The Passion and Prophecy of Christ – A man of sorrows

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.

Lancelot Andrews

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

The Passion and Prophecy of Christ

Matt ch26 v1-4

God’s timing was perfect, this was God’s chosen time in His plan for Christ to die. Many families came from all over Israel carrying their lambs upon their shoulders to be sacrificed at Jerusalem. Christ was the antitype to which the Passover lamb had always referred (God promised Abraham He would provide a Lamb). Christ had always been aware of this time; He had also been able to avoid His enemies’ plots to kill Him. But now it was His time to be handed over to sinful men; it was time for the perfect Lamb of God to be sacrificed for the sin of the world. Nothing would prevent this event, not even the plots of the religious leaders who planned to kill Him after the Passover feast. God’s timing is always right and perfect. The Passover commemorated God’s rescue of His people from slavery in Egypt and, in particular, the Sacrifice of the Passover Lamb to protect them from death.

Jesus is the only one who can rescue us from the slavery of sin and Satan, and can protect you from the terror and fear of death.


From the upper room over the brook Kidron to the Garden of Gethsemane

Matt ch26 v 36-46


One commentator has pointed out that, on the way to Gethsemane, Jesus would have crossed over the Kidron brook. He says this brook would have been red with the blood of the Passover lambs that had already been slain; Jesus would have noticed this. Soon, the blood of God’s Passover lamb would be shed for many.

In the garden, Jesus prayed three times alone, without comfort from His disciples, knowing that His hour of unspeakable darkness would overshadow Him.


‘Sorrowful and deep distress, exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.’ In v38 Jesus craved human companionship and support during His anguish; but v39 is holy ground when as it gives us a glimpse into Jesus’ intimate relationship with His Father and the sobering cost of His mission. This was a prayer under tremendous spiritual stress, it was an intimate prayer as Jesus used the (Aramaic) word ‘Abba’ to address God, His Father. This name is still used today by Jewish children in the home to address their father (our equivalent is ‘daddy’).


Anguish and Distress

The full cost and reality of Jesus’ mission was crushing Him; within hours the full cup of divine fury against sin would be His to drink. A cup in the Old Testament is often the symbol of divine wrath against sin; Jesus would have to endure it. The name ‘Gethsemane’ refers to an olive orchard and an olive press; Jesus was going to be severely pressed on all sides for our sin.

In Isaiah ch53 v5 we are told Jesus was ‘wounded’, He was ‘bruised’, or ‘crushed’. These words are the strongest terms used to describe a violent and agonizing death. He suffered as our substitute to bear our sin and punishment, and to satisfy God’s wrath.

‘With His stripes we are healed.’ This does not refer to the Roman scourging – the literal meaning is ‘bruised’ and refers to the stroke of divine judgment inflicted upon Him. The healing we receive is because of the divine stroke to which He suffered.


Luke ch22 v43-44

So intense was Jesus’ agony that it resulted in His sweat and blood mixing; so intense was His suffering that God sent an angel to strengthen Him. Arrested by a detachment of troops, officers, and the captain of the temple guard (Mk ch14 v65), they bound Him, after He was betrayed by a kiss (Mk ch14 vs44-45).

Traditionally, the kiss on the cheek was the one that showed the closest love and affection toward a teacher or a pupil. Judas could not have shown a more despicable way to identify and betray Jesus; He ?prevented? the true meaning of a kiss so treacherously and hypocritically. This form of a kiss spoke of respect, affection and love, but Judas’ heart was full of greed and love for money, more than for Christ (Ps ch41 v9). How many are betraying the blessed Saviour today for greed and money.

So they bound Jesus and led Him away to the High Priest, Caiaphas (Mk ch14 v53-65). Trial by night was illegal, setting up false witnesses was despicable and unjust – His trials were a sham! Here they ask Him a direct question: “are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” (v61), and Jesus gave a direct answer, ‘I am’. This was the reply they could not bear. How many today hate and despise the same words of Jesus Christ?

In Mk ch14 v 65, we are told that ‘some began to spit at Him, they blindfolded Him, struck Him with their fists, and said “Prophesy”.’ Jesus prophesied this would happen (Mk ch10 v33-34), Jesus had already told His disciples this would happen. So they took Him out into the courtyard of the High Priest and began to abuse Him; they mocked Him, His ministry and person and they tried to shame Him by spitting in His face. This is one of the oldest forms of insult, to spit is to show spite. They could not spit in His face until they bound Him and blindfolded Him. Isaiah ch50 v6-7 gives us more detail of His suffering – they pulled out the hairs from His face; they put Him bound and in darkness so they could unleash the vile treatment which came from their own darkened, desperately wicked hearts.


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.

Dullness of memory and slow to believe

Luke Ch24 v1-12

The story of Napoleon’s bodyguard, who lay on the surgeon’s table with a bullet lodged in his chest, “Go a little deeper,” he said as the surgeon attempted to remove the bullet, “Go a little deeper and you will find the emperor.”

In Luke ch24 v11, the disciples did not believe the word of the women that Jesus had risen. They were hiding in fear, discourages, disappointed, all their hope was lost; they were scattered like frightened sheep. The scriptures taught that this would happen (Matthew ch26 v30-31). Jesus was referring to the prophecy of Zec 13v7. Every one of Jesus disciples would stumble; either by denying Him or by running away and hiding, but all would stumble and suffer in their minds and hearts from ‘dullness of memory and would be slow to believe.’

That’s what was happening here; they accused the women of speaking nonsense, i.e. “idle tales”, and they did not believe them. After all, the last time they saw Jesus, He was condemned to death, crucified by Roman soldiers on a cross, pronounced dead and put in a sealed tomb. The brutality of the Jewish authorities drove them to hide in terror.

In Luke ch24 v4-6, we see the appearance of and hear the words of the angels – “Remember how He spoke to you!” (Mk 8v31; 9v31; 10v32-34). The angels were correct, three times Jesus spoke to them privately about His suffering, death and resurrection. His words got swallowed up in their fear and circumstances and they stumbled and failed to remember the promises of Jesus.

It’s so easy for us to take our eyes off the person of Jesus and the words of Jesus, only to fall into this dullness of memory. It’s so easy to allow our circumstances and fear of sickness etc. to swallow up the love of Christ and His promises.


The Importance of Believing

“Don’t stop believing” – there is an important message in this song. (Jn 14 v1) The disciples forgot these words of comfort and did not put them into practice, in fact, they done the opposite and fell apart. They allowed fear, satan, suffering and the sight of death to swallow their faith. They allowed these things to rob them of the love of Christ and His great promises. Don’t stop believing, and don’t stop building your faith and belief up, don’t stop sending time with Jesus. Don’t stop spreading the good news of Christ.

In John ch14 v15 we learn that the disciples failed to keep His commandments, they failed to abide in His love. We all know how much Jesus Christ loves us, but how much do we love Him?


The story is told of a young artist, who brought a picture of Jesus, which he had painted, to his Master Dore for his verdict upon it. Dore was slow to give his verdict; but at last he gave it in one sentence: “you don’t love Him, or you would paint Him better.” That sentence should be directed to us as well, our heart and soul should be unto Christ and the picture we paint to others of Him should reflect the true Christ. How much do we love Him? Love is measured by commitment and action.

The rewards of believing are great (John ch11 v37-43). This statement was not only directed at Martha but also to all His disciples. To believe is to see the glory of God. This miracle referred to two things. Firstly, it was to show who Jesus was – the Messiah, the Son of God, this is the glory of God. And secondly, it was a preview of the power which would be fully displayed in the final resurrection when all the dead hear the voice of the Son of God and live (John ch5 v25-29) (McArthur). If you will remove the stone from your heart and believe, then you will see the glory of God.

In John ch20 v3-10, what made Peter and John run to the tomb, just after they refused to believe the women, instead calling their testimony nonsense? Verse 8 tells us that John saw and believed, he was the first of the eleven to believe.

This morning we are not here to answer the critics’ or the skeptics’ questions, we will do this later, we are not afraid of this. We are here to stand firm with the disciples upon the promises of God and declare “we serve a risen Saviour who’s in the world today, we know that He is living, no matter what men say.”

There are three great and marvelous truths witnessed in Acts ch2 v32-33. “We are all witnesses” of His resurrection; of His eternal presence; and of His Holy Spirit. Like the disciples, we live with the reality of a risen, living Saviour in our hearts. We also live with the reality and great expectation of believers resurrection. We live and wait for that glorious day when we will be changed to be like Him (1Cor ch15 v51-58).

Remain in the promises; hold fast to the truth; walk firm in the victory; stand fast in the gospel message, and rejoice. He has risen!