A Man of Sorrows… Acquainted with Grief

Isaiah 53, See also Mosiah 14

(I am including the entirety of my study from Mosiah 14 made almost 10 years ago at the end of this post.)

The first thing that stands out to me loudly this morning (21 Jun 2021), is that Christ is termed a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (vs. 3). I can connect with that. What makes me connect with and appreciate the Savior even more is the reality that Isaiah then illustrates in verse 4: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” So it was me. I was part of his grief.

Second day of study (22 Jun 2021), Isaiah starts the chapter with two questions:

  • “Who hath believed our report?”
    This question invites faith on statements of fact or reality. “Our report” suggests that we are being asked to believe not a myth, but rather in eye-witness accounts of things that actually happened. Thus faith is belief things that are true, but simply can not be readily seen.
  • “and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”
    Coupled with this first question, this follow-up question adds an important insight that further qualifies how we are to receive this report. The question expects that the recipient receives knowledge or truth through revelation.

Sub-Study: Receiving Truth via Revelation

Gospel Topic: Revelation

JST, Matthew 7:12-17 – In teaching about revelation and understanding its importance, Christ was even encouraging of the ruling class to point them to seek revelation of the Father.

Another day of study (25 Jun 2021), I have felt that judgment is a tool that the Lord uses for our progression. Isaiah says, “by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” When we talk in terms of redemption of the sinner, the Lord employs two tools which seem to be in opposition to each other: judgment and mercy. I don’t necessarily see them as being in opposition to each other. Judgment is a measuring stick. How can we know what we are to do with out judgment. We talk about “the demands of justice.” Mercy is what takes hold when those demands have been fully satisfied, and if we are being honest with ourselves, it always seems to be much more forgiving than we feel we deserve.

“Because he did no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.”

(26 Jun 2021) Is violence sin? Violence, the shortcut of a short-fused individual, an attempt at forcing one’s will upon a situation in such a way that others are limited in how they respond. There is more to consider here. I am going to do a breakout study on the topic of violence.

(28 Jun 2021) Perhaps there is no other chapter of scripture that captures the significance of Christ’s Atonement like this chapter. This is what makes Christ a God, that he was capable of bearing our sins and burdens, and that he accepted this humiliation upon himself. If he were mortal, imperfect like the rest of us, this would be beyond praiseworthy. Why then, being just slightly above the angels, and choosing to descend below the dignity of mortal suffering to bear our transgressions, our mortal rebellions against truth, do we count this of lesser value?

I am not capable of comprehending this Atonement, yet it is real. This mortal frame that I possess, this is the only thing that I can fully steer or control to bring into submission with this unfathomable reality.

(Study from December 2011)

I am memorizing this entire chapter. I already had it committed to memory at one point in my past. Having done so, has made it very familiar to me as I read through it again. As I have read though the chapter again those feelings of familiarity seem to also be reminders of Savior’s friendship and concern for each of us.

It is an interesting thing to contemplate that in the equity of the Lord’s plan, relatively very few ever had the opportunity to know Christ during His mortal ministry. Perhaps a lie of the adversary is that thought that had we been alive and know Christ personally, intimately, then we would believe and have as much conviction as the apostles of Christ did.

However, I wonder how I would have responded to Christ if my first interaction with Him would have been to meet him personally in mortality. Without any knowledge of the plan of God, or being subject wholly to the tendencies of the natural man, I fear that I would (as would probably many others) discount him and just walk away. If salvation were based on just a one time personal encounter with the Savior of the world, how miserable would be my performance and fate.

The contemplation of the pain and suffering that Christ had to bear is beyond comprehension. Yet what is curious to note is that Christ himself does say “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”(Matt 11:30) How can  he say that something  “which suffering caused… , even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit”(Doctrine and Covenants 19:16) is easy and light? Again, it is beyond comprehension. Perhaps, the power of true love, Christ-like love, which is unconditional and without end, is the best explanation to an otherwise irrational paradox.

The use of  different tenses, some times even within the same verse can at first be very disconcerting. Isaiah goes from future tense to present tense to past tense and then back and forth freely throughout the chapter. Clearly, in Isaiah’s day this was a forward looking prophecy. But then when he says things like “we hid as it were our faces from him”(vs 3), the accusation is personally applicable, and I find within myself truth in my own life experiences of times when I indeed have tried to hid my face from Him. The reminder is powerful and poignant.

I love the words of Isaiah!

Verse 7 talks about the Savior as a lamb or a dumb(as in unable to speak) sheep. I am asking myself why did he take this role upon him. “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter.” It is as if He went knowing, yet he did not know, for He had not experienced. Yet what a great example: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.” Too often I am found complaining when acute trial gets to be very difficult.

In verse 9, as I review the definitive statements about Christ’s innocence, the reality of this truth makes everything else possible. “because he had done no evil, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” That statement alone causes me to conclude that this was a great man, a being beyond mortal capacity. Indeed, He was and is a God. Yet knowing that he was here and that he experienced it makes it all the more admirable what he has done for me. Indeed admiration perhaps is a weak word, when really it causes me to want to worship Him, and love Him with all my heart.

Christ was triumphant over the grave! He has obtained the same rank and stature as great as any wicked, self serving ruler in this world, because of his righteousness. It was different than any other who lived and aspired to greatness and wealth and power and prominence

Verse 11 is a reminder of the disciples burden that the Savior willingly carries. This reminder, if I truly reflected upon it frequently would keep me in check and cause me to not transgress as frequently as I find myself doing.

Here is the other thing that can be truly confusing about Isaiah: the use of pronouns without a given understanding of whom the pronoun is being attributed to. For example, verse 9: “And he made his grave with the wicked.” The question is: Who made who’s grave? What is the proper Spirit in which this verse is to be understood. If it is God the Father who is making the grave for the Savior Jesus Christ, the explanation given for doing so seem much more logical: “Because [Christ] had done no evil, neither was any deceit in his mouth.”

This morning’s study (the entire study has now spanned over two weeks – today is 3 December 2011) began with a simple thought: what price did Isaiah have to pay to merit receipt of these revelations. I have been deeply moved by the words of Isaiah here and elsewhere, but what do we know of his history and ministry. What were his challenges?

I just found my answer to the above questions, or at least a couple of good starting points:


One more time this morning (7 December 2011), the Spirit of the Lord bids me to give pause on the line in verse 3, “and we hid as it were our faces from him.” Perhaps it is the reason for the hiding that the Lord would have me to consider. “He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” We don’t like to be associated with sorrow and grief. We don’t like to watch it in movies. Much less do we like to have to deal with it in real life. Or perhaps we find ourselves too much engulfed in our own sorrows and griefs. At any rate, I think it must be because we don’t frequently know how to remedy these griefs and the pain that comes for whatever reason, and so we shy away from the challenges that such present. This brings to mind the scriptures from the New Testament that talk about the poor and the needy when the Lord says “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt 25:40)

For the hungry, the thirsty, the estranged, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned, Christ has born their griefs and sorrows. Among them, ought we also to be found.

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