Jesus: Our Unwavering Sufferer

Posted on February 1, 2021

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By David Ettinger

A Magnificent Passage
One thing (among many) I love about the Old Testament is the poignant picture it gives us of the Lord Jesus.

Of course the greatest image of Jesus in the Old Testament is Isaiah found in 52:13-53:12. But it’s not the only one. In Chapter 50, you will find this magnificent passage in verses 5-6: “The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.”

On display here is Jesus, our Unwavering Sufferer, who with unswerving resolution gave Himself to the mission for which He was sent to Earth.

Personal Perspective
What really stands about this passage – which actually covers verses 4-9 – is that it is in the first person, hence giving us a rare personal perspective of Jesus. We have the future (at the time of the writing) Messiah testifying to His own willingness to suffer for the sins of the human race.

The phrase “The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears” is Jesus’ affirmation that it is God Himself who is giving Him His orders. Before revealing what these orders are, Jesus further affirms that He will be neither rebellious to God the Father’s directives, nor will He turn from them.

Willing to Suffer
Of course we know now that Jesus was sent to die on the cross. And as if that death were not gruesome enough, the Messiah Jesus – God, the Son – tells us that before His execution, He would be subject to beatings and humiliation.

And He was more than willing to accept it: “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.” We see this fulfilled in Mark 14:65: “Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, ‘Prophesy! And the guards took him and beat him.”

Jesus then willingly endured even more suffering:

The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him (Mark 20:16-20).

Our Unwavering Sufferer
Just before going to His death, Jesus tells Peter: “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:53).

Jesus could have easily escaped the suffering He was on the cusp of undergoing. But if He did that, how could He accomplish what He set out to do: Make atonement for sins of the human race?

Instead, Jesus was unwavering in His devotion to His cause, and determined to fulfill His mission to its minutest detail. He knew precisely what kind of suffering awaited Him, but nothing could dissuade Him from accepting it.

Blessed be our Unwavering Sufferer, who bore such agony on our behalf!