By His Wounds is a study and mediation for those who wrestle with the complexities of one’s Fallen Self.
Jesus, The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, is cast out of heaven and into the flesh and lives of the people He came to save. Jesus does not stop short of humanity in all its filth and need. Jesus does not descend the heavens only to hover above the manger straw of Bethlehem. Jesus dives down deep into the broken hearts and broken lives of people. Jesus becomes one of us. He takes our sin upon Himself. He takes our hurt and need upon Himself. He becomes who we are and every implication of this. And by His wounds we are healed.
In session one, Isaiah 53:1-2, we reflected upon a Jesus who becomes ugly for us. He is a man with marred appearance and a man from whom men hide their faces.
In session two, Isaiah 53:3-4, we meditated upon a Jesus who is hated and rejected for us. How can it be? He is rejected by those He came to save. His Father turns His back upon Him. The disciples desert Him. The multitudes mock Him and cry for His crucifixion.
In session three, Isaiah 53:5-6, we considered a Jesus who is broken for us. He is divided. He is destroyed. Thorns gouge His brow. Nails pierce His flesh. A spear ruptures His side. Blood and water flow out.
In session four, Isaiah 53:7-8, we pondered a Jesus who is silenced for us. He is gagged and muzzled. He is censored. Like a Lamb led to slaughter Jesus does not open His mouth, nor does He make complaint. He makes no blame nor accusation.
In this session, Isaiah 53:9-10, we puzzle over a Jesus who is cast off and alone. Jesus is isolated and lonely.
Have you ever felt alone or lonely? Maybe you have wondered if you are loved. Jesus, the Suffering Servant, knows your heart. He knows your hurt. He identifies with you in every way.
And by His wounds we are healed.
The Silent Jesus, Isaiah 53:9-10
Jesus, the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53:9-10, is cast off and alone. Jesus, the perfect Son of God, is lonely. Jesus is a man from whom men hide their faces. Jesus is hated and rejected by man and by God. He is born in a manger. He is buried in a borrowed tomb. He hungers in the wilderness for 40 days. And by His wounds we are healed.
“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper
What People Say about Loneliness
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”Mother Teresa
Loneliness is the sadness or depression one feels when he or she feels isolated or that he or she has no friends or company.
Synonyms to Loneliness and feelings of Loneliness:
Rejection, Abandonment, Betrayal, Solitude, Despondency, Friendlessness, Alienation, Seclusion, and Heartache
When a child is standing in the middle of a cafeteria holding a tray of food that is getting stale and cold she is not looking for a place to sit down. She is looking for someone to sit with.
God Speaks About Loneliness
Proverbs 18:24, One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Isaiah 41:10, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 27:10, Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.
If you knew with some certainty, or even a guess, that someone else was lonely or alone, and you could, with little effort, change his or her world, simply by being kind, or investing some time or interest, or by listening, or by sending a card in the mail, or a note, or an emoji, would you do it?
A Story of Loneliness
He was ugly. In fact, people turned away when they saw him.
He was hated. He was rejected by everyone.
He was a broken man. He was beaten. Stabbed. Gouged. We sometimes think we have it bad. He had it worse.
He was gagged and muzzled. He didn’t complain or blame. He was simply silent.
He was alone. He was by himself. No one came to his aid or comfort.
He was in anguish. He was a man of sorrows.
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him. And by His Wounds we are healed.
Dying of Loneliness
Researchers have found that loneliness is just as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. Lonely people are 50 percent more likely to die prematurely than those with healthy social relationships. Loneliness also increases inflammation in the body, which can contribute to heart disease and other chronic health conditions.
Facts About Loneliness
There is substantial evidence that having a lack of social connections significantly increases the risk of premature mortality.
Loneliness is a greater risk to health than obesity, physical inactivity, and air pollution.
Loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%.
Loneliness is associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke.
Loneliness increases the risk of high blood pressure.
Lonely individuals are more prone to depression.
Loneliness and low social interaction are predictive of suicide in older age.
The pathways to explain how loneliness affects health are behavioral, psychological and physiological. For instance:
Social isolation and loneliness adversely influence activities of daily living that include functional status.
People reporting loneliness have poorer sleep quality.
Both social isolation and loneliness were associated with a greater risk of being inactive, smoking, as well as reporting multiple health-risk.
Loneliness is associated with lower self-esteem and limited use of active coping mechanisms.
Older patients living alone are 50% more likely to access emergency care services.
For more Information on Loneliness and Health, see “The Campaign to End Loneliness,” at campaigntoendloneliness.org
By His Wounds
Jesus knows your heart. Jesus knows you hurt. Jesus knows what it means to feel isolated, lonesome, and alone. Jesus is a man of sorrows. Jesus is stricken by God, smitten, and afflicted. Jesus wandered in the wilderness for 40 days. He was tempted, hungry, and alone. Jesus would often go off to an isolated place to pray and be alone. When Jesus was on the Cross of Calvary, paying the full price of our atonement and redemption, He was all alone. The Father turned His back on Jesus. And by His wounds we are healed.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
During this season of “social distancing” and “self isolation,” what are ways we can draw close to each other? Go through your photos on your smart phone. Send someone a photo that reminds you of this person. Tell them why you are thinking of him or her. Share a favorite Scripture or prayer.
Beautiful, New Creations
Sin separates God’s people. Sin separates us from God. Sin separates us from one another.
But grace unites us with God and each other. In Christ, God reconciled the world to Himself. By Grace we are saved and delivered from sin, ourselves, and isolation. God puts us into relationship with one another.
The Suffering Servant has made new creations out of us. We are no longer as we used to be. There is no division among God’s elect. Now we are God’s people who are united in Him with equal
concern for each other, rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep.
God’s Word teaches us how we can now live in relationship and community as the children of God:
1 Corinthians 1:10, I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
During these 40 days of vision, we see Jesus lonely and cast off . We are no longer lonely and alone. Jesus loves us and is always with us. And we love each other, too.
James 1:22 says, “Be doers of the Word and not just hearers only.” Let us purpose ourselves to act on God’s Word and live in community with each other. This is a time for us to walk the talk and not just put on a show. Today, The Suffering Servant has suffered loneliness and isolation so that we would not any more. God is calling us to repent and to return to Him with all our heart. This means being reconciled to others and forgiving others. This means letting go of past offenses and reaching out to people with the love of Jesus. This means seeing those who are lonely, isolated and in need as our brother and sister. Jesus said, “Whatever you do for the least of these — the hungry, the lonely, the man in prison, the sick — you do for me.”