“Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” Isaiah 53:4
In order to the perfection of His character as the High Priest of His people, as the Brother born for adversity, in order to be “touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” He must Himself suffer. He must know from painful experience what sorrow meant- what a wounded spirit and a broken bleeding heart, a burdened and a beclouded mind, were. In this school He must be taught, and disciplined, and trained; He must “learn obedience by the things which He suffered;” He must be made “perfect through sufferings.”
And oh, how deeply has He been taught, and how thoroughly has He been trained, and how well has He learned thus to sympathize with a suffering Church! You have gone, it may be, with your trouble to your earthly friend; you have unfolded your tale of woe, have unveiled every feeling and emotion. But, ah! how have the vacant countenance, the wandering eye, the listless air, the cold response, told you that your friend, with all his love, could not enter into your case! The care that darkened your brow had never shaded his- the sorrow that lacerated your heart had never touched his- the cup you were drinking he had never tasted. What was lacking?
Sympathy, growing out of an identity of circumstance. You have gone to another. He has trod that path before you, He has passed through that very trouble, His spirit has been accustomed to grief, His heart schooled in trial, sorrow in some of its acutest forms has been His companion; and now He is prepared to bend upon you a melting eye, to lend an attentive ear and a feeling heart, and to say, “Brother, I have known all, I have felt all, I have passed through all- I can sympathize with all.”
That Friend of friends, that Brother of brothers, is Jesus. He has gone before you; He has left a fragrance on the brim of that very cup you are now drinking; He has bedewed with tears and left the traces of His blood on that very path along which you are now walking; He has been taught in that very school in which you are now learning.
Then what encouragement to take your case, in the sweet simplicity of faith, and lay it before the Lord! to go and tell Jesus, confessing to Him, and over Him, the sin which has called forth the chastisement, and then the grief which that chastisement has occasioned. What a wonderful High Priest is Jesus!
As the bleeding Sacrifice, you may lay your hand of faith upon His head, and acknowledge your deepest guilt; and, as the merciful Priest, you may lay your head on His bosom, and disclose your deepest sorrow. O my precious Savior! must You sink to this deep humiliation, and endure this bitter suffering, in order to enter into my lonely sorrow!