The prophet Isaiah described the Messiah as “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief” (Isaiah 53:3). And in numerous places in the Gospels, we are touched to see tears on the face of God in the person of Christ.
Jesus cried at the death of his friend Lazarus, personally pained at the hurt the death caused to people he loved. Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem, seeing beyond their welcoming words into the hardness in the hearts towards God.
But it is in the very words of Jesus, spoken in the garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion, that we see most clearly his fulfillment of Isaiah’s moniker of “man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” Matthew describes Jesus as “anguished and distressed,” seen clearly in his words to Peter, James, and John: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26: 37-38).
The writer to the Hebrews shows us another facet of our agonized Savior as he wept in the garden that night:
While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of this deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. (Hebrews 5: 7-8)
The sorrow of Jesus had more to do with the sin he was about to bear than it did with physical suffering or even physical death. It is sin and its devastating effects on people he loves that made Jesus a Man of Sorrows.
But the day is coming when we will no longer have to cry over sin. Isaiah also prophesied of the day when “the Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears” (25:8). Revelation 21:4 tells us that not only will Jesus wipe away all tears on that day but he will also remove all of the sorrow that caused the tears in the first place. God’s plan for the future is to destroy forever the evil that has caused so many tears – for him and for us. Then, he will live forever with us in a place he has lovingly prepared – a place where there will be no more tears.
Prayer – Man of Sorrows, knowing that you understand deep sorrow enables me to draw close to you in my sorrow. I thank you for showing me what is worthy of my tears and for your promise that you will wipe my tears away.
Song: Man of Sorrows by Hillsong
Incumbent at St Aidan's Anglican Church,