If there is one universal element that unites people everywhere, it is the fact that everyone experiences pain. No one is exempt from it. You might say that pain is the price we pay for being alive. Job, no stranger to pain, once observed that “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower, and is cut down; he flees also as a shadow, and continues not.” Our anguish and hurt do not go unnoticed by our Maker. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated that God is concerned when a sparrow falls to the ground; how much more when we, made in our Creator’s image, suffer and fall.
It is a fundamental tenet of the Christian faith that Christ never sinned; He lived a sinlessly perfect life. Despite His own innocence, however, the heart of the Gospel is that the Son of God most certainly suffered the consequences of sin, our sin, and at the top of the list of those consequences is pain, excruciating, crippling pain. And our Lord certainly experienced suffering, and is, according to Heb. 4.15, “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.”
Throughout the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, the Bible describes in poignant terms just how pain impacted Him. “He wept” and “groaned within Himself” standing before the tomb of a friend. When speaking of His coming Passion, Jesus said, in Jn. 12.27, “Now is my soul troubled. What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour.” As He prayed in the Garden, knowing that He was soon to be betrayed by a kiss and abandoned by His friends, “He began to be sorrowful and very heavy”; the account in Mark says “He began to be sore amazed”, and He confessed to His disciples, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death.” It is significant to note that this deep, soulish suffering of our Savior came even before the scourgings began, before the merciless floggings and bludgeoning, before the crown of thorns was beaten onto his brow, before the nails were driven through his sinless flesh to hold Him to that old rugged cross.
Christ’s pain was the result of His taking our sins upon Himself, of Jehovah “laying on Him the iniquity of us all.” He was motivated by love, and the ultimate purpose or result of His suffering was our salvation. Nothing paints this picture more clearly or beautifully than the words of Isaiah 53: “Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”