Why was Jesus the “Man of Sorrows”?

man of sorrows

Even in the midst of walking through difficult circumstances and tragedies, we Christians often like to believe that life should be comfortable and easy.  Much of our sorrow in trials is centered around the fact that we believe we do not deserve whatever it is through which we are walking.  “Why me?” we cry and bemoan before God.  We now believe that not only the pursuit of happiness is our right, but happiness itself.  Jesus, however, was God and He came to Earth and was called the “Man of Sorrows”.

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

– Is 53.2-5

God chose to give Himself no physical stature, no natural attraction by which to draw others, and He intentionally bore our sorrows, griefs and debt of sin.  Since those around Him did not understand His purpose, they considered Him to be “smitten of God and afflicted.”  Remember Job?  He was a man of great faith, and God decided to purify His faith by testing him through Satan’s attacks, and Job lost everything:  His wealth, his family and his health.  Job’s friends understood God to be the type of judge who would only reward good for good and evil for evil, and thus they accused Job of great sin and encouraged him to repent.  But we learn that Job’s situation was not judgment, rather it was purifying refinement of his faith – not a result of sin.

Those who witnessed Jesus being crucified on the cross similarly considered Jesus to be smitten by God.  And while Jesus was smitten and ultimately crushed by God for the purpose of saving sinners, it was not as a result of sin.  Smitten by God for our sake, Jesus was indeed the man of sorrows.  He lived a perfect life and yet suffered physical torture and death as well as Spiritual separation from God and damnation, all so that we would never have to spend eternity in Hell.

He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows.  He was pierced for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities.   

And by his wounds we are healed.  

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

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

Guilty, vile and helpless we;
spotless Lamb of God was he,
Full atonement, can it be:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished” was his cry;
now in heaven exalted high:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

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

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