Jesus: Man of Sorrows

by Tami Rudkin

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering (Isaiah 53:3, NIV).

“You don’t know how I feel!” Becky screamed. Her shoulders sagged and her once-silent tears became mournful sobbing.

She was right: I couldn’t relate.

Her pain was too deep. The expression etched on her face spoke of her unbearable sorrow. My heart ached for her and her family, but my sympathy was limited. I had never experienced that kind of suffering.

You’ve heard those words before from a friend, a child, a victim. There have been rejection, abuse, murder, rape, and unfaithfulness. Sure, at times we could have responded in the affirmative, but for the most part we have not lived through their private hell. We try to feel their hurt, to see with their eyes. We hold them in arms willing to love, but somehow their heartache grows stronger.

Balm for the heart

Is there no balm for that wounded heart, that soul so discouraged? Who can apply such an anointing of healing when no one understands that personal pain?

Who can look into the hollow eyes of one withdrawn from life because of disappointment, disdain, and disillusionment?

Who has taken a beating at the hands of society’s most powerful leaders?

Who has felt the loneliness of family denial?

Who has endured the abandonment of those professing forever friendship?

There is only One who can apply the salve of healing. He is the mighty, once humbled. He is the crowned, once dethroned. He is the whole, once broken. He is the holy, once human. He is the perfect, once charged with guilt. He is the loving, once scorned. He is the healthy, once nail-scarred. He is the living, once murdered.

Jesus, a Man of sorrows.

Healing process

His now peaceful eyes tear at the horror He has seen. His side bears the brand of ignorance acted out in hatred’s drama. Tiny scars are on His forehead — a permanent crown to remember their cruelty. Previously blood-caked welts on His back are only reddish, raised flesh — a reminder that even friends can betray.

In His hands, pierced by rusty Roman nails, He takes your beaten heart. The healing begins.

By His side, gouged with an executioner’s sword, He comforts your ravaged mind. The healing continues.

On His throne, formerly empty, He holds your spirit tenderly. Your healing is complete.

Jesus has experienced all pain and mistreatment so that He may empathize with His brothers, teach us of forgiveness, and ultimately forge the way to the pure healing of life’s painful circumstances.

It is He, Jesus, Man of sorrows, who has wept a bitter tear to cleanse your soul.