In the Christian faith we have a lot of names for Jesus. Some of them you may be more familiar with like “Son of God” or “God with us (Emmanuel)”, or even in-keeping with the Easter theme “Messiah”. But one name that we rarely call him is Man of Sorrows. Those were the words that entered my mind as I lay down to sleep a few nights ago. It was actually about 3 am in the morning and, as you would expect, I was quite tired and ready to sleep. However, those words filled my mind and I felt the need to pick up my phone, open up the YouVersion Bible app and find the reference. The phrase appears only once in the Bible – in Isaiah 53. It’s a scripture that I would have read many times but somehow, this reading of it was so much more striking – heartbreaking, even.
I think the first thing that struck me was that the ‘He’ in the passage is just human. A seemingly ordinary person who, at first sight, was nothing special, not attractive or appealing – someone who had been rejected and looked down upon. If they knew then what we know now, how different might that have looked? Would someone have stood up for Him and protected Him from the ‘sorrows’ that He would encounter?
The passage says that “we turned our backs on Him and looked the other way… we didn’t care.” I’m sure most people believe that those who are a threat to society deserve to be punished. Maybe they really believed that this Man was a threat. But the verse that impacted me quite heavily was the one that says: “… it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down…” He went through all these sorrows on our behalf – “pierced… crushed… beaten… whipped so we could be healed.”
I don’t know about anyone else but a chocolate egg really doesn’t cut it as a way of remembering what this Man endured on my behalf. I don’t want to trivialise the significance of what He went through but neither do I want to be depressed about it. It was, after all, a choice that He made – for me – for us. It could’ve turned out differently, but the story has a great ending – it ends in triumph and victory. This for me is a reason to celebrate not just the Messiah, but also the “Man of Sorrows” because He is that and so much more. May our celebrations bring us joy and peace as we commemorate the true meaning of the season.
Written by Kim Samuels