by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted (me-u-neh). But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Romans 8:16-18 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
When I studied Isaiah 53 earnestly in the ancient Hebrew, I was taken back by the Hebrew word for "afflicted" (me-u-neh). In modern Hebrew this word means "tortured". When I was young, and first learned what torture actually involved, my soul was shocked that this could happen to people; in fact that it was happening to people. That a person could be kept alive for the purpose of intentionally causing him intense agonizing pain was an astounding enigma for my young soul. It really frightened me; and I think that fear of torture is probably the greatest fear that humans can experience. We read about people who have been tortured, with a kind of horrified awe. And quietly we wonder inside, "How can this be?" And, "Could this ever happen to me?"
Crucifixion was a form of torture which the ancient Romans used frequently. And while I had a concept of the suffering that our Messiah endured for us, for some reason the understanding that He was tortured for our iniquities brought my awareness to a new level. I did not begin to appreciate or fathom the suffering Yeshua went through. His identification with our suffering and our sin was total, and His experience of this torture so fully absorbed Him that He experienced what must have felt like infinite isolation and pain. Somehow, this is a deep comfort; to know that the Son of God understands by experience, torture and suffering unthinkable.
But then, I suddenly realized that I also could not begin to comprehend the glory that awaited Him after His suffering. And that His suffering purchased for me a portion in that glory as well. It was the other side of the story, and somehow, these two extremes complement one another; suffering, and glory. The apostle Paul states his revelation about our sufferings with almost light-hearted conviction; that they are not even “worthy” to be compared with the glory that awaits us. This, to me, could be the most amazing promise in all of scripture.
Suffering is everywhere, a constant part of this life; it may be you, or someone you love, or people you don't even know but are agonizing over and praying for. This world casts suffering in every direction at every level of intensity. But all of it, every flaming ounce of it has been successfully absorbed into the body of Yeshua the Messiah. He was tortured for us – suffered death for us – so that our sufferings are trifles in the light of eternity. It's been said this way: from heaven the most miserable earthly life will look like one bad night in a cheap hotel. Thank the Lord.