Isaiah Ch53 v3-4
Lets look at the Man of Sorrows as we continue our study on the Passion of Christ. Scripture says He was despised, rejected and acquainted with grief.
These words are very strong and describe severe suffering physically, emotionally, mentally, and most of all, spiritually.
Verse four says that Jesus has borne our ‘pains’ and ‘sickness’. He handed himself over to these things as a substitute, our ills He bore and our pains He carried. The pain He was bearing is ours, it is the punishment of sin and the price of salvation.
Jesus was rejected by His own religion and brethren (Matt ch26 v65-67; ch27 v22-23). He was hated and despised by His own people, rejected by both governors, Herod and Pilate; He was mocked and made fun of in front of the soldiers where a purple robe was put on Him (Luke ch23 v8-12). Pilate even rejects Him after declaring Him innocent three times (Luke ch23 vs4,14,22). Pilate condemns the innocent victim and releases a known criminal and murderer, Barrabas. Pilate did not show justice, he gave in to the pressure and demands of the mob.
There is a message in this event for us. We are like Barrabas, we have been all found guilty of many sins and should be sentenced to death by a Holy God. But then we cannot believe it when we are set free because someone else has taken our place, a substitute who would be punished instead of us.
We deserve death, judgment and hell; but the glorious truth is that a sinless Saviour has suffered in our place. The second thing we learn is that the crowd, the majority of people, got it terribly wrong; don’t get carried away by the frenzy of the crowd.
In Matthew ch27 v23-31 we see Jesus handed over to war hardened Roman soldiers. Two types of brutality are displayed in this. Firstly, the physical brutality of the scourging: the victim was bound to a post by the wrists high above his head so that the flesh of the back would be tightened. An expert could literally tear the flesh from the back and chest areas, lacerating muscles, and sometimes even exposing the kidneys or other internal organs. For some, this alone was enough to kill them (Isa ch50 v6). His back was like a ploughman’s field. Still abusing Him, around six hundred Roman soldiers continued to punch and slap Him, dragging Him by the hair and spitting on Him. Scripture reveals to us just how brutal this was (Isa ch52 v14). Jesus must undergo inhumane cruelty to the point that He no longer looks like a human being; His appearance is so awful that people looked at Him in astonishment: He looked like a piece of meat hinging in a butcher’s shop. The crown of thorns was then beaten into His head by the reeds, these embedded into His brow.
The second type of brutality displayed was the mockery of Roman soldiers and gentiles. Matthew focuses on this; the gentile soldiers had at their mercy a Jewish ‘King’ and they staged a mock enthronement using whatever materials they could find: a soldiers’ cape as a royal robe; a stick as a royal scepter; and, a crown made of thorns. Then He was stripped naked with the Roman cape left on Him, being mocked and rejected, humiliated by gentiles. A man of sorrows.
Matthew Ch27 v29-35
St this point Jesus was so weak He could not carry His cross, so they compelled Simon. Can you picture this disfigured, disgraced form of a human being staggering through the streets of Jerusalem as the crowds watched Him make his way to the execution site of Calvery; bearing his placard around his neck, on which was written His crimes?
At Calvery, Jesus was made to lie on the ground while his arms were stretched out and nailed to the horizontal beam that he carried. The beam was then hoisted up, along with Jesus. Jesus would have borne severe pain shooting through his body as nails were driven into the most sensitive and tender parts of His body. On the way, and when He arrived at Calvery, they tried to feed him wine mingled with gall. In verse 34 we are told that the Romans allowed this because it acted as a painkiller or made the victim drowsy which helped the victim from struggling. However, Jesus refused to drink it, thus keeping His mind clear to complete His mission. He hung between heaven and earth, naked before the crowds of mockers and scoffers.
Crucifixion was one of the most cruel and barbarious forms of death known to man. So dreadful was it that even in the pre-Christian era, the cares and troubles of life were often compared to a cross. Cicero, the Roman writer described crucifixion as “the cruelest and most hideous punishment possible.”
Having been stripped naked, beaten and nailed to the cross, Jesus could hang in the hot sun for days. Just to breathe, it was necessary to push with the legs and pull with the arms against the nails that held him there, creating excruciating pain. Severe muscle spasms wracked the entire body. Roman crucifixion was a lingering doom; its design was to prolong torture while keeping the victim alive. Most victims hung on the cross for days before dying of exhaustion, dehydration, traumatic fever, or suffocation.
Most of all, He was forsaken by God
Matthew ch27 v38-45; Psalm ch22 v1
This was done so that the Word of God may be fulfilled; many prophecies were fulfilled on this day in history.
The Man of Sorrows, rejected and acquainted with suffering; rejected by earth because He is sinless; rejected by God because He is sin.
On the cross of Calvery there is manifested three things: the greatest thing in the world, LOVE; the darkest mystery of the universe, SIN; and, the highest expression of God’s character, HOLINESS. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor ch5 v21).
Horatius Bonnar’s Hymn
‘Twas I that shed the sacred blood,
I nailed Him to the tree.
I crucified the Christ of God,
I joined the mockery.
Of all that shouting multitude,
I feel that I am one;
And in that din of voices rude,
I recognize my own.
Around the cross the throng I see,
Mocking the sufferer’s groan;
Yet still my voice it seems to be
As if I mocked alone.
By Thy sweat bloody and clotted!
They soul in agony,
Thy head crowned with thorns,
bruised with staves,
Thine eyes a fountain of tears
Thy ears full of insults
Thy mouth moistened with vinegar and gall
Thy face stained with spitting
Thy neck bowed down with the burden of the cross.
Thy back ploughed with the wheels
And wounds of the scourge
Thy pierced hands and feet
Thy strong cry, Eli, Eli
Thy heart pierced with the spear,
The water and blood thence flowing
Thy body broken, Thy blood poured out
Lord forgive the iniquity of the servant
And cover all his sins