The following passage from Isaiah 53 paints a picture of the "Suffering Savior." Written 600 years before Jesus the Savior faced that ungrateful crowd and was condemned to die a criminal's death, the prophet Isaiah penned these words:
1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
As Christians, we are aware that on the cross Jesus, who knew no sin, bore our sins (iniquities) allowing us to be forgiven and to have fellowship with God restored.
But have you noticed that He also bore our sorrows? In verse 4, we see that He bore our griefs and our sorrows. What a comfort to know that when we cannot bear our sorrows, He has borne them for us. We can surrender our pain, our suffering, our sadness, our despair to His loving presence. There is nothing too tough, too hard, too depressing, too painful for Him.
And in verse 11, we see that after His suffering, He was satisfied! Satisfied!! How amazing is that! He didn't curse those who caused His pain. No, He came out the other side victorious, and that is what is so good about Good Friday. His victory becomes our victory when we trust in the One who bore our penalty and our sorrows.
Is there someone in your life causing you pain? Think of this - that person is giving you an opportunity to develop Christ-likeness that you would not have otherwise. Christ died for us while we were still sinners, long before we ever repented or asked for forgiveness. He died for those still screaming, "Crucify him!" and He prayed "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." But they did know what they were doing, didn't they? They were calling for His death. What they did not know was WHO they were doing it to, and WHAT His death would accomplish for them. So if we can see the offensive person our life as He does, and forgive them, we will be freed from the bondage of resentment and bitterness and will become a little more like Jesus. And to think that painful person is giving us such a sweet opportunity!
To paraphrase Tony Campolo, we can endure Friday because Sunday's coming! Praise the Lord!