It’s been interesting watching a bit of the World Cup (soccer, that is, in case you’re not a fan, or have been hiding under a rock for the last few weeks!). I like checking out the expressions on the player’s faces (except when it’s obviously one that they have been working on in drama school and they are trying to milk a penalty).
Sometimes the expression is one of absolute elation and joy, as they celebrate having helped their country to fame and glory. Often it’s mixed with unexpected surprise, as they had not hoped in their wildest dreams to be in such a great position. The face lights up, the team lifts and the crowd goes crazy.
Often, unfortunately, what’s written all over the player’s face is pain, shame, sorrow, as they realise that they have just done something that means an early exit from the competition is a lot closer. As the reality of shame and disgrace for them and the nation sinks in, the hands often come up to cover the face. And when the final whistle blows, there are tears and regret at what could have been. If only….
It’s a common human experience – getting it wrong, missing the mark, or sin, as the bible calls it. Even for the person who doesn’t know or believe the bible, the sorrow at having not met our own expectations of ourselves, or the expectations of people we love, is real and painful.
Our passage for today (Isaiah 53), says of God’s suffering servant, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (v4). Isaiah was pointing forward to the work of Jesus. In his death on the cross, He paid the price to put things right – He bore our sorrows.
The biggest problem with our sin is not the sorrow it causes us, or even those we hurt or let down (serious as this is). It’s the pain and sorrow it causes our Creator, who made us to live in a loving relationship with him. Jesus bearing our sorrows and griefs means that He has fixed this most serious of consequences – that we have upset God. Jesus’ death on the cross put that right, so that God no longer regards us as offenders, but as He regards Jesus – perfectly loving and obedient.
What a joy to be recipients of this kind of undeserved grace and love! Let’s live in the light of it.