Yet it was our suffering he carried,
our pain and distress, our sick-to-the-soul-ness.
We just figured that God had rejected him,
that God was the reason he hurt so badly.
But he was hurt because of us; he suffered so.
Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed him.
He endured the breaking that made us whole.
The injuries he suffered became our healing.
Sometimes we get it all wrong. Because we don’t know what we are talking about or because we haven’t checked on things, we get it completely backwards. Also, there are times when we just don’t care. We simply don’t want to invest the time and effort to find something out because it doesn’t have anything to do with us. And if there is suggestive talk or bad vibes of some kind, we certainly aren’t going to let our world be rocked because we stick our neck out for someone else. It might be that protecting my feelings and sticking with the pack is often the easiest and safest thing to do.
Nietzsche once said, ““You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” Unfortunately for him and us, this is not true. But many of us try to live as if any way is the right way. I figure that what you are doing is alright and I’m not going to get involved with your stuff. And so many times, you see me up to something but you figure that I know what I am doing so you aren’t going to interfere with me. It’s all a free world anyway, right?
Sadly, it’s this kind of attitude that leads many of us to a miserable and angry life if we aren’t careful. For some reason, God decided that the best way for me to be healthy is to care about your health. It seems oddly backwards, but the idea of treating others the way I want to be treated is part and parcel to God’s prescription for physical and spiritual wellness. To this end, Jesus served as our best example. The thing is, when Jesus was doing his best explaining to others that he was willing to bear their burdens and guilt, very few showed any interest in what he was willing to do for them. In fact, when Jesus told people that he loved them and that he would protect them in their discipleship, they became enraged and wanted to hurt him. Instead of sitting at his feet to hear what he had to say about a full and meaningful life, many opted to discredit, mock, and curse him.
I’m not sure, but I think pride enters in here somewhere. What is it that causes us to not want to defer and kneel before Jesus? What is it that causes, even with an assurance of care and protection, some to flail, hiss, and spit invective with every chance that they can get against Jesus? Why can some be so harsh with others about faith and a belief in God? Well, it’s the disease of pride. And today just like when Jesus walked among men, many deny Jesus and leave him to bear their sin and guilt even as they hurl abuse and insult at him. It seems cliche, but it’s all about the barking dog biting the hand that feeds it, isn’t it? It’s about an ungracious, uncaring, hateful, and bitter people who can’t expend the energy or take the time to understand Jesus, fall at his feet, and cry for forgiveness. C.S. Lewis said in his book Mere Christianity, “As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”
Jesus is the physician who is willing to give us medication that we need even though we don’t want to take it. He is the dedicated trainer who keeps running ahead of us to set the pace even when we don’t want to follow. Jesus is the special teacher who will stay late and tutor every night if necessary even if we aren’t picking up the material because of our stubbornness. He is the forbearing parent who cooks, prepares, cleans, and straightens even with insolent teenagers in the house. Jesus is the patient restaurant waiter who willingly continues to fill water glasses and serve the customer even when the customer reads him the riot act and dresses him up and down several times. He is the friend who will sit with another for as long as it takes during his friend’s cold chills, hallucinations, and DTs while withdrawing from alcohol or another drug. Jesus will wait at the bus stop for as long as he needs to wait for you to arrive. He will stay up as late at night as necessary waiting for you to get home safely. Jesus will deliver your keys when you are locked out of your car on a cold, wintry morning. He will visit you over and over in the hospital. And in all of these things and more, he will sympathize and empathize with you in your uncertainty, hurt, and disgust.
What kind of loving man can do this without ever stopping and not being bothered by how poorly we treat him?
The burden that Jesus carries comes from his complete love for you and me – whether we acknowledge it or not! It is a heavy load to bear. Especially when there isn’t anyone else around to help him carry the load. Especially when the load he carries is for one who doesn’t care and could give a flying flip. Especially when he doesn’t receive any thanks, acknowledgement, or agreeable nods of the head. But he keeps doing it. Because he loves you and me.
For some who realize and drop to their knees in front of Jesus in contrite remorse and humbleness, Jesus can be and is their healer. Through the suffering of Jesus who bears our hurts, he brings wellness to those who follow him unequivocally.