Advent Week Four: Adoration
By Zach Dietrich
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).
“Man of sorrows.”
What a name for the son of God who came! When we hear or sing that prophetic description of Jesus from Isaiah 53:3, we usually picture Jesus’ final hours and the cross. We reserve that title for the passion of Christ—the beating, the cursings, the crown of thorns, and the cross. We associate joy and celebration with his birth. However, “man of sorrows” is a fitting description of the entirety of his earthly ministry. As John Calvin said, Jesus’ whole life was “a perpetual cross.”
See the man, no—the babe—of sorrows in the feeding trough. The all-powerful God wraps himself in fragile, tender skin. He cries. He hungers. His birth brings great joy. But, he is acquainted with grief when Herod orders him killed. He escapes, but others do not. Weeping and great mourning fill Bethlehem.
See the man of sorrows minister throughout Israel. He never hides from sickness but touches it—the leper, the fever-ridden woman, the lame and the blind. He casts out demons. His friend Lazarus dies. He weeps—even though he can raise him from the dead—because death is always terrible. He is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He sees more than just our physical suffering. Day after day, Jesus endures our filth: our grumbling, disputing, lust, hatred, and murder. In all of this, he does not sin. Even when Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, he sees the city and grieves the hardness of their hearts. He is acquainted with our grief.
See the man of sorrows hanging on the cross, “bearing shame and scoffing rude.” His friends desert him. Crowds jeer at him. On top of the cross and the thorns, Jesus also experiences the awful, but forgotten, torture of a dry mouth. So, in a simple expression of his humanity, he says, “I thirst.” More than physical pain and shame, Jesus bears the greatest weight—the cause of all sickness—the sin of the world.
When you read “man of sorrows,” remember that Jesus was not removed from sorrow most of his life. He experienced it. Jesus knows all our sorrows. But, his grief is not impotent. Isaiah tells us, “Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…by his wounds we are healed.” Jesus grieves, but Jesus also heals. Jesus’ pain brings us life. His sorrow brings eternal joy. How? Jesus Christ took upon himself more than our sorrows. He bore the very cause of them—our sin. And, he cured not only the symptoms, but also the source of all sorrow.
- Sing together: Silent Night
- Read together: Isaiah 53
- Pray together: God, right now, we simply worship Jesus. We marvel at the incarnation. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Let us see his glory. Let us see his glory in the manger. But, show us the glory of the cross. We praise you, O God, that Jesus became one with us so that we can be one with you.