Thursday, May 8, 2014

Do we, as well, hide our faces from the Man of Sorrows?

He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Isaiah 53:3

The verse probably contains but one topic—the contempt, or rather aversion, with which men regarded the Servant of the Lord…. Keble says, “He was to be a man of sorrows, and because of His sorrows, He was to be despised. Such is the pride and bitterness of our sinful nature, ever since the fall of our first parents; which began with the lust of the eyes, Eve indulging herself with the sight of the forbidden fruit; and which has gone on ever since, men refusing in general so much as to look at the afflicted, ‘hiding, as it were, their faces’ from them, because such sights interrupt their enjoyment and satisfaction.”
He is despised and rejected of men still, both Jews and Gentiles, and the words of that hymn are no less plain than sadly true, which says—

Our Lord is now rejected,
And by the world disowned,
By the many still neglected,
And by the few enthroned,
But soon He’ll come in glory,
The hour is drawing nigh,
For the crowning day is coming by and by.

We hide our faces from “the Man of Sorrows” when we wish to make this world a paradise of rest, when we neglect the duty of knowing and acquainting ourselves with the burdens which are borne by men, and begin to plan for this world as if it were a place for happiness and repose.  There is no rest here; woe to the man who attempts to make it a place of rest. Oh! there is a false view of things which we get when we try to shut out the thought of suffering. Think of the young man and the young woman who make gaiety their home day after day and night after night, and think of Christ with the sick and maimed around Him; think of one who surrounds himself with the entertainment of this world, and think of one whose day is spent in passing from one sick chamber to another.
We reject Christ when we refuse to relieve suffering. There is an evil which is done in this world by the “want of thought”; that is the sin of those who go through life, not suspecting, and not caring to inquire, how much there is of human desolation. And there is an evil which is done in this world by “the want of heart’; that is the sin of those who are familiar with all that you can tell them of misery, and still go on feasting, and dressing, and amusing themselves, and doling out with a grudge the driblets of their income in the sacred cause of benevolence.
If ever you feel disposed in his manner to turn away from the afflicted, you will do well to check yourself with the question, “Am I not, in fact, behaving as the Jews did when they turned away from our Saviour?” “He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” and, therefore, “they hid as it were their faces from Him.” Surely if we hide our face, peevishly or contemptuously, from any one of His afflicted and poor people; if we are impatient and displeased with everything, except what encourages our mirth or what helps us in our day’s work; we have every reason to think that we too should have hidden our faces from our Saviour, had we known Him in the flesh: we should have been impatient and displeased at being called on to look off our business or our diversion towards a person so lowly and little esteemed, so very full of infirmities and sufferings.
It was a most distinguishing feature of the life of Jesus, the compassion which He felt for the degraded, neglected, unbefriended poor. And He sympathized with bodily anguish. He was walking almost all His life through the wards of a vast hospital. The hospital was the world; the sick, the dying, and the mad were lying on their beds, on both sides of Him. At evening “they brought unto Him many that were sick”; and, it is written again and again, “He was moved with compassion.”

The Great Texts of the Bible ~Isaiah

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