Jesus suffered. He suffered like no other man has suffered. When we talk about His suffering, we will often focus on the pain, or the injustice of it, or the reason for it – our justification. But in Isaiah 53:7 the focus of His suffering is on something different. It’s on the way He submitted to it. Silently.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)
Twice in this verse we are told that Jesus suffered without opening His mouth. He kept quiet. It was the burden of our sin He carried, but He carried it quietly.
There is something worthy of imitation here. Something we are not very good at.
While it’s natural and healthy to speak up when we need help, (“I thirst”, John 19:28), we have a tendency to take centre stage with the most trivial burden. We like to lay those burdens at the feet of other people.
Rather than go looking for a misplaced coffee mug, we stand in the middle of the room and demand an explanation and a search party. “Where’s my mug?”, we ask accusingly. When we’re in a jam, our first impulse is to ask who or what’s holding up the traffic. We want to know who to blame for our circumstances. We want atonement. We want satisfaction.
This is a religious impulse. We know intuitively that disruption, disorder, loss, and the like, are a consequence of sin, and we require a sin-bearer. And so we take our seat upon the throne and demand answers or restitution that will solve our most trivial grievances. We want to lay our mess, our misery, or our mug, as the case may be, at the feet of someone else.
Jesus recognises that we have many daily cares and He tells us to lay our worries at the feet of the Father. Why do we struggle to do such a simple task? Why do we find it so hard to suffer the slightest grievance in silence?
If ever there was a man who had a justifiable grievance it was Jesus. But Jesus suffered it silently. He took His earthly cares to the Father, and bore ours also (Isaiah 53:4), and invites us – not to look in or out for someone to bear the grievance, but up, where Jesus is enthroned as the Risen Lord, having borne our every sorrow.
And the life of faith in this Risen Lord is the soul who’s learning to take his sorrow to the Father day-by-day and find his atonement at the cross.