He Bears Our Sorrow
Matthew 8:17 ESV
Matthew 8:2-4 ESV
Isaiah 53:4 ESV
Jesus healed all manner of diseases during the time he walked on the earth.
In order for us to understand the impact that had on Jesus we need to understand something about the social implications of His healings. Succinctly put, when Jesus touched a person who was sick (particularly a leper) I believe he experienced what they experienced.
In 1st Century society, lepers were view as the walking dead. No one would touch a leper. They were not allowed to walk or live near any city. They were forced to live in their own colonies and were cut off from the rest of the world.
They were completely outcast.
When Jesus said in Matthew 8:17, “This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases” that was taken literally.
When Jesus touched a leper HE became unclean (http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-08532014000200004).
Yet in Matthew 8:2-4 Jesus did not hesitate to touch the leper. We read, “And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
The Prophet Isaiah made that clear in Isaiah 53:4, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”
Essentially Jesus turned the world upside down when he showed up on the scene. As Isaiah prophesied long before, Jesus took our grief and carried our sorrow.
Jesus carries our sorrow.
It doesn’t matter what kind of sorrow you are carrying, Jesus will carry it.
As I write this I am flying across the country and I’m thinking of all of the people on the airplane. I remember Jesus carries our sorrow.
As I look out the window I think of all the people below. Jesus came to carry their sorrows.
God doesn’t choose some and not choose others. God chooses to love everyone. Regardless of who they are God loves them. Regardless of ‘what’ they are, they are loved by God.
We are the ones who choose. God is waiting for us to choose to love. God is hoping we will choose love. By choosing God we choose love.
In the book by Brennen Manning, Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging, he wrote, “Jesus says, "Acknowledge and accept who I want to be for you: a Savior of boundless compassion, infinite patience, unbearable forgiveness, and love that keeps no score of wrongs. Quit projecting onto Me your own feelings about yourself. At this moment your life is a bruised reed and I will not crush it, a smoldering wick and I will not quench it. You are in a safe place."
Jesus chose the leper. He chose to heal the man who was suffering. The man who was cut off from society. He was left for dead. He lived in the place of the dead.
Yet, the leper in Matthew 8 was very brave. He must have heard about Jesus the Nazarene who healed people from all manner of diseases. He came out of his cave and went to find this man Jesus.
The leper wanted compassion, patience, forgiveness, and abundant love.
The leper believed in Jesus God.
The leper believed Jesus was safe. The leper wanted love and life and he found that in Jesus.
The poet Ralf Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) wrote:
“This is my wish for you;
Comfort on your difficult days,
smiles when sadness intrudes,
rainbows to follow the clouds,
laughter to kiss your lips,
sunsets to warm your heart,
hugs when spirits sag,
beauty for your eyes to see,
friendships to brighten your being,
faith so that you can believe,
confidence for when you doubt,
courage to know yourself,
patience to accept the truth,
Love to complete your life.”
That’s what the leper wanted that day. He wanted a life. He chose Jesus.
When he left his cave that day, he hoped…really hoped this man Jesus who he had heard about was everything right and true. He hoped Jesus would love him.
He hoped Jesus really could heal him and would bear his sorrows.
See, the leper had many many sorrows…and Jesus took them all.
Spiritual Practice: Bear my sorrows
Give all of your sorrows and your hopes to God. Let Jesus bear them for you.
In God, Deborah