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A Lenten Devotion

“Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”
2 Timothy 2:15

Our text is one of the verses of the 53rd chapter of Isaiah which we often associate with the Lenten season.  

Much grief and many infirmities do not come upon us just “out of the blue.” Troubles and sorrows come our way because sin entered into the world. The Scriptures say, “…and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

While death and grief are strongly connected, that is hardly the limit of the grief which because of sin has come into the world and into our individual lives as well. We could make an almost inexhaustible list of sources of grief in our lives, all because we live in a world corrupted by sin.

The Lord Jesus came to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows, and He did this long before those last hours which we refer to as His passion. We read in Matthew’s Gospel: “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses’”(Matthew 8:16-17).

Sin Had To Be Removed!

However, the root cause of all the grief and infirmities which Jesus took upon Himself—which in His great compassion and power He healed and removed—that root cause remained. Sin had to be taken out of the way. Sin had to be removed.

And so we pay close attention to the remainder of our fourth verse from Isaiah 53 which reads: “Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”

Jesus was cursed by God for our sins. Look at the cross and the suffering He endured there. Yes, we know that Roman soldiers drove nails through Jesus’ hands, but the greater hurt was His being forsaken by His Father in heaven.

We look to the cross and we see Jesus stricken and afflicted by God. We see the wrath of God poured upon Jesus—the wrath of God for the sins of the world.

And the sin which lay at the root of our griefs and sorrows has been dealt with once and for all. Sin—with the wrath and curse of God on account of that sin!—has been removed forever!

In Jesus we find the cure for the grief that afflicts us in this life.

We turn to Jesus because He is our Redeemer who cares for us and willingly bears our infirmities.

We turn to Jesus in confident prayer because we know He hears our prayers and has demonstrated for us how much He cares.

We turn to Jesus because He has shown that He has the power to deliver us from sin and all its consequences.

In Jesus we find hope and deliverance for this life and, even more importantly, for the life to come where there will be no more death, sorrow, or crying, for the former things will have passed away (Revelation 21:4).