MAN OF SUFFERING

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[COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 53:3]

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem

Appalling they uttered, How could the one who called himself King be stripped naked and hung on a tree before all men as a mere criminal? It is quite inconceivable to hold the image of a God that can be killed. Definitely if we apply logic to it if God can be killed then death is God? This is the stumbling block of the cross. For on the wooden tree Christ experienced in a moment all the pain and suffering of man.

Songs have been written. Poetry flows from the lips of muses like a river that never seems to end. We are enjoined by ministers to look to the old rugged cross like those ancients Jews looked to the brazen serpent for restoration of health. Let us look closely and what we truly see is disgust and filth, an abomination that leaves us reeling in pain long after.There is no beauty in the cross only blood and tears. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him. We are not drawn to him on the basis of his wealth or scholarly prowess. We do not find him a social guru or political tycoon. Do away with the fancy crucifix on your neck and stare into the eye of the Saviour.

Can you sense the immense pain that surged through his body and ravaged him? If you want to see beauty you need to look to the effect of the cross and understand the masterpiece God was creating in us. The Anointed One took on the form of SIN. His skin became flaky white like a leper, his eyes stripped of sight like a blind man. In that moment suspended before God in the arena of eternity his limbs were crushed – he became lame, a crippled criminal. He became poor so that we through his poverty might become rich. Yet they call Him God. Can you wrap your mind about this awful truth? Can you gaze into this mystery and see how the despised carpenter’s son holds the key of death and hell?

There is no beauty. Not the beauty that plasters our billboard and is peddled on the smokescreen television screens. Look closely and see that he bears all our pains. We don’t have a high priest that is ignorant of our travails. He felt on every count everything we can ever feel. This is the strength of the cross. This is beauty without gaudy showmanship.

This is the power of the cross. Consider carefully what lies before you.
a. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering
b. He was pierced for our transgression and crushed for our iniquities
c. The punishment that brought us peace was on him,
d. By his wounds we were healed.

He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Likewise I cannot open my mouth. I am at my wits end. My intellect cannot fathom the depths of such an outrageous event. This is the contradiction of the cross. How do mere men slay the son of God? Yet with childlike faith we are beckoned by God to believe, to place our trust in Him. God declares those who trust in the Cross can bank on this truth for all eternity. The cross renders all our frail theology worthless.

Yet it is as simple as 1, 2, 3 read [1 Corinthians 1:23] – but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. The great foolishness of the Gospel and the awesome power of Salvation for all who believe hinges on what seemed to be a simple criminal execution. It baffles the mind yet if we dare to believe it, it establishes in the mind peace and grace.

He suffered so we could prosper. He was nailed so we could ‘hammer’. He died a death between two thieves so we could live a life without the need to steal. They called Him man of suffering. They regarded his life as hell but they couldn’t see that it was their own (our own) suffering that He took upon himself. Are you ignorant of what Christ worked on the cross? Do you not realize that it was on the cross that the beautiful exchange took place – beauty for ashes?

Have you considered the contradiction of the cross? Have you come to grips with all the realities that it opened up? Take time today to see the Cross and all its beauty.

– JMD

Petroleum engineer? Yup. But I love writing as much as I love solving complex reservoir engineering problems. Watch out for poetry. Still trying to soar the heights of prose tho' Stay tuned dearies.

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