Atheist Frederick Nietzsche, in his famous Thus Spake Zarathustra, wrote “In the final analysis, one experiences only one’s self.” Thank God, really. It’s hard enough, experiencing our own pain, our own suffering, our own hurts and sorrows; imagine experiencing another’s as well? Please. We can no more feel another’s pain than we can sweat for them.
And yet, according to the Bible, one great exception to this otherwise universal rule exists: Jesus on the cross. In Isaiah 53, where, more than half a millennium before the cross, the prophet wrote about what Jesus would face, he penned some of the profoundest words ever. Talking about Jesus, He wrote: “Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows,” (Isaiah 53: 4). Whose griefs, whose sorrows? The text says “our griefs, our sorrows,” meaning, according to the Bible, the whole world’s, for as John wrote: “He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world” (1 John 2:2).
Sure, we are astonished, hurt even, at the numbers: millions in this war, millions in that war; tens of thousands in this famine, tens of thousands in that famine; thousands in this tsunami and thousands in that tsunami. And yet each person who perished, who suffered, still knew only his or her own individual pain, only his or her own sorrow, never another’s. In all of human history, in all the long millennia of suffering and woe (of which we know only a tiny bit), not one of us has ever suffered more that only what one of us, individually, can. Again, thank God.
With, however, the exception of Jesus on the cross. Again, as the text says, “Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” Somehow, and we don’t know how—what we as humans face only individually, Christ, on the cross, faced corporately, suffering more for humanity that any individual human ever suffered.
Let that thought sink in, think on it, pray on it, and then thank God for what He had done for not just all of us, but for you as well.