Jesus Christ: A Man of Sorrows
Updated: Oct 5
Over the next few months, we will be studying different aspects of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The overall objectives here at Of Unity and Faith are based on Ephesians 4:13:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
We previously focused on the subject of faith extensively . As I pondered and prayed over what the next series should be, the answer came clearly: the Atonement series. This topic aligns with the objective of obtaining a knowledge of the Son of God. Before the answer came to me, I had wanted to do another music-based series. So I thought, why not combine the two?
The Atonement series is unique in that there will be a featured hymn or song by a Christian artist that will help us contemplate the central sub-topic of the Atonement in each specific post. Today, we will examine the Savior’s purpose in coming to Earth to atone for our sins and His grandiose exaltation after fulfilling the Father’s will. The hymn which will inspire our discussion is “Jesus, Once of Humble Birth.” It was written by Parley P. Pratt in the 1800s, but the music for the hymn was adapted from a tune from Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera II Crociato in Egitto. I invite you to read the lyrics below and listen to the following beautiful rendition of the hymn by GENTRI by clicking here. You can learn about GENTRI by following this link.
Jesus, Once of Humble Birth
Jesus, once of humble birth, Now in glory comes to earth. Once he suffered grief and pain; Now he comes on earth to reign. Now he comes on earth to reign.
Once a meek and lowly Lamb, Now the Lord, the great I Am. Once upon the cross he bowed; Now his chariot is the cloud. Now his chariot is the cloud.
Once he groaned in blood and tears; Now in glory he appears. Once rejected by his own, Now their King he shall be known. Now their King he shall be known.
Once forsaken, left alone, Now exalted to a throne. Once all things he meekly bore, But he now will bear no more. But he now will bear no more.
Text: Parley P. Pratt, 1807–1857
Music: Giacomo Meyerbeer, 1791–1864, adapted
The first verse of the hymn reminds us of Christ’s humble beginnings. He did not come from a wealthy family. He lived an ordinary life. He did not receive glory while He lived His mortal life, yet He will return in all glory at His second coming. He chose to suffer the grief and pain of all, overcame it, and will be our ruler on Earth one day. The second verse reiterates that Christ was meek and considered lowly during His mortal ministry. He chose to die on the cross for you and for me. He is our Lord, the great I Am. The third verse is powerful because it allows us to look back at His suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross, where He shed blood and tears. His own people rejected Him, yet He is and will be the King of us all. My favorite verse is the fourth verse. Christ was left alone and bore all of our burdens, sins, sicknesses, infirmities, pains, and so much more. He cried to His Father, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) in His final moments on the cross. At that instant, Christ felt the Spirit withdraw. It was necessary for this to happen because Christ had to go through this alone in order for Him to feel what it was like when the rest of humankind would feel when sin was committed and the Spirit was withdrawn from us. It was not because the Father did not love His Son. It was an essential step to show the love He had for all of His children. Christ loved us enough to suffer alone so that He could be there for us when we feel like we are alone.
A scripture came to mind as I was thinking about the pain and anguish that Christ experienced for our sake.
Isaiah 53:3-5, 11-12
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
The Son of God loves YOU. Many despised Him and turned away from Him during His earthly ministry. He allowed the Roman soldiers to spit upon Him, mock Him, beat Him, and nail Him to the cross. He allowed the Pharisees and Sadducees to falsely accuse Him, Judas to betray Him, and Pilate to condemn Him. All because He knew that it was all necessary for you and me to have the opportunity to be resurrected, to be able to be forgiven of our sins when we truly repent, and to return to live with Him and Heavenly Father again one day. We cannot comprehend Christ’s love for us, much less everything He experienced during the Atonement. You know your own grief and your sorrow, and He does too. You are not left alone when you struggle. He is there to help you through it so that you too can overcome it like He did. Listen to His words. Turn to Jesus. He will always be there for you.
I cannot wait to share the rest of the Atonement series with you and see how much we can learn together about our Savior. Please share your thoughts about this hymn and this introductory topic by commenting below. Until next time!