Isaiah 53:3-4 … a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
If you turn on most TV preachers, you probably wouldn’t have to wait long before you heard one talk about how God wants you happy. The prosperity gospel teaches that God will favor his people with material blessings and happiness. Our Lord Jesus did not have such a life. He was a “man of sorrows.” It seems counterintuitive, one blessed of God would be acquainted with grief.
Jesus grieved at sin (Mark 3:5). Jesus was sorrowful in the Garden Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37-38), and over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44), or at the graveside of Lazarus (John 11:35). Jesus was no stranger to grief. Jesus was truly man, thus sorrowed and grieved, but without sin. Jesus sorrowed in personal humiliation and suffering. Jesus was acquainted with a life of hardship, toil, and pain. Most of all, he was grieved as our sin bearer and was sorrowful on the cross.
As our Lord hung on that awful tree, men looked on Jesus and despised Him. How terrible, a sight, the children of Abraham rejected the God of Abraham. How sad, He, whom the Father gloried, was denied, rejected, and despised before Pilate. What an awful scene, men claiming to look for the Messiah rejected Him in favor of a murderer. What a terrible sight, they killed the Prince of life (Acts 3:13-15).They despised His features, His shame, but they despised His person. They did not esteem Him as God’s Son, the Saviour and King, but they esteemed Him as stricken and smitten of God. He whom the Father calls His beloved Son, the world saw as despicable. The man of sorrows bore our grief and carried our sorrows.
But while the prophet was speaking of the men who lived in the time of Christ specifically, he said “we”, not “they”. We hid as it were our faces from him. We esteemed him not. We did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Everyone who has heard the gospel and not believed, has in essence, looked upon the Lord Jesus and judged him not worthy of esteem. You have weighed the Lord of glory in the balance and found Him wanting. But, when you turn your eyes from Jesus, to whom will you turn? Where will you go? Who can stand in your stead? Who can bear your sins? Who can remove your guilt? Who can cover your shame before a Holy God? And yet the despised and rejected one, who we judged rejected, bore our sins. I was the reason the Lord was crucified, and yet, I looked upon His crucifixion as a matter to reject him. Oh, wicked heart! The Lord died, not for His sins, but for mine.