Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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George C. Clark and John D. Clark, Sr.
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and he knew sickness. He was like one hiding his face from us. He was despised, and we did not value him. He took our sicknesses and borne our sufferings, yet we considered him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”
Ours is a time of ominous unrest and uncertainty, causing distress among men. Too many are coldly accumulating wealth and position at the expense of others. It is surprising what some men will do now for just a little honor. If you are among those pursuing this world’s benefits and pleasures, let me remind you that all such labor is in vain. The Lord Jesus is knocking at your heart’s door and pleading with you to cease this mad rush for temporal pleasure and false security. Jesus – and Jesus alone – is able to calm the fears that so easily oppress our vulnerable human spirits. Jesus alone can fill your heart with a genuine, enduring peace.
If there ever was a time when we needed a Savior to bear our burdens, it is now. Even the most prudent leaders of the nations are distressed as never before concerning national security, puzzling diseases, natural disasters, and crime. Homicide and suicide are being committed in unprecedented numbers. Man has never been so thoroughly reminded of his mortality.
May I urge you, my Reader, to be deeply concerned about your relationship with Christ. The prophecies of end-time events, one by one, are being fulfilled. If you hope to be “caught up” to meet Christ in the air, you must overcome the cares of this world; and we can do that only by heeding Peter’s wise exhortation to “cast all your care upon Him; for He cares for you” (1Pet. 5:7).
Whether it be a crushing disappointment, our physical infirmities, the loss of a loved one, or even worry about the future, the Lord is touched by our frailty and is waiting for us to trust in his tender care. Jesus “has taken our sicknesses and borne our sufferings.” Indeed, God “put him to grief” for us. So, why face this sorrowful world alone? “For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched by our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way that we are, without sin. Let us, then, boldly draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15–16). Our blessed Savior, though glorious in power and majesty, is also acquainted with the grief of this life. He has been here. How he must desire that we know that he understands and loves us!
While walking over the hills of Judea, healing the sick and afflicted, Jesus sounded the depths of every human experience. He knows what sorrow means. His grieving was not for himself, as we know, but for the sufferings and spiritual blindness of God’s people. It is heart-rending to picture the rejected Savior upon the Mount of Olives, weeping over Jerusalem, “Oh, if you had known – yes, you! – at least in this, your day, the things which would lead to your peace! But now, they are hidden from your eyes.”
Jesus suffered and died to purchase for us peace with God, a peace which will lift even the heaviest of our burdens. Nothing else can remove from our hearts the awful weight of sin. We are told that “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness [of sin]” (Heb. 9:22); therefore, our Lord had to pour out his precious blood to lift us from our sins and sorrows and to give us peace and comfort as we come to him. He knows our sorrows, and he is able and willing to bear the grief we so often carry. Will you let him bear yours this very minute? Why not surrender them just now?
Be honest with yourself, my Reader. Are you really happy? If not, and if you desire real peace and joy, Jesus is now, even this very minute, saying with outstretched arms, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest!” This rest which Jesus has for you will remove your grief, give you joy, and set you free from this world of unrest and confusion, thus preparing you for that midnight cry which shall be sounded: “Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Go out to meet him!” (Mt. 25:6). Are you ready for this, my friend?
Undoubtedly, some will want to know what price God demands for this liberty from the sorrows of this world. God Himself will answer this question: “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sins, and heal their land” (2Chr. 7:14). When this is accomplished, we can truly say, “he has taken our sicknesses and borne our sufferings.”
Because the shame associated with disobedience burdens many of God’s people, the life of faith sometimes appears dreary. Yet, the obedient children of God are the happiest people on earth, having learned that without Christ’s guidance, all life is frustratingly vain. Peter describes the faithful believer as rejoicing “with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1Pet. 1:8). Such saints have every reason to be happy, for they know what Christ has given them and what he has taken away. He has given peace and has taken away sin, fearfulness, and that distressing sense of guilt. Thank God, He has led them out of darkness into light, out of grief into joy. They have been freed from the domination of sinful impulses. They have passed from the fear of death to the hope of everlasting life.
Faithful followers of Christ develop and increase their joy as they go to him in the time of need. They find their need supplied, as they lean upon him for strength in the moment of weakness, and find themselves upheld, as they turn to him in the hour of grief, and find peace and comfort. Who could keep from rejoicing with a Savior like this? The commandment for us to “rejoice in the Lord always” seems superfluous to every true believer, for he has experienced the reality of that oft-quoted verse, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on you.”