If you’re a country kid in Oklahoma you remember these words, “The bus is coming!” My brother and I could actually see the bus coming from about a half mile away. Mr. Beavers was a permanent fixture behind the steering wheel. He was an icon of rural route bus driving in his OshKosh overalls, Apache Farmers’ Coop hat and stoic face forward.
On that bus pure evil thrived. To Mr. Beaver’s defense, it wasn’t his fault.
There was this kid who took it upon himself to dismantle and utterly destroy the spirit of a couple of overweight, homely and underprivileged girls who rode that bus. The evil boy couldn’t tell you why he detested the girls, nor could he tell you why their “F’s” on spelling papers evoked his disdain.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
Their hand-me-down dresses with patches were particularly good fodder for the boy’s arsenal of contempt. If the girls seemed to be laughing or dared do anything except sit quietly they would be subject to ridicule. It went on for about a semester. It was mean. It was a form of murder, the killing of those poor girls’ souls.
I didn’t directly engage in the aggression. I did something worse. I laughed.
Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But words, those vile, insidious words,
What suffering when malice brings,
It’s what makes junior high HELL.
A Famous Passage and a Lord to Encounter Hell
Isaiah 53 is famous because a surprise introduction — the suffering servant. Something very ugly is interjected into what was a beautiful account.
There is the magnificent revelation of the Lord. There is beauty and power! Yet, the anticipation of God’s prince and deliverer turns violent and appalling. This is a picture of human sacrifice, a guilt offering.
Centuries later, this passage will be prophetically realized in the passion of Christ.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Man of Sorrows
He is despised, smitten, afflicted, perceived as the least of men; He will be treated as if He has no feelings, and as though not entitled to sympathy.
As a child I watched a heart-wrenching movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The hunchback is very difficult to look at, he repulsive; Still, he is a picture of pity and sympathy.
In one unforgettable scene the hunchback, Quasimodo, is publically flogged, and the beautiful La Esmeralda comes from the crowd to give him a drink of water. Quasimodo falls instantly in love with her. No one other than a priest has ever been kind to him. No one! Ever!!!
Later in the movie Quasimodo rescues the beautiful woman from the gallows—he swings to the platform then whisks her back to the cathedral. In a most dramatic fashion he turns to the crowd and proclaims, “Sanctuary, Sanctuary!” In this moment Quasimodo is heroic. He saves the day. This loathsome and abominable “creature” shows that he is not a monster but a man. It causes me to more fully understand the words of John Merrick, the Elephant Man, “I am not an animal! I am a human being!”
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
We find this kind of difficult language in Isaiah 53. The suffering servant will be well acquainted with rejection. From the cradle to the cross He will encounter the indignation of man, and most terribly, the wrath of God.
Accounts for Your Grief
Jesus looked grief square in the eyes; not only does He encounter grief; he allows this monster to consume Him. Jesus felt our grief; He absorbed it into every part of His being. He was intimate with it. Jesus saw it for what it was — not pretty, not right. The Hebrew language tells us that he is so oppressed by this grief that He becomes “disgusting” and utterly gross. Jesus will lose all esteem. The passage shows us one who has no value and seems unworthy of affection or regard. To account for your grief means that Jesus will experience the weight of humiliation and what feels like the oppressive destruction of one’s soul.
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
The Suffering Servant, who is He? Grief is his constant companion, even so He is unwavering in His mission.
And what is His mission? It is to do the will of God. He aligns with and abides in GOD’S PURPOSE. We not only embrace the glorified One, the conquering King, but we also take up our own cross to follow Him, the suffering servant. The Apostle Paul stated this plainly when he said, “For me to live is Christ…” (Phil. 1:21) and that through faith in Christ we can “know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.” (Phil. 3:9-10)
Today, somewhere on some yellow school bus there is evil wreaking havoc on a child. The victim dare not cry; he/she just can’t show weakness or the assault with intensify.
Jesus feels it. Jesus understands.
I don’t understand His passion, but I want to learn to share it with Him.