People says it’s always something and some times the something is too much to bear — like Gethsemane. Jesus is always with us no matter what corner we are in. (Isaiah 53:3)
Speaker(s): John Love
11:00 AM on 1/30/2022
P. Love –
Good morning everyone. Great job. What a good song. Talent. So talented. Gary over here – my right, your
left. You can tell he left his guitar in the dryer too long! That’s what happens! Let that be a
lesson to all of us! Okay. Let’s pray (prayer).
If you would turn in your Bible to Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 9. Beginning in vs. 10. Publicans,
not Republicans! There were Democrats there as well. That’s the next verse, sinners! No, I’m
kidding. I’m kidding. If you are a registered Democrat, don’t be offended. vs. 11. Kind of imagine
the scene. Publicans. And remember the publicans were Jewish people that worked to collect
taxes from the Roman government. In most cases, they took a portion of collecting those taxes
for themselves. That’s why – you had sinners just as you do always, but notice whenever those
two names are found together, it’s always publicans first and then sinners.
Why? Because in the minds of Jewish people, they were worse. How dare you work for a foreign government who has
occupied our land and then rob your own people in the process. Despised they were.
You can imagine they’re sitting with Jesus, and I can just imagine how comfortable Jesus was
with them. You say, how do you know that? Because I know he is just as comfortable with us
and we are the same. Amen. And then the Pharisees, they’re looking upon the scene. They said
to his disciples, not to Jesus directly but to his disciples, we don’t understand how it is that your
master eats with publicans and sinners, vs. 11. How can he be so close to them? When Jesus
heard that, he said, vs. 12. Didn’t we fall into that category at one time in our lives? Didn’t we
admit, didn’t we have to admit, I’m sick. I have a need. I’m having a hard time doing life. I’m
I love the song that they sang as we worshiped. I come how? Broken. Wounded. Empty.
Guilty. And there are plenty more adjectives we could add to that list, couldn’t we? It describes
our condition before we came to Christ, before we were drawn by God with his cords of love to
Then he said, vs. 13. Praise God! He didn’t come to call the righteous. I was thinking about the
announcement this morning about the play. I think sometimes when we hear that we think, I
don’t have those abilities. Are you kidding me? Remember how we all used to act? We were
acting how good we were. And even now, sometimes we act like we are good Christians. It’s all
acting. We know what we are, so we should have a great turnout for candidates for the play. If
anybody has any real spiritual sense, they’d say I would like the lead role!
vs. 13-14. It’s almost as if everybody is coming to Jesus and saying, you know, why are the
people you sitting with so sinful? Why are you and the people you’re sitting with and your
disciples, why aren’t they doing enough? Why aren’t they religious enough? You just can’t
overlook this great truth that Jesus loves to be with sinners. It’s why he came. And boy does he
love sinners. We know that because that was our condition, that was the condition of our soul
before we were justified by faith, before God saved us by his grace.
I was thinking about Isaiah 53 this morning. The Scriptures portray Jesus in that 53rd chapter written
by the prophet Isaiah. One of the phrases that describes Jesus, and I think it’s one of the most
adequate phrases to describe him. I’m grateful that he is as he is described here in the book of
Isaiah. He is called “the man of sorrows.” The man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
Now, there are lots of other appealing names in the Scripture. Names that we just kind of love to
let fall off of our lips like the Prince of Peace. Doesn’t that sound much more appealing than the
Man of Sorrows? The Great Physician, the Morning Star, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Lamb
of God. These are all titles and there are so many more that we can ascribe to Jesus. But this
morning, let’s focus on this one title: the Man of Sorrows.
Some people might think I don’t want to get too close to this man. I mean, most of us we would
like to spend our lives if it were possible dodging, skirting around, avoiding sorrow. Why would we want to get close to someone whose name is Man of Sorrows? Acquainted with grief. We
might say that until we run into the tough stuff of life. Until life happens, and when it happens,
we long for someone that we could reach out to. Someone who could understand us. Someone
who could identify with us. Somebody who would say I know what you’re going through. I have
been there myself. Someone who would have that kind of compassion. And that’s Jesus.
We live in a world of just pain, hurt, broken by life’s brutal blows sometimes.
And when that happens, that’s when we discover he is everything we need. Isn’t that why we come together
every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and any other opportunity that presents
itself, because he is everything we need and more.
Long before Mel Gibson produced his movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” the prophet Isaiah
wrote the script before it happened. In fact, he wrote the script nearly eight centuries before it
even happened. And I know if you saw that movie years ago when it came out, you were moved
by it. I mean I remember watching it in a theater and thinking myself, you know, I’m familiar with
the script. I’ve read my Bible. But then I found myself sitting in that theater and I was in tears
and so many other people around me were in tears. And it was all about the Man of Sorrows,
the story of the Messiah, the one above all others – think about it. Nobody understands our
pain, our heartache, our suffering quite like the Man of Sorrows.
And when you read Isaiah 53, think of some of the words that you find there; words like “despised.”
Words like “griefs, sorrows, crushed, oppressed, afflicted, bruised, scourged, smitten.” Like a
lamb led to the slaughter. Do you know all of those words taken together in our language today
would be like Jesus coming to us and saying these words, I have been there. I have done that.
Ever see those t-shirts, “Been there, Done that.” Jesus could say the same thing when it comes
to our brokenness, our pain, our suffering, our affliction, our heartache. I have been there.
The Scripture tells us in Heb. 4 that we have not a high priest who cannot be touched with our
infirmities but was in all points tested just like we are in this life. There’s no one who can identify
with us quite like Jesus. And everything we read in Is. 53, all of those words that we just shared,
they all kind of remind us of that four letter word that is a part of everyone’s life. What is it? Pain.
I mean is there anyone, anyone who can meet you in your pain quite like the Man of Sorrows?
Absolutely not. Pain as it relates to our lives.
I was thinking about the birth of a baby. Even babies come into this world screaming! I mean it’s
almost as if they are trying to say, please. No! I’ll take the womb forever! It’s warm. It’s peaceful.
It’s quiet. It’s almost like they come into the world and it’s like oh! Sad as it may sound, some
people come into the world screaming, and some people leave the world screaming because it’s
a broken world. It’s a sinful world.
Thank God when Jesus got up in the synagogue in Nazareth in Luke 4 and began to read from
the prophet of Isaiah, the 64th chapter, he spoke about himself as the one, the servant of God
who would come. And one of the objectives was to what? Heal the brokenhearted. Give sight to
those who would be spiritually blind as they try to navigate their way through life. Christ himself
in his humanity, Heb. 5:8, the Scriptures say he, well, he learned something through the
suffering he experienced in his humanity. He learned obedience.
But what have we learned through this pain, through this suffering, through this heartache? We
learned that it’s the pain of adversity that helps us grow and become spiritually mature people to
the point where we could even say – and I know that it’s easy for us to quote this passage. But
when we go through our tests, when we are in the midst of great suffering; when we don’t
understand what’s happening in our lives and confusion abounds, we can even say I’m going to
count it all joy because I know God is at work. I know God is up to something. The Man of
Sorrows would never leave me in this condition, but he’s come to deliver.
C. S. Lewis said this: He said mental pain is a lot less dramatic than physical pain but it is much more common and even more difficult to bear. “It’s easier to say my tooth is aching than to say
my heart is broken.” I mean where do you go? When you say my tooth is aching, you say I need
to go to the dentist. Or I’m having some kind of physical pain, I need to go to the doctor. Thank
God the Scripture says when your heart is aching and filled with pain, you go to Jesus. You find
the Man of Sorrows. You find the one who says I know. You find the one who says been there,
done that. And he could just – we could come to him with our own list.
We could say I lost someone I love. Jesus says, been there. Done that. I’ve been rejected by
the ones that are supposed to love me. Jesus could say, been there. Done that. My heart aches
so badly. It’s been smashed to pieces. Jesus could say, been there. Done that. Weeping is
something that is part of my daily life. Jesus could say, been there. Done that. I’m tempted
sorely, greatly, almost overwhelmed by it. Jesus could say, been there. Done that. I’m here for
you. I mean long before Bill Clinton ever said, “I feel your pain,” Jesus said it. He knows. He’s
really been there. He didn’t do it to win an election. He did it to win our souls forever.
Jesus understands. There’s nobody who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities quite
like him. Think about it. Jesus faced one of his most difficult hours. He found himself in a place
called Gethsemane. And that word “Gethsemane” means “oil press.” It means when the press
was just closing in. We know what that’s like. Have you ever done this before? Have you ever
had anyone either shut the car door on your hand or rolled up the window with your hand still in
I remember that happened to me once. I don’t know whether I did it to myself which I probably
did, or someone else did it. But I remember the pain with my hand, my fingers in the door as it
closed tightly. There were no words. It was just a gasp. And I just stood there. The pain was just
so great. I thought why would you do that? Or I said to myself, why did you do that to yourself?
But think about it. We’ve all been in an oil press. Praise God that Jesus went through
Gethsemane, because it was his way of saying some day I know you will go through your
Gethsemane, and because I went through my Gethsemane, I will get you through yours. When
that pain is so great. That Gethsemane symbolically represents those places of deep pressing
pain. Mental agony. I think at some point in our lives or another, we will all have our own
Gethsemane. Have to endure it. You might even be in yours today, but remember. The Man of
Sorrows will be with you. The one who went through his own Gethsemane will get you through
We know something about life. There’s an expression out there and those in the world, even
they know it. But we know it especially so. It’s always something. And sometimes that
something is so great, so overwhelming, so unexpected, that we don’t know where to turn or
what to do except to the Man of Sorrows.
Somebody described Gethsemane this way that there’s no place more alone than your
Gethsemane. Because it’s there it’s possible that your best friends may fail you as did Jesus’
friends. Some will try to understand what you are going through but they will be unable to do it.
A few will forsake you. And the agony of relational support that you need, you will not find it in
anyone except Jesus. He is the one that understands. When we go through our most difficult
pain, think about it. Relationally, you need somebody. We all do. Internally, you know the pain.
You feel the anguish. And physically, you’ve reached the threshhold and you don’t believe you
can go on another day. You might feel hopeless, enraged, confused, disappointed, depressed,
misunderstood, humiliated, at the end.
That’s a great place for you to be, because that’s when Jesus does his best work. He comes to
us in those hours. But maybe, just maybe you wonder as Jesus did at least in his humanity. You
might even say these words, God why have you turned your back on me? Why have you
forsaken me? You might feel that but you need to remember you are not alone.
As a believer, you will never go through anything in life alone. Jesus says I will be with you every step of the way. Every turn you take. Every bend in the road. Every tragedy that strikes.
Every phone call that you feared and hoped that you would never get. Jesus says I’m going to
be with you. I’m never going to leave you. I’m never going to forsake you. I’ve been there
myself. I’ve gone through that. I know what it’s like to be where you’re at, and I promise you I will
get you through. He might not deliver us out of it, but he always promises to get us through it.
There’s hope. There’s help with the Savior by our side.
Think about it. Those three areas relationally, internally, and physically. Yes. Relationally, nobody stays closer to us than Jesus. He is better than the most faithful husband. More understanding than the most comforting wife.
More reliable than the closest friend. No one will ever care for your soul like Jesus will. And isn’t
he amazing that he’s always available to talk to. In the middle of the night in your darkest
moments when you cry out to him, has he ever said, please. Not now. I need some rest, too,
Have you ever called someone in the middle of the night and sometimes they say I’m not going
to answer that. Or why are you calling me now? Imagine if God ever said that to us? But, no. In
the middle of the night, the darkest hours, he is ready. He is available. He is listening. He is
there. Pour your heart out. Tell me what troubles you. Give me all of your fears, your worries,
your anxieties. Tell me. I’ve been there. I’ve been through it myself.
He understands. He even understands the groanings of our hearts. That’s why Rom. 8:26 says
that the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit himself at times when we are unable to pray; when our
words are reduced to groanings, groanings that baffle words, Jesus says I hear you. Sometimes
my prayer life is like this: Ohhhhhh! It’s like Jesus says, I got that! Got it! Groanings that baffle
words. Nobody, nobody ever cares for us like Jesus.
Internally, no one heals deeper than Christ does. Some people say, I will never be able to get
over this grief. You will. But you will not do it by yourself. The Man of Sorrows will get you
through that grief. The one that’s acquainted with grief will get you through. He knows what it’s
like to lose. You say, how does Jesus know what it’s like to lose? He lost everything for us at the
cross. He knows. He knows what it’s like to suffer silence, unfair criticism. He knows what it’s
like to feel helpless and this is what he says, I am in your corner.
When the rest of the world turns its back on you, and that may or may not happen. It doesn’t
matter. I will always be there. I will make sure that your soul is brought to a place where it can
be healed and delivered and changed forever.
Then physically. Physically, no one comforts us better than Christ. His hand in your life during
the time of affliction, his promise is always the same. My grace is going to be sufficient. Even
when the pain is so real, so overwhelming and it seems like no one else can really identify with
what you are going through. Jesus is there and he promises sufficient grace. Never insufficient.
Never I don’t have enough grace for that.
Imagine if Jesus responded and said well, I’ve never seen anything quite like this. I’ve never
dealt with anyone who has the level of your trouble and the level of your problems. But he never
says that. He’s the Man of Sorrows. His hand is better than the hand of a friend, a parent, a
spouse or a child. His hand is one of compassion and one that brings lasting relief to our souls.
He’s the Man of Sorrows.
There are all those other great names that I like to think of Jesus, but I need to know that the
Man of Sorrows cares. I need to know that the Man of Sorrows can identify with me. I need to
know that the Man of Sorrows sees what I go through and make sure he is with me.
And no one – thank God. In closing. No one sees the benefits of our pain clearer than Christ
does. He knows. He’s able to see through all of that darkness, through the winding tunnel of our
own personal Gethsemane and brings us all the way to the end. We may see the darkness. We
may see it as frightening or something that is never ending but he sees beyond it. You know
what he sees? He sees maturity. He sees growth. He sees faith. He sees stability. He sees wisdom. He sees compassion. And he sees it all ultimately leading to a crown of life. That’s his
In closing, just think about this: He owns the map that knows how to get us through
Gethsemane and he will guide us there. Just like the beautiful hymn says, written by Philip Bliss.
“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?” Say it with me. “Hallelujah! What a
This morning, what can we say about the Man of Sorrows? Hallelujah! What a Savior! What a
Savior! What a Savior!
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