Jesus - A Man Of Sorrows

W. Terry Varner
November 27, 2016

The description of Jesus “a man of sorrows” comes from the gospel prophet, Isaiah. He wrote, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3a, emp. added). The New Testament notes this idea of Jesus’s agony/suffering in Gethsemane. “And He took Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And He said to them, ‘My soul is very, sorrowful, even to deaths Remain here and watch’” (Mark 14:33-34, emp. added).

Our Lord entered the garden of Gethsemane to pray and to suffer. As the prophecy of Isaiah 53a foretold, He would know suffering intimately and deeply. He would be “a man of sorrows” and “acquainted with grief.” When we study the scene of Gethsemane, no prophecy could be clearer. He was fully God, but God cannot and does not suffer. He was fully man and in the garden of Gethsemane. His humanity experienced real, deep human agony and suffering. Stop, think, and visualize the cross of Calvary. It sends you reeling. This was Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.

The text teaches that Jesus suffered mentally in private but that He wanted company. He appealed to His three closest disciples—Peter, James, and John—to enter deeper into the garden with Him. He needed their support. Leaving them, He went even deeper into the garden. They were to remain near in watch and prayer. He knew that soon He would have no human support. In redeeming man, He could have no helper. He must do it alone. “God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

Our Lord’s mental anguish/suffering in Gethsemane was intense. He prayed to the Father three times (cf. Matt. 26:39, 42, 44). One writer states that He prayed so fervently that “His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). This was indeed intense mental anguish/suffering. Our mental anguish/suffering is often the result of sin or foolish thinking or living. Not so with Jesus. He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26). His pain and suffering came not from exaggerated or misplaced fears. He had perfect trust in the Father. His sufferings were real and agonizing, but on the other hand they were wonderful indeed!

When we reason along these lines, we have to observe that above all, Jesus’s anguish/suffering was for our redemption. The Perfect Sufferer was the spotless Lamb who was the fit and right “offering for sin” (Isa. 53:10). He came to save our souls from sorrow and its source—our sin (cf. Luke 19:10; Heb. 2:14-15).

The Supreme Sufferer is the One we are privileged to proclaim around the Lord’s Table each Lord’s Day and of Whom preachers are to proclaim from the pulpit, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). What an honor. He is the Great Physician for the world of miserable sinners. Let us Keep in constant contact with the Suffering Servant of Gethsemane and Calvary’s cross. This will change our life and make us an influence for good on others.