Was Christ a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief? Then we need not be surprised or offended, if we are often called to drink of the cup of sorrows. We will find the world to be a valley of tears. This is one of the ways in which we must be conformed to our glorious Head. Indeed, his example has sanctified grief, and almost made it pleasant to mourn. One would think, that Christians could scarcely wish to go rejoicing — through a world which their Master passed throughmourning. The path in which we follow him — is bedewed with his tears and stained with his blood.
It is true, that from the ground thus richly watered and fertilized — many choice flowers and fruits of paradise spring up to refresh us, in which we may and ought to rejoice. But still our joy should be softened and sanctified by godly sorrow. When we are partaking of the banquet which his love has spread for us — we should never forget how dearly it was purchased! "There's not a gift his hand bestows — but cost his heart a groan!"
The joy, the honor, the glory through eternity shall be ours — but the sorrows, the sufferings, the agonies which purchased them were all his own.
Was Christ wounded for our transgressions; were the iniquities of all his people laid upon him — then, surely, our iniquities shall never be laid upon us. He has borne and carried them away. He was made sin for us — that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Away then, with all guilty unbelieving fears. Whatever your sorrows or trials may be — he knows by experience, how to sympathize with you.
Has your Heavenly Father forsaken you, so that you walk in darkness and see no light? He well remembers what he felt, when he cried, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!"
Has Satan wounded you with his fiery darts? He remembers how sorely his own heart was bruised when he wrestled with principalities and powers, and crushed the head of the prince of darkness.
Are you pressed down with a complication of sorrows, so as to despair even of life? The soul of Christ was once exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.
Are you mourning for the danger of unbelieving friends? Christ's own brethren did not believe in him.
Does the world persecute and despise you, or are your enemies those of your own household? Christ was despised and rejected by men, and his own relations stigmatized him as a madman.
Are you suffering under slanderous and unjust accusations? Christ was called a gluttonous man, and a drunkard, a friend of publicans and sinners.
Are you struggling with the evils of poverty? Jesus had nowhere to lay his head.
Do Christian friends forsake or treat you unkindly? Christ was denied and forsaken by his own disciples.
Are you distressed with fears of death? Christ has entered the dark valley that he might destroy death.
O, then, banish all your fears! Look at your merciful High Priest who has passed unto the heavens, and triumphantly exclaim with the apostle, "Who shall separate me from the love of Christ!"
"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 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 infirmities 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. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his 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 her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities." Isaiah 53.