The shortest verse in the Bible is ‘Jesus wept.’ It reminds us that God has feelings, too! Isaiah defines Jesus as ‘a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.’ Let’s try to get the feel of what it meant for Jesus to ‘carry our sorrows’, as the Bible goes on to say.
Here’s how one writer described a wife who would wake up in the middle of the night to find her husband sitting in the kitchen haunted with nightmares and memories of the horrible things he had seen and done as a soldier in World War II ten years earlier.
‘She brought herself to his sorrow completely, not to comfort him but to give him time to become himself again. Without any self-pity she honoured the duty she felt to him and was happy to lose herself. She gave herself over to his wounds. She sat across from him at the kitchen table at 3 o’clock in the morning, while he stared in silence or talked or wept, and she took when she could a piece of his sorrow and stored it for him in her heart.’
There’s an old hymn that encapsulates for me Jesus as the man of sorrows. Verse 3:
He took my sin and my sorrow,
he made them his very own;
he bore my burden to Calvary
and suffered – and died – alone.
‘He bore my burden to Calvary’ is exactly what the Bible says he did for us: ‘He bore our sins in his body [up] onto the tree’ (1 Peter 2:24 English-Greek NT). And through death he rose, leaving them all behind in the land of forgetfulness. ‘Their sins and iniquities,’ says God repeatedly in the Good Book, ‘I will remember no more.’
And isn’t that just what the advent angel told the shepherds? ‘Unto you is born this day a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.’
And the sign that this was true was that the shepherds would find, not a big giant of an army general in full battle dress, looking every inch a deliverer, to rescue them from the Roman army in the Holy Land – not that kind of a saviour, but ‘a babe wound up like a mummy in strips of cloth and lying in the cattle’s hay box’! God had become ‘one of us’, a human being, not ‘one of them,’ a dazzling angel.
And Christmas was only the beginning of the whole Christ event through 33 years of human life, through Calvary’s crucifixion, burial and rising again, and returning to heaven. Just as Mary wrapped her precious babe in strips of cloth and laid him in a hay box when he was born, so, straight after he died, two good men wrapped his dead body in strips of cloth and laid it in a new tomb. But that wasn’t the end of the story. He is alive again in heaven, in that body of earth dust that will never die again, and: He is able ‘to sympathise with our weakness, as one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin’ (Hebrews 4:15).
Why not let him carry your guilt, fears, brokenness, illnesses, and any other disasters?