He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by Hisstripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:3-5
Are you going through a rough time? Has this been a challenging year for you so far? If you’re like me, the answer to those two questions is an emphatic “YES!” I hope not, though. I hope you’re doing great and that you are on the mountaintop right now. But odds are, the valley is just around the corner. Because that’s just how life is this side of eternity. Ups and downs. Hills and valleys. Joy and sorrow. So whether you are going through the fire right now, or you will be at some point, indulge me for a few minutes if you will.
Considering the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus next week, I would like us to look a bit at the suffering Savior on the Cross. Certainly, this topic has been beautifully and exhaustively discussed by minds much greater than mine with words much more eloquent. But I wanted to share what is on my heart today, as it relates to our hardships in light of the suffering of Christ.
The lonely and darkest Friday in history is the day that the sinless Son of God had His body pinned to wood, the weight of our sins upon His heart. He fought our battle completely alone. He felt sorrow beyond words, pain beyond understanding, rejection by those He loved. He bore every shred of shame that every abuse victim ever felt. He carried the guilt of the serial killer on death row. He was humiliated, falsely accused, torn to shreds by vicious men, left by His friends, denied by His followers, betrayed by a kiss, and even His Perfect Father turned away. Every nightmare became His reality. Every fear was before Him. Everything unfair about this world: innocence ravaged by evil, terrorism, war, famine, disease, disgrace, hopelessness; EVERYTHING was fully experienced on that day. On the wretched and horrible Cross, He sealed the deal. The culmination of all of the world’s horrors was felt that day, those past and those yet to come. It was a truly terrible Friday. It was not good. Not for Him. And yet, it was marvelous. It was the day that our Conquering Hero rode in to abolish our slavery to sin. It was the day that He paid our price. The day that the Law was fulfilled perfectly. The bridge was gapped between sinful man and a Holy God.
That Friday proves that we could never do it on our own. It proves that our sin is much heavier, much more despicable, than we could ever fathom. It proves that the Living God loves us enough to cover Himself in our pain and pay the price for our rebellion.
Have you been abused? Jesus knows what that’s like.
Have you been falsely accused? None more than Him.
Have you been betrayed, mocked, and completely alone?
Whatever suffering or struggle you and I are going through today, He knows. He has felt every part of it. He shared in our suffering. He drank the cup to the last bitter, nauseating drop. It was a wretched Friday, and it was a Good Friday. Without it, we would be lost forever, left alone in our pain. With it, we are set free. We have a Savior who willingly chose to identify with us. To put Himself in our shoes.
Two months ago now, my son and I were the victims of a home invasion. My sweet 10-month-old German Shepherd was killed. My son was terrified. My husband was powerless and devastated having been traveling at the time. Satan crept into our lives and attempted to destroy our faith and peace. Fear and loss have followed, but God is picking up the pieces. The greatest comfort to me during this time is looking to my Jesus, who became my Suffering Savior in order that I could be free of every pain and burden. He is my Wonderful Counselor who came to set this captive free. (I am also very aware of His protection upon Brian and I that night. I truly believe that our lives were spared, simply because God was with us.) On that most lonely Friday in the history of the world, He felt every bit of my family’s pain.
And He felt yours, too.
Jesus. Our Salvation. The Suffering Savior and Conquering King.
After the darkest, loneliest day, came the glorious Resurrection. After the storm there is safety. After the pain there is joy… more on that next week, Lord willing.
I would love to hear your comments below!
Why is Good Friday good for you?