Daily reflection for the Season of Lent

Monday 22nd March 2021

‘A man of sorrows’

At the present time I am feeling rather sorry for myself. I have just returned from the dentist having endured the whirling high pitch noise of the dentist drill and the side of my mouth feeling numb. But the worst part was having an itchy nose during the treatment. Of course, you could not and would not compare a visit to the dentist with the suffering that some people endure.

Bible Reading

Isaiah 53:1-9

Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
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.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
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 its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.
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.


Nowhere in the Bible will you find a physical description of Jesus. What he tall and thin? Was he short and broad? Did he have a beard? What were the colour of his eyes? What was the colour of his skin? What was the shape of his face? Did he smile a lot or was profoundly serious and a wee but grumpy? All this is completely unknown to us. Unlike his depiction in some works of art, we can be certain that Jesus was not fair skinned, blue eyed and had blond hair?
One fascinating depiction of the messiah comes from the Book of Isaiah. Here we are given a disturbing picture of a man of sorrows. Note the images used by the prophet. He had no beauty or majesty. He was despised and rejected. He was a man of suffering, familiar with pain. He was despised (the second use of the word) and held in low esteem.
Jesus as the ‘man of sorrows’ or Christus dolens (suffering Christ) is an essential image within the Christian faith. It reminds of how in Jesus, God entered the world of human experience, and encountered suffering and evil in all its forms. This is not an easy concept to accept. But this is how it is. Our God is the God of the cross, the God who weeps and suffers.
A famous preacher of a previous generation (C H Spurgon makes this observation:
" This is a dreary subject and a mournful theme.” But, O beloved, it is not so, for great as were the woes of our Redeemer, they are all over now, and are to be looked back upon with sacred triumph. However severe the struggle, the victory has been won; the labouring vessel was severely tossed by the waves, but she has now entered into the desired haven. Our Saviour is no longer in Gethsemane agonising, or upon the cross expiring; the crown of thorns has been replaced by many crowns of sovereignty; the nails and the spear have given way to the sceptre. Nor is this all, for though the suffering is ended, the blessed results never end. We may remember the travail, for the Man Child is born into the world. The sowing in tears is followed by a reaping in joy. The bruising of the heel of the woman’s seed is well recompensed by the breaking of the serpent’s head. It is pleasant to hear of battles fought when a decisive victory has ended war and established peace. So that the double reflection that all the work of suffering is finished by the Redeemer, and that, henceforth, he beholds the success of all his labours, we shall rejoice even while we enter into fellowship with his sufferings.’


Why not use this traditional Easter Hymn as a personal prayer?

1 Man of sorrows what a name
for the Son of God, who came
ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

2 Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
in my place condemned he stood,
sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

3 Guilty, helpless, lost were we;
blameless Lamb of God was he,
sacrificed to set us free:
Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

4 He was lifted up to die;
"It is finished" was his cry;
now in heaven exalted high:
Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

5 When he comes, our glorious King,
all his ransomed home to bring,
then anew this song we'll sing:
Hallelujah, what a Saviour!


May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.