Every couple of weeks, I have been speaking at the Eastbrook Academy all-school chapels. Today, I spoke from Isaiah 53 and Philippians 2 about Jesus knowing, caring about, and healing our pain. Here is my message:
When I was about ten years old, I learned an important lesson: golf is painful.
I was hanging out with my friend, Chris, who lived in my neighborhood. We decided we would play golf in his back yard. But we were ten, so we decided to use whatever we had available: a rusty golf club and a tennis ball.
It was a short-lived game. As Chris prepared for his first swing, I stood behind him watching to see how this would work out. He brought the club back and then laid into the ball with a swing of tremendous effort.
But I didn’t see where the tennis ball went. What I had failed to take into account was the distance necessary between me and Chris. And so, as he swung through the ball and the golf club rounded up over his shoulder that club smacked into my forehead with a resounding thud. I started seeing stars and felt a quickly mounting pain, so I put my hands to my head, only to realize that I was bleeding profusely.
Let’s just say: it hurt and I was a mess.
Thankfully, everything turned out okay, with the help of some doctors and a tremendous amount of stitches. The only lingering residue is a scar and a serious dislike of golf to this day.
I don’t know for sure whether you’ve ever experienced deep pain in your life, but I’d venture to say that you have. Sure, there is the physical pain like I felt when the club hit my head or when you break a bone, but there are other types of pain.
Unkind words from a brother or sister. A feeling of rejection from our classmates. Criticism about something we’ve done or not done from someone we really respect. Sometimes emotional or spiritual pain hurts a lot more.
Not too long ago, I was talking with some folks about how God can bring His healing to the painful places in our lives. We looked at a portion of the Bible in the Old Testament prophets, the words of a prophet named Isaiah. In Isaiah chapter 53 we see an amazing picture of the reality that God knows, cares, and heals our pain.
Here are a few verses from this chapter that are so powerful:
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
(Isaiah 53:3-5, NLT)
These words from the Bible are talking about the Messiah, who God would send. We know today that this Messiah is Jesus. As I’ve thought about these words, I’ve gained insight into how Jesus knows what our existence is like as humans in a broken world.
Jesus knows what it feels like to be and feel unattractive (v 2).
Jesus knows what it feels like to be rejected (v 3), even by those closest to Him. Think about what it would have felt like to have some of your closest friends, people like Peter or Judas, deny they know you or turn you into the police.
Jesus knows what it is like to suffer and endure great pain (v 5). Just think about the agony of what it would be like to slowly die upon the Cross.
Jesus knows what it is like to endure unjust suffering in innocence (v 9). Think about the fact that He never did anything wrong, yet He died for our wrongs.
Jesus knows what it is like to suffer in silence (v 7).
Jesus knows what it is like to be exposed to the world in brutal ways (John 19:23).
Jesus knows our pain.
In another part of the Bible, we read this:
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
(Philippians 2:6-8, NLT)
The mere fact that Jesus came into our world, setting aside His glory in order to serve us indicates the depth of His care. He chose to enter and endure our human world of joy and suffering so that He could bring life where there is death, joy where there is sadness, hope where there is despair, and healing where there is brokenness.
Listen to this simple verse in Isaiah 53: “by his wounds we are healed” (v 5, NIV). The crushing, the wounding, the shattering that Jesus endured was for our healing. It was for our spiritual healing, indeed, but as we are whole people, so Jesus wants to bring healing and redemption to our whole person.
Wherever you are at and whatever your circumstances, I hope that you know today that Jesus knows your pain, Jesus cares about you, and Jesus wants to bring healing to you and me.
Jesus knows – Jesus cares – Jesus heals.