brought by the cross and His blood, we’re all looking forward to our reunion with our Beloved in the sky.
Our Jesus Christ will again drink the fruit of the vine…with us.
What a party and reunion that will be.
Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Your friend and brother in fighting the good fight,
Saints, we’re one day closer to Home, and Him! Love Him wholeheartedly!
You may view our Archives here: MONDAY MANNA – ARCHIVES; Complete Archives; feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion. May our Father richly bless you with His grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in order to walk worthy of His name.
Marc White, Director, Walk Worthy Ministries, www.WalkWorthy.org