Man Of Sorrows
Franz Delitzsch one of the most prominent commentators on the prophecy of Isaiah, had the following to say to a group of theologians - “The 53rd chapter tells us so much about the suffering of our Saviour that one would think it was written by the prophet
right at the base of the cross. In this prophecy one can see and feel what had been fulfilled in Jesus on the cross – His passion for lost world, His willingness to have gone to the cross and then His agony.” My friends, there is no uncertainty as to Who is described in these verses for it was made crystal clear to us in the book of Acts in
chapter 8. For when Philip by divine appointment encountered the Ethiopian Eunuch on the road to Jerusalem, the Eunuch was reading these very verses. The Eunuch asked Philip about whom the prophet was speaking about. Philip then explained the Good News to him from the same passage. This prophecy from Isaiah 52 and 53 confirms the message of Jesus’ coming to the world – no one forced Him to leave His heavenly glory for a while to be humiliated,
rejected, left out, tortured and killed. No, it was His decision. Isaiah spoke the words of God the Father in chapter 52: 13, “See, my Servant will act wisely.” Did Jesus not tell His disciples, “I have the authority to lay down my life and I have the authority to take it up again”? O my friends, for you and me, the King of all kings decided that He would live among the outcasts of the world for a while, that He would become even lower than them, because there wasn’t a place reserved for Him. On this Fourth Sunday in Lent we pause and contemplate The Passion of The Christ. Only He had the willingness to come to this world in human flesh to fulfill His passion. No one else would ever have done something like that.
From Isaiah's prophecy of the Man of Sorrows we consider first of all The Trial. In chapter 53: 7 we read “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.” The world’s judgment against the Innocent One begins here in verse 7. The mob that used to be the people who followed Jesus from town to town to listen to His teachings
and ate the bread He provided, went after Him with everything they had. On some occasions they tried to stone Him to death for the claims He made about Himself. And now the time has come for Jesus to be given into the hands of sinful people. Although falsely accused by the chief priests and elders, Jesus remained silent according to
Matthew 26: 63. When they spit in His face and beat Him, He said nothing. When some mocked Him and cried, "Prophecy to us King of the Jews!" He uttered not a word. A few hours later He stood before Pilate, who said, "Don’t You hear the testimony they are bringing against You?" But the Suffering Servant "made no reply, not even a single charge – to the great amazement of the governor." What
person in this world standing trial will keep quiet when in a court of law, false charges are brought and the evidence had been used out of per proportion? But Jesus didn’t speak up. He allowed the lies and conspiracy against Him. He endured a trial where the defence was absent – not a single testimony to save the life of the Innocent One.
Isaiah tells us about The Injustice. Verse 8 describes the unjust treatment of the Man of Sorrows – “By oppression and
judgment He was taken away. And who can speak of His descendants? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people He was stricken.” Despite the verdict of Pilate “I tell you the truth, I found no guilt in Him” something happened that will never happen in our society – the innocent will be led away and put in prison or even be executed. But you see, Jesus’ society wasn’t moved by this reality. When His innocence was declared, they shouted even louder, “Crucify Him! Let His blood be on us and our children!” Let’s think about it – the One Who never had a bad thought, Who never did anything wrong, yes the Lamb of
God without fault or blemish, had to be the One to suffer. And if you and I would like to turn to God the Father and ask, “Why didn’t You stop them of killing Your own Son?” the answer is, “Your transgressions asked that He be crushed.” Maarten Luther struggled
with the reality that Jesus had to be cut off from the land of the living and the intimacy of His Father. It made him to repeat a phrase for days without end – “'Gut von Gut verlassen. Wer kan das fassen?' - God from God forsaken. Who can grasp that?” My friends, we will never be able to grasp that, but we bow in humble adoration before God, for the sacrifice of Jesus, for the injustice of the Perfect One, Who took our place.
Lastly Isaiah tells us of His Tomb.
Verse 9 reads, “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.” Can we ever comprehend this state of humiliation – God descended to the dead? God had to be placed in a tomb and only after three days He came back from death. If the
people of Jesus’ time had a choice they would have thrown His body in the valley of Himmon where criminals that had been executed bodies' ended up. But Jesus was assigned a grave among the rich. Joseph of Arimathea who was a man of wealth was touched by God to take the body of His Son and put it in a very expensive tomb. The
Suffering Servant’s submission to the Father’s will was rewarded. But still we want to say, “He should not have died. He deserved better. If only we obeyed God!”
What do you and I think as we meditate on the Man of Sorrows? His obedience and unselfishness will never be matched; His passion was incomprehensible. There was only one Jesus Who gave His all; there is only one Jesus Who wants our unconditional commitment to His cause. Are we willing to give that? Let's follow the Man of Sorrows
as we think next Sunday how He had His triumphal entry in Jerusalem and just five days later He was crucified. We thank our Heavenly Father for The Man Of Sorrows.
Rev. Willem H. van de Wall