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.

Isaiah 53:3

It was a long time before I understood – fully understood – what the Bible meant when it said that Jesus died for me. Maybe I’d heard the message so often that it had lost its meaning. You know how that happens. Maybe you weren’t ready to hear it the first time and it didn’t sink in. Later in life, when it might have been more meaningful, the message had become stale and you were no longer interested.

The story of Christ’s suffering on the cross is one such story for me. I couldn’t understand what his dying had to do with my sins being forgiven.

But I have been paying more attention over the past few years. Having experienced great rejection myself and the suffering that came with it, I have come to a better understanding of what Jesus went through than I might otherwise. With our sinners’ eyes, let’s have a look at what Jesus our Savior went through as a rejected man.

Have you ever been deeply hurt by the rejection of a best friend? No longer counted as a friend. No longer greeted with a smile or hello. Do you remember how that felt?

Now think of how Jesus must have felt to be rejected the way he was at the end of his life. Not by one, but by thousands. Look at how Isaiah above describes it. Although he was God in human form, he was considered less than a man, no longer belonging to mankind. He was treated as though he had no human feelings and was not entitled to human fellowship or sympathy. Imagine being treated so inhumanely. Maybe some of you can.

Jesus died an excruciatingly painful death on the cross, sacrificing himself to relieve us from the guilt of unforgiven sins. In his death he brought us freedom from that burden. Greater love has no one than this! (John 15:13)

Can you imagine such suffering with no remorse shown by those who crucified him? No compassion for the man who had compassion for so many.

Turning back to your own story: How would you feel if, like Christ, you offered to forgive the person who hurt you and he refused to accept? Would it not seem that this person did not feel sorry for what he did? Did not feel he could do wrong? But we have all done wrong and must humble ourselves, accepting that we’re sinners. Giving all we are to God will bring us into a life of freedom. Jesus calls us to come to him.

Cindy Osborne, writing for Christianity Today: “The Cross made forgiveness available to the world. However, forgiveness extended may not mean forgiveness received. There must be a willingness to accept it if it is to be ours.”

Lord, you came to Earth to love us and to show us how to love. You were a man in whom there was no blame. Yet you took our sins upon yourself and suffered so much. Oh, Lord! What have we done to you?