“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.” ~Isaiah 53:3-4, NKJV
Much of those who are educated from childhood in the teachings of Christ are taught His instructions to humanity— among these “You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31, NKJV);” “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s (Matthew 22:21, NKJV);” and “[J]ust as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise (Luke 6:31, NKJV).” All His most famous and most powerful words, directly applied to ourselves, are certainly valuable and should be treasured at their worth, but what do we ever see of children, or any of us for that matter, know God’s own heart, not simply His tongue? This is a key facet of the Gospels often overlooked in our teaching of the same, and as such, demands our utmost attention and wonder. And what better way to start delving into this most glorious subject than by delving into the Person of God Himself, Jesus Christ, and how He delineated His soul to those closest Him? Who can say both rightly and accurately that we shall not also grow closer to Him in the process, especially as each passage focuses on the crisis of His life? If you wish to seek Him, then, read on.
First Passage—John 12:27
“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” ~John 12:27, NKJV
Here we see that Christ’s soul is indubitably, completely human. He is troubled, and though the Bible does suggest that God has feelings, this context brings us to a feeling brought upon humanity itself, not its Creator, through the Fall—anxiety. Yet at the very same time, this worry over the coming night’s events is canceled by godly determination, such as man cannot have unless he asks the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to express themselves through him. When we know God has a purpose, we are equipped to face anything that could possibly ensnare us; when we are convinced that the world is run on its own whims, we have no antidote for fear, and die from and in it. Ultimately, though, the beauty of this verse is not in its application to ourselves, but the testimony it grants us of Christ’s absolute humanity and absolute divinity.
Second Passage—Mark 14:34-38
“Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.’ He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.’ Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.'” ~Mark 14:34-38, NKJV
Not only is the Messiah’s soul troubled, it is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. The Lord knows He came to this earth to lay down His life (John 10:17-18), and the thought torments Him as His hour approaches. But he does not leave it that, tossing Himself all night in the garden until Judas rejects Him with the kiss of betrayal. No, indeed. Our Lord acts upon His anxiety by (1) asking others to watch and pray for Him and (2) praying Himself, giving Himself to His Father’s holy plan. In doing so, then, the sorrow of His soul and the manner in which He confronted it provides us with the ultimate example.
Third Passage—Matthew 11:29
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” ~Matthew 11:29, NKJV
In the midst of His fleshly suffering, Christ was still generous, still compassionate, still loving. He, friends, is gentle and lowly in heart, and gives us an eternal rest. All your tears are held with utmost empathy; all your fretful, woeful nights blur as a drop does into the sea, when you know that He is in control. Yet that is not the Christian’s only comfort, brother or sister. God became man. He added our flawed flesh to His spotless glory. He is able to relate to our sorrows better than any of our fellow men, because He has experienced the extremities of the human experience. He loves us, and His love is forever. It was because of that love we can draw near to Him—because He first drew near to us (1 John 4:19, James 4:8).
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” ~Second Corinthians 5:21, NKJV
April 18, 2018