Bearing Others' Woes by Sympathy
Matthew 8:17
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses.

Himself took our infirmities, anti bare our sicknesses. The evangelist is here pointing out that our Lord actually suffered with those who suffered. His power to heal was directly connected with his power to sympathize; and such sympathizing was necessarily followed by extreme weariness and physical exhaustion. If we can get a true and worthy idea of the way in which our Lord bore the sufferings which he removed, we shall be in a fair way to understand how he could bear the sins from which he came to deliver us. This passage, quoted from Isaiah 53:4, "does not mean that Christ literally took into his body and bore himself all the fevers, pains, lamenesses, blindnesses, leprosies, he healed, but simply that he took them upon his sympathy, bore them as a burden upon his com passionate love. In that sense exactly he assumed and bore the sins of the world; not that he became the sinner, and suffered the due punishment himself, but that he took them on his love, and put himself, by mighty throes of feeling and sacrifice and mortal passion, to the working out of their deliverance. The sins were never his, the deserved pains never touched him as being deserved, but they were upon his feeling in so heavy a burden as to make him sigh, 'My soul is exceeding sorrowful.' And just because the world in sin took hold of his feeling in this manner, was he able in turn to get hold of the feeling of the world, and become its true Deliverer and Saviour. In this fact lay bosomed the everlasting, gospel" (Bushnell).

I. HUMAN SYMPATHY BEARING THE WOES OF OTHERS. Take illustrative cases, such as the mother, who bears the disabilities, or sufferings, of her child. Let it be a cripple-child, see how sympathy finds expression in tireless ministries. Or take the doctor, whose sympathy leads him to take his patient up into thought, study, anxiety, and sets him upon every effort to preserve life, or relieve pain. In what a full and true sense the pain we take up by sympathy becomes ours! Yet more striking is a mother's sympathy when her boy brings on himself sufferings through his sins. Then her bearing means effort to get him delivered from both sufferings and sins.

II. DIVINE SYMPATHY BEARING THE WOES OF OTHERS. We may learn of God from our best selves. But this we may confidently say, if God takes up our woes, he will be most concerned about the sins which are the real causes of all the woes. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

WEB: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He took our infirmities, and bore our diseases."

The Sympathy of Christ
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