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Man of Sorrows

Written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss on . Posted in Nancy Leigh DeMoss

The Wonder of His NameMan of Sorrows

Leslie Basham: What sorrow are you facing today? Nancy Leigh DeMoss reminds you that God’s provided hope.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It’s an awesome thing to think that God took our sorrows on Himself. Because He bore our sorrows, here’s the incredible news . . . all of our sorrows, for those who trust in Christ as the sin-bearer, who trust in Him to be the one who carried their griefs and bore their sorrows, those who place their faith in Him, every one of our sorrows will one day be turned to joy.  

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

Jesus was called the Man of Sorrows. Because He can relate to your grief, it can give you a lot of hope. Nancy will explain why, as she continues in the series “The Wonder of His Name: 32 Life-Changing Names of Jesus.” 

This message was recorded at Calvary Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, part of the Revive Tour.

Nancy: About a month ago we received an email at Revive Our Hearts that said,

Dear Revive Our Hearts,
I don't even know where to start. I posted on today's broadcast about being in prison to my secrets. . . . I see no way out. How could God ever use me again after all this? I feel hopeless and only wish I had the courage to end it all by taking my life. . . . I can’t get past what I have done.

Just last week we received an email from that gal’s mother. She said,

I was going through my daughter’s emails and found you had been corresponding with her. We buried Katie yesterday [not her real name]. I found her in her apartment on Thursday morning. She had shot herself. She left a note and was pregnant. She was only thirty-one. I am devastated. 

I had a conversation with a mother just a few days ago whose daughter has been living in a lesbian lifestyle for many years—a girl raised in a Christian home, a Christian church, a Christian school. This mom loves her daughter dearly. That mom carries such great heaviness and sorrow.

There are moms here, and grandmoms, single women, younger women, older women who are carrying great heaviness and sorrow . . . maybe in prison to your secrets, maybe you have a son or daughter who is keeping secrets. There’s heaviness; there’s sorrow.

Throughout this Passion Week, we think about the sufferings, the sorrow, the Passion of Christ. As we reflect on that, I want to remind us that sorrow and suffering and pain are not God’s original plan for His creation. That’s not what He intended.

All of those things—sorrow and suffering and pain—are directly connected to the Fall that we read about in Genesis chapter 3. After Adam and Eve chose to go their own way, they sinned against God, they chose their way rather than God’s way, God says to the woman in Genesis 3:16, “I will surely multiply your pain [or as some translations say, “your sorrow”] in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.”

I think that’s not just talking about the actual giving of birth—I think it’s also talking about motherhood. It has sorrow and pain; it has joys, but it also has sorrow and pain connected with it, am I right?

And then to Adam He said, in verse 17: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you;’ in pain [“in toil” one translation says] you shall eat of it all the days of your life.”

That word pain, it means "sorrow or hardship or heavy toil or labor." It is a direct consequence of the Fall. Ultimately, all sorrow and pain and suffering are the result of sin. It may not be sorrow that’s directly the result of your sin, but ultimately, it’s the result of sin in the human race—sin on this planet.

It may be your sin; it may be others’ sins. But if there had never been sin, there would have never been sorrow and suffering and pain. Sin leads to sorrow. Satan, the Devil, the Serpent, said, “It will lead to joy. You’ll have things you never dreamed of having.” Yes, he was right—sorrow you never dreamed of having, pain.

You see this connection between suffering, sorrow, and sin throughout the Scripture. For example, these verses in the Psalms:

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply (Ps. 16:4).
Many are the sorrows of the wicked (Ps. 32:10).
My life is spent with sorrow and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away (Ps. 31:10).
Your pain [your sorrow, your grief] is incurable, because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant, [God says] I have done these things to you (Jer. 30:15).

There’s a connection between sorrow, suffering, and pain, and sin. Sin of the human race has resulted in multiplied sorrow. Mankind is not the only one who experiences grief and pain and sorrow. Romans 8 tells us that all creation groans in the pains, the sorrow, the travail, the suffering of childbirth. The creation—I think the King James Version says it—“writhes” in pain.

Here’s the worst of it yet. It’s not just mankind, it’s not just creation that sorrows, but God sorrows. God experiences grief and sorrow over the sin of the human race. You see this the first time most clearly in Genesis 6:5–6. This is leading up to the account of the flood,

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.

That word “grieve” is closely related to the word for “pain” that we saw in Genesis chapter 3 several times: “In multiplied pain you will have children . . . You will reap from the earth in pain,” He says to the man.

There is pain, sorrow, and now the Scripture says it grieves, it pains God in His heart. God carries in His own heart, in His own self, the pain, the sorrow, the grief that we experience as a result of our sin.

God’s grief is multi-faceted, and I want to unpack that just a little bit, here. Part of God’s grieving, first of all, is a righteous anger against sin, because His holiness has been assaulted. That’s part of God’s grieving.

But I think God also grieves over the broken relationship, the broken fellowship, when His creatures—that He loves so dearly—resist His love and rebel against Him. When your husband, whom you love, when he resists your love—when he’s disloyal to the marriage, when he’s unfaithful—doesn’t that grieve your heart?

Though you’re mad at the sin and grieve over that, you grieve over the loss of relationship. God experiences deep, personal heartache and pain over the effects of sin on His whole creation . . . over the misery, the sorrow, the blight of the fallen creation.

So in response to that sin—and with a grieving heart—God does two things (and you see this throughout Scripture. Look for this pathway, this highway through the Scripture, how God does two things). First of all, in response to sin and with a grieving heart, God sends judgment. He punishes.

Genesis 6:5, 7:

It grieved [God] to his heart [that man was so sinful], do the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land . . . for I am sorry that I have made them."

God sends judgment . . . but He also sends salvation. And you see those two themes of judgment and salvation running on parallel tracks through the Scripture.

God grants saving mercy and grace. God’s grief over sin and the sorrow that it causes leads Him to take steps to alleviate that sorrow.

So in Genesis 6 God raised up Noah to provide deliverance and comfort and relief. In fact, if you go back a chapter earlier to Genesis 5:28–29, Scripture says that, "Lamech . . ." This is one of those genealogies you usually skip over. If you skip over this one, you’re going to miss something really rich.

Lamech fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, "Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed [the ground that it will take pain to get food from], this one [this son, this Noah] shall bring us relief [Some of your translations say “comfort”—It’s a word that sounds like the name “Noah.”] from our work and from the painful toil of our hands."

Genesis 6 tells us, “Noah found favor [grace] in the eyes of the LORD” (v. 8). Even as God was planning to wipe out humankind, the animals, the whole creation, there’s one man and his family that God chose out to save, to have mercy and grace.

Noah and his family foreshadowed one who was to come who would bring comfort and relief to the human race, who would relieve us of our sorrow and our pain. He’s an early type of Christ, the Messiah.

In yesterday’s session we looked in Isaiah at the first of four Servant-Songs. We saw Jesus as the Servant of the Lord. Today, I want us to look at the fourth of those Servant-Songs. It begins in Isaiah 52:12. It’s the song of the Suffering Servant. This is where we find another precious Name for the Lord Jesus.

Isaiah 52, let me begin reading in verse 13:

Behold, my servant [the Servant of the Lord—and we know this is talking about Messiah] shall act wisely [another translation says He shall “prosper’”—He will accomplish what He sets out to do]; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.

So we have here the exaltation of God’s righteous, faithful, ideal Servant that we looked at yesterday. Then we go down to verse 14 and following, and we see not the exaltation but the humiliation of the Servant of the Lord, as God’s righteous, faithful Servant becomes a Suffering Servant.

We won’t read the whole passage, but skip over to chapter 53, still part of this fourth Servant-Song, and look at verse 3:

He was despised and rejected by men [God’s wise, exalted Servant now is despised and rejected by men], a man of sorrows [a Man of Sorrows—another name for the Messiah—a Man of Pains, that word could be translated]; and acquainted with grief [with sickness, could be another translation].

As you continue in Isaiah 53, throughout that Servant-Song you see that this Servant is taking the place of others. He is suffering for others on their behalf. Look at verse 4,

He has surely borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.

Why is He a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief? Because He is carrying our sorrows and our griefs.

Here’s Jesus, as we know now being New Testament believers. We can look back and put all this together in a way that those Jews in 700 B.C. weren’t able to do. We see that Jesus who had unmitigated, undisturbed joy for all eternity past in heaven, comes to this earth to become the Man of Sorrows.

And all through the Gospels you see how this is lived out. He’s misunderstood by His parents at age twelve in the temple. They don’t know what’s going on there. His own brothers in the flesh don’t believe Him. He knows what it is to be hungry and thirsty and tired. He knows what it is to be tempted by the Devil.

He knows what it is, as a man of sorrows, to witness the ravages of sin in a broken world—sickness and death and grief and pride and prejudice and hatred.

Here’s the author of life who weeps at the grave of His friend Lazarus. He’s the Man of Sorrows, who weeps over Jerusalem because she doesn’t know that her Redeemer has come; she rejects her Savior.

The Man of Sorrows weeps in the garden as He prepares to go to the cross and endure the ultimate suffering. The Man of Sorrows who is betrayed by His close friend and disciple. The Man of Sorrows who is mocked and beaten and crucified.

We see this in Matthew 26 after observing the Passover feast with His disciples, Jesus goes to garden of Gethsemane to pray: 

And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death" (vv. 37–38).

The Man of Sorrows.

In so doing, in carrying those sorrows, He fulfills numerous Old Testament prophecies. I think of that one in Lamentations (Lamentations itself being a “lament,” a sorrowful cry):

Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow [any pain] like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the LORD inflicted on the day of his fierce anger (1:12).

Is that not an Old Testament description of Calvary?

Back to Isaiah 53—that Servant-Song:

He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed . . . Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he [God, Jehovah, the Father] has put him [the Beloved Son] to grief (vv. 5, 10).

Why did Jesus become a man of sorrows? Because He obeyed the will of the Father. And it was the will of the Father that Jesus should take on Himself the sorrows and the grief caused by our sin. Sorrow is related to sin, and when Jesus bore our sin on the cross, He bore also the sorrows, the grief, the pain caused by our sin.

Which leads me to ask this question: How in the world can we love the sin that caused our Savior such grief and sorrow? That’s something we ought to be reflecting on this week—this Holy Week, this Passion Week.

Well, sorrow abounds in the world. We think we have sorrows, yet in other parts of the world—maybe even in the lives of those who are close to you—there’s private pain that most never see.

I received a Facebook message not too long ago from a friend who is living overseas. It’s a little lengthy, but I want to read it to you, because it just shows the kind of sorrow that goes on in this world.

Here’s what’s going on in my world right now: My husband has been travelling for several days. Five days ago I came home from school and noticed a large gathering at the neighbor's lot indicating that there was a wedding taking place. The family that lives on that lot are squatters—a man with three wives, each having their own stick-and-tarp dwelling. We had been expecting this man to marry again, because last week a new stick dwelling had been built—one that leans against our perimeter wall—which is approximately six feet from our bedroom wall.
It turns out that the new bride of this fiftyish-year-old neighbor is a twelve-year-old girl. Because of the nearness to my bedroom, I heard everything as their marriage was forcibly consummated that night . . . beating, crying, etc. Horrific. And the men around the neighborhood and across the street at the mosque could be heard hooting and hollering—cheering him on. This has been going on for the last five nights, and I'm hearing it as it is happening to this child right now.
I've wanted to intervene, but it would not be safe for me or my daughters. I can only pray. And cry. And vomit. It's just wrenching, Nancy.
I am asking God to comfort this little girl now during her humiliation, sorrow, pain, and shame. I'm asking Him to redeem her pain and shame and to bring salvation to the man and family living on the other side of our perimeter wall. I know that's something only He can do and that He would be glorified in doing that.

Does Jesus know about that twelve-year-old girl’s sorrow? her pain? her grief? Does Jesus care? Can He do anything about it? I want to say yes to all those questions. He is the Man of Sorrows. He knows; He cares, and He has done something about that girl’s sorrow, about the sorrows of those other wives, about the sorrow and the grief of that man who is living in a broken way in which God never intended His human race to live.

He cares about the sorrow of my friend who’s living six feet away from that stick dwelling, and her daughters—middle-school girls who are experiencing grief and sorrow and suffering. He’s the Man of Sorrows. He knows about your sorrow. He cares, and He has done something about it.

What did He do? Well, here’s what He did: Jesus drank the full cup of sorrow and pain that every person in the world through all of history deserved—for our sin. At the cross judgment and salvation met. They kissed; they came together in the Man of Sorrows, so that the world—that you and I—might be able to receive forgiveness and comfort and healing.

It’s an awesome thing to think that God took our sorrows on Himself. Because He bore our sorrows, here’s the incredible news: All of our sorrows, for those who trust in Christ as the sin-bearer, who trust in Him to be the one who carried their griefs and bore their sorrows, those who place their faith in Him, every one of our sorrows will one day be turned to joy. It’s amazing!

Jesus said to His disciples,

Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament [He was speaking to them on the eve of His going to the cross]. . . You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy . . . you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you (John 16:20, 22).

And then that wonderful Old Testament prophecy:

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads . . . and sorrow and sighing shall flee away (Isa. 51:11).

So we join with that old-time hymn in proclaiming,

Man of Sorrows, what a Name,
For the Son of God who came 
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, what a Savior!

("Man of Sorrows" Philip P. Bliss)

O Lord, how we bless You for being that Suffering Servant, the Man of Sorrows. Thank You for bearing our sorrows, our grief, our pain. Lord, I pray that even in this moment, someone listening to my voice would have their eyes opened to see Christ in a way that they’ve never seen Him before, to place their faith in Him.

Thank you for carrying our sins, our sorrows, our griefs, our pains . . . for being the Wounded Healer, that we might be healed. You gave us Your joy in exchange for our sorrows. So we receive Your joy, Your healing, Your grace, Your blessing. We give You thanks. We trust You. We love You. Hallelujah! What a Savior! Amen.

Leslie: We can take comfort knowing Jesus was the Man of Sorrows. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been exploring this name of Jesus. That message is part of the series “The Wonder of His Name: 32 Life-Changing Names of Jesus.” 

We’re focusing these names leading up to Easter. This has been a powerful study, helping us think about who Jesus is as we prepare to mark is death and resurrection. 

Throughout the series we’ve been inviting you to go deeper—to think about this material at a slower pace and really get it in your heart. To do that, Nancy’s written a devotional book called The Wonder of His Name. Each of these thirty-two names of Jesus is the focus of one devotional thought. 

Several times during this series we’ve offered the book to you when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. It’s the final week we’ll be making that offer, so let us hear from you by this Friday, April 18. Your gift helps make this podcast possible.

Ask for The Wonder of His Name when you call with your donation. The number is 1–800–569-5959, or visit

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