By Evan Pyle


He is despised and rejected of men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief...
(Isaiah 53:3a)

Isaiah here gives the Christ a most unusual yet poignant title, Man of Sorrows. In fact Isaiah 53 depicts Christ as rejected and despised of men, hardly the picture that Israel had in mind for their promised deliverer! I wonder if we who know the Lord acknowledge this aspect of Jesus.

As a young, immature person, I failed to appreciate that those in a leadership role over me actually had feelings. So I regularly disregarded the feelings of my parents, teachers and others in the things I said and did. I pray I have grown up in this regard. Yet, how many of us have honestly considered Jesus' feelings? Do we see him as being so strong that he is above feeling?

Hebrews 4:15:
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Think of the rejection he felt after being abandoned by his closest and dearest friends. Imagine his sad and broken heart. Think of how he felt being on the receiving end of cruel mockings. Do we enjoy being mocked and treated unfairly? Most of us probably still remember the sting of being treated poorly or unfairly as a schoolchild. Did Jesus not have these feelings? Did you ever feel misunderstood as a young person? I certainly did! Jesus had those feelings as a twelve-year-old:

Luke 2:4:
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

Though Jesus at one point maintained a residence in Capernaum, he was otherwise what we today might call homeless. He said, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Matt. 8:20). He had no stable home, no family, no children. He didn't enjoy the security that a happy home provides. Think of the joyous anticipation that fills a young man's heart as he joins his bride on his wedding day. Think of the joy in a father's heart when he holds his first child. Yet Jesus never experienced these things. How lonely he must have felt at times.

Even so, Jesus had plenty of physical contact with people. Consider how many people he laid hands on and healed. Consider how many times he touched people and effected their deliverance.

Luke 7:37-38; 44-45:
And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

John 13:5:
After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples. feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

John 13:23:
Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.

Mark 10:14-16:
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Now I ask us to prayerfully consider that we, the Church, are Jesus. Bride. Just imagine the anticipation and longing he must feel to be united with his beautiful bride! Even now preparations are being made for the wedding and the wedding feast. And yet imagine the heartache and pain he feels because his bride wanders and is unfaithful! Have you considered that when you sin it deeply hurts the Lord?

Jeremiah 2:32:
Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.

1 Corinthians 11:18:
For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

When I consider the Lord's feelings in this manner it really makes me truly sorry for sinning against him.

1 John 1:9:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Indeed, Jesus is cleansing and will cleanse his Church that he may be joined to her as a pure and unblemished Bride.

Isaiah 61:10:
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 62:5:
For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

Ephesians 5:23-30:
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Let me be honest with you about my marriage relationship. I can confidently testify that my wife has feelings! With regard to her feelings I both love her and fear her. Fear? Not in the way one might fear a grizzly bear or a tornado (no wisecracks, y'all!), but I fear hurting her feelings as I have so often done in the past. This concern should motivate me to consider her feelings above mine. Have we done the same with Jesus? Love motivates me to do little things that will please her. You husbands have often done the same when you have brought her flowers or a gift, have done something special for her or have said something to bless her. Doesn't the love we have for God and the fear of the Lord motivate us in the same way?

2 Corinthians 5:14-15:
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

This kind of love for the Lord is a special love, a heavenly love if you will. It looks beyond one's own situation and seeks to do the best for the one who is loved. Lord knows we all have our troubles and we can surely complain if we wish. In fact, the Lord graciously gives us permission to complain... to him.

Psalm 142:2:
I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.

It reminds me of Paul, who had many troubles about which he could complain. In fact, these troubles were the result of carrying out God's work and doing his holy will. I must say that my troubles are, by and large, self-inflicted. So, certainly, you could say Paul is more justified in his complaint. In 2 Corinthians, Paul lists the many troubles and afflictions he had endured in carrying out his ordained ministry. And then he concluded with his plea:

2 Corinthians 12:8-10:
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
10 Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
11 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Conducting ourselves in a manner that pleases the Lord is no mere religious mandate. We desire to please him because we love him who first loved us. Our ultimate aim should be to please him. All honor and praise and glory is unto him because we seek to please him.

2 Timothy 2:4:
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Colossians 1:10:
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

1 Thessalonians 2:4:
But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

Let us be people who consider Jesus and the things he endured, lest we become weary and faint in our minds. Let us consider the feelings of his heart, of the sorrow he endures when we go astray and of the joy he feels when we do those things that please him. Let us be constrained by his love.



From the December 2006 issue of The Vine & Branches