My Encounter with the Suffering Servant: What Good Friday Means to Me

Good Friday is one of the most sacred days for Christians because it is the day we remember and reflect on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. For me personally, it has special significance because I found comfort as a child, and now as an adult, in the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53:

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

doyouknowhim

Many people ask me how I survived psychologically with the events of my childhood; the affliction, abandonment and abuse. My only answer for them is Christ, both directly and from the hands and feet of people He brought in my life. At the tender age of five years old, I met Jesus on the filthy cold floor of my childhood home. He came to me as the Suffering Servant who was intimately familiar with pain, specifically the pain I was experiencing.

Prior to my encounter with Christ, I was blessed to hear the Gospel at church and make a simple decision in my heart to consider Jesus.  I learned that “God so loved the world that He gave up His only son so that WHOEVER believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” I learned that He did this for me, a child who felt forgotten and entangled in the depths of human depravity.

I sometimes hear from other Christians that children, especially young children, don’t have the capacity to understand the Gospel.  However, after four years of Bible college, I can assure you that even as an adult I have not come (even close) to a full understanding of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  Of course, as a child I didn’t understand the Gospel as I do now, but I would argue He was closer to me than ever because of the condition of my heart.

In college, I wrote a paper on the beatitudes found in the Gospel of Matthew, specifically the verse “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” I learned that this is not only referring to those who are economically poor, which I was, but also the disposition of one’s heart. As a child, my heart was full of despair brought on by my own family, and I knew I needed miraculous intervention to survive.

I was emotionally vulnerable from the neglect of my mother, physically vulnerable from a lack of nutrition and abuse by my brothers, all conditions that ultimately made my soul spiritually desperate for the need of a Savior. To this day, I believe with all my heart that even the smallest response to the Gospel can save a life as it did mine.

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