October 28, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
A Man of Sorrows
He is . a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
Think of some of the sources of sorrow for the Lord Jesus as He moved here.
He was exposed to the presence of sin. We can scarcely measure what the very presence of sin meant to His holy sensitive soul. Remember that He loved righteousness with all His being. He hated lawlessness with an equal and opposite intensity. He must have grieved moment by moment as He lived in the company of men whose default position is self-centeredness. All was so opposed to all He was in Himself. He not only saw the acts of sin; He alone could see the thoughts and intents of the heart. Even when men did that which was morally “right,” He could still see the less than holy motives behind each act.
But he was also accused of the practice of sin. Men claimed at times that He was enabled by Beelzebub, that He was a liar, that He was breaking the law by allowing His disciples liberties on the Sabbath, that He was dishonoring God by healing on the Sabbaths, and other allegations. Finally, they tried to arraign Him before Pilate on the grounds that He was a perverter of the people. How His holy soul must have recoiled under such accusations.
His suffering had another dimension. He was physically and mentally abused because of the power of sin in the lives of others. “This is your hour and the power of darkness” He told them in the garden (Luke 22:53). All of the evil imagination of the human heart was given free rein to inflict on Christ whatever it could conjure up, aided by the fury of Satan himself. He felt every buffeting; He was sensitive to every stroke of the rod as it pushed the thorns down into His brow. Men vent their pain by epithets and curses at their tormentors. He was silent in His majesty. He felt it all – the spitting and the scorn; He felt the derision and the hatred. The power of sin in the human heart was fully displayed in the treatment he received.
Along with sorrows over the presence of sin, having been accused of the practice of sin, suffering under the power of sin in others, He knew infinite sorrow as He bore the penalty of sin upon the cross. The Word of God provides imagery for the cross – a flood, a pit, a storm, a sword, a darkness and a distance – but it does not tell us what is perhaps outside the realm of human language to describe. We do not know what form that suffering took and will never know its depths. But He suffered! He was a Man of Sorrows.
1. One of the chief goals of most human beings is to avoid sorrow. Yet He willingly came to be a Man of Sorrows.
2. He was acquainted with grief. He did not experience grief as such in heaven; he came to become acquainted with it. A variant reading of Psalm 88:18 is “and darkness is mine acquaintance.” Consider the Lord Jesus becoming acquainted with these two things.