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:
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.
Surely he took up our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
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. (Is. 53:3-5)
Yet 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….
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.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, ... 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. (Is. 53:10-12)
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.
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 it seems to me that 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.
Is there someone in your life causing you pain? Consider this - that person is giving you an opportunity to develop Christ-likeness that you would not have otherwise.
If we can see the offensive person in our life as Jesus does, and if we can forgive them as He did, 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!
If your day today is dark and difficult, like that Friday 2000 years ago, remember it's temporary, whether it seems it or not. A seed buried in the darkness of soil is transforming, growing, softening, breaking its tough outer husk, and at the right time will burst forth gloriously into the light. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied... And so my dear friend will you!
May that encourage you today and in the days to come.