He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not. - Isaiah 53:3, ESV
Man of Sorrows
When you are grieving, deep in sorrow, what do you want from others? Sympathy. Not empty sentiment or cliche answers, but real and deep sympathy, defined as "the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, especially in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration." (see Dictionary.com)
Sometimes in the depth of our grief, it seems like the person least able to sympathize with our sorrow is God. After all, God is enthroned in heaven, a place of sinless and painless perfection. How can He sympathize with us? Well, He can't, not really, not as God. Does that sound strange to you, to think that God does not sympathize with you in your sorrow?
This is part of the reason why God the Son had to take on a true human nature as Jesus of Nazareth. Goes became a man so He could sympathize with us. Jesus is the "man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Think of the grief Jesus knew:
1. Jesus lost His earthly father, Joseph, sometime before His 30th birthday.
2. Jesus was rejected by the people of His hometown, His friends and neighbors, who thought He was insane and tried to kill Him.
3. Jesus was betrayed by one of His closest followers, as His so-called friend betrayed Him to His death for money.
4. Jesus was denied by another of His closest earthly friends.
5. Almost all of Jesus' followers abandoned Him when He was arrested.
6. Finally, God the Father turned His back on Jesus in wrath when Jesus was made sin for us.
So, whether you are grieving the loss of a loves one, feeling misunderstood and rejected, betrayed or abandoned, Jesus the Man of Sorrows sympathizes with your weakness. He has entered into your pain so He can offer your real sympathy in your loneliest times.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." - Hebrews 4:15-16
Lord Jesus, you know our sorrows and our pain. You have entered into our hurt, and You sympathize with us when we struggle. Let us always go to You for the mercy and grace we need. Amen.