March 23, 2014

No Sorrow Like His Sorrow

Mark 15:22-27; Isaiah 53:3-10

They offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
—Mark 15:23


The first event recorded at Jesus’ crucifixion is the offer of wine mixed with myrrh—probably to help dull the senses and ease the pain. But Jesus refused to drink it. He willingly drank God’s cup of suffering instead. He submitted himself to the worst suffering a human could experience.

Jesus’ road to the cross involved sorrow upon sorrow. His trial was conducted hastily in the shadows of night. The leaders altered the rules and broke the law to condemn him. His own people disowned him. False witnesses lied, upright men physically abused him, respected spiritual leaders spat on him, and the highest of priests mocked him.

Isaiah 53 explains the consequences of Jesus’ decision to face every human sorrow. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities.” He willingly suffered, and we unknowingly benefited. What a wonder!

How did Jesus respond? Hebrews 12:2 reports, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame.” Extreme sorrow and anguish normally breed anger and bitterness. But Jesus’ pure heart would not allow sin to enter in.

Jesus, who deserved no punishment for sin, bore it all for us. His response to suffering enables us to overcome the hard times and abuses of life. In his strength, we too can remember the joy set before us.

“Man of sorrows—what a name for the Son of God, who came ruined sinners to reclaim: Hallelujah, what a Savior!” Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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