The Man of Sorrows Understands Your Grief

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

Isaiah 53:3

Jesus understands your pain, no matter what is causing it. There is no sadness, hurt, or loss he does not know personally. He can relate to all of it because he is the Man of Sorrows. This is comforting news to the hurting heart, and I don’t want you to miss it.

Throughout his earthly life, Jesus experienced grief, pain, and loss. He wept at his friend’s grave. He was misunderstood and falsely accused. He was betrayed by a so-called friend. Maybe you know what that’s like. He was spat upon by men and women whom he had created. Yet none of this matches the indescribable pain he endured while hanging upon the cross—in our place—becoming the only, fully acceptable sin offering we needed and God’s justice required.

Isaiah predicted the sufferings of the Messiah—the Suffering Servant—with startling accuracy. He rightly predicted our Savior would be deeply acquainted with grief. Some people who seemed to love Jesus later “despised and rejected” him, and John 1:10 tells us, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.”

But there was an even deeper cause of Jesus’s grief. Scripture tells us it was the effects of man’s fall into sin—the effects of which Jesus came to reverse. He willingly presented himself to the Father as the spotless Lamb of God, to substitute his life for ours, to pay the full penalty for our sin. By this self-sacrifice and offering, he conquered death through his own death and resurrection.

The prophet Isaiah describes Jesus’s grief and suffering in a number of ways: “he was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.” “Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace” (53:5). “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (v. 6). “By oppression and judgment he was taken away.” “He was cut off out of the land of the living” (v. 8). God “put him to grief” (v. 10). “He poured out his soul to death” (v. 12). He “bore the sins of many and makes intercession for the transgressors” (v. 12).

While he hung upon the cross, in your place, Jesus was separated from his Father for the first time in eternity. So, if you’re tempted to think no one understands what you’re going through, trust me: Jesus understands the agony of your loss. He not only says, “I love you,” he says, “I love you, and I know.” Invite the Man of Sorrows into your sorrow today by writing a brief prayer giving your sorrow to Jesus, and asking him to be Lord of your grief.

[Excerpted from A Small Book for the Hurting Heart: Meditations on Loss, Grief, and Healing.]

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