“He was… a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3)
The Jewish people had a tight hold on a popular picture of their promised Messiah. He was going to be a conqueror. A warrior. He was going to bring the nation back to world prominence. He would be relentless. Unstoppable. A King, just like David. Only better!
When Jesus came on the scene, He created quite a buzz of expectation! He had the (unheard of) ability to do powerful, miraculous things. He was smart. Wise (beyond His years). His talks could captivate audiences.
He spoke like He really knew what He was talking about. He was comfortable with the powerful. Tender with the timid. With a supreme devotion to truth and what was right.
But there was one thing about Him that confounded those around Him. Unsettled them. Caused them to question… even doubt. He had all the earmarks of the promised One – but then there was that one thing that seemed so out of place for a conqueror.
He hurt with the hurting. He was (genuinely) troubled by those with troubles. He was openly (above and beyond) compassionate with those who were “harassed and helpless.” And He seemed so unashamed of that fact.
“Some conquering warrior! Shedding tears. Hugging the hurting. Touching the ‘untouchables.’ Investing in those who were the castoffs of society. Sharing their pain. Looking into faces filled with grief… and not turning away.”
This surprised everybody. Jesus did things that only the Messiah would do. But most folks just didn’t get His connection with the weak and hurting. “Who cares about them!”
More than we ever realized. More than society ever accepts.
Religious culture says: “God is only for the chosen few. The impeccably moral. Those who have it all together. Those who merit His favor. Those who deserve Him.”
But in Jesus, we encounter a staggering truth: God is more than power, or moral living, or truth, or righteousness. God is love. God’s heart is wide open to every person who hurts, who has troubles, who has heartache, who is despised or rejected by the world (or by those who seem to be on God’s good side).
The truth is: If you have a pulse… you have God’s Heart.
That’s why we see Jesus hurting with the hurting. Crying with those who mourn. Weeping at real-life tragedies. Though He was God with us.
No. Because He was God with us!
At the heart of Jesus is the Heart of God – and His heart was open to all the hurts all around Him. He was not afraid or ashamed to share the pain of those who were subject to sorrow and grief.
Jesus jumped into the middle of their pain, felt it with them, and offered them His heart to let them know they were not alone. Never alone.
He came not only to die for us… but to truly connect with us in the fullness of our human condition.
Man of sorrows, indeed.