The Sorrow and Brokenness of Jesus

The Sorrow and Brokenness of Jesus


Luke 19:28-42 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.'" Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" They replied, "The Lord needs it." They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.

Jesus, the Son of God, entered Jerusalem triumphantly to the sound of high praise, but another god was already there—the prideful god of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Its followers seemed religious and upright, but Jesus compared them to “whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness”. As He approached the city, Jesus wept over the spiritual condition of the people and their lost opportunity to truly know God and His peace.

What is it that blinds us to the peace of God on this anniversary of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, commonly called Palm Sunday? Do we have another god, an unholy spirit that controls our life and causes Jesus to weep over our loss of His peace? Has God brought you face to face with a god in your life, and you knew that you should give it up, but you didn’t do it? What opportunities have you forfeited?

Jesus’ tearful words, “If you had only known . . .”, cut directly into our soul. These words point toward the lost opportunities and consequences of our own sin and willfulness. Therefore, what would have brought us His blessings and peace is hidden from our eyes because we did not completely yield to Him.

Oh, the deep, unending sorrow we may feel for what we could have enjoyed! Those opportunities are gone forever. Jesus weeps with us because He knows what we forfeited.

The best we can do now is to let this sorrow break our prideful spirit. If we have the right kind of sorrow, godly sorrow, we will repent. We will continually turn away from sin.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Those who sorrow over their own failures and sins and then let it go at that, have a sorrow that only makes them worse. They only feel sorry for themselves. Godly sorrow makes us humble, repentant, and broken, because we recognize we have hurt God and others. Godly sorrow confesses sin and doesn’t make any excuses for it. Godly sorrow is willing to make restitution. Godly sorrow places us in position to receive forgiveness and the righteousness of Christ.

Yes, righteousness is a gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ. But godliness is not a gift, it is the result of our repentance and the Holy Spirit conforming us to the image of Christ—after we have embraced brokenness and are totally yielded to the Lord.

Usually, the last thing we want to do is to give up our cherished self and all our rights of self-determination. What will motivate us to give up these things and desire brokenness?

Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

When we get weary of being god, Jesus invites us to come to Him, repent, and learn. Learning from Jesus how to be broken, gentle, and humble is authentic New Testament Christianity. However, it is rarely seen in today’s church where people are taught to be strong, independent, and forceful. They are proud and they do not resemble Christ. They seek wealth and entertainment. They reject being broken, repentant, and humble.

Roy Hession’s book The Calvary Road says this about brokenness: “The Lord Jesus cannot live in us fully and reveal Himself through us until the proud self within us is broken. This simply means that the hard unyielding self, which justifies itself, wants

its own way, stands up for its rights, and seeks its own glory, at last bows to God’s will, admits it is wrong, gives up its own way to Jesus, surrenders its rights and discards its own glory—that the Lord Jesus might have all and be all. In other words, it is dying to self and self-attitudes. . . .Being broken is both God’s work and ours. He brings His pressure to bear, but we have to make the choice.”

A few days after entering Jerusalem, Jesus felt the pressure of the Cross coming to bear upon Him and He had to make a choice in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Luke 22:41-44 And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done." And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being an agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

People are mistaken if they think they become instantly holy and godly by praying for it. Again, righteousness is a gift. We are made right with God because of what Jesus did, not by anything we do or have done. However, godliness can only be gained through brokenness and obedience to Jesus, learning from Him how to walk in humility.

Philippians 2:5-8 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

We see Jesus willing to have no rights of His own, willing to let men revile Him and not say a word, willing to let men tread on Him and not retaliate or defend Himself. Above all, we see Him broken as He meekly goes to Calvary to become men’s scapegoat by bearing their sins upon His own body on the Cross.

Pride won’t do these things. It didn’t come easy for Jesus, who knew no sin, to humble Himself to the point of being completely cut off from the Father upon the painful Cross. The very thought caused Him such agony that His sweat became like drops of blood. In anguish, He asked the Father if there was any other way for us to be saved than for Him to drink this cup of suffering, separation, and death—but then He responded, “Not My will, but Yours, be done”. Likewise, there is no other way for us to have a godly faith other than through brokenness and dying to ourselves.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus says. We, too, must come to a place where we surrender our self-love and self-preservation and say to the Lord, “I am ready to take Your yoke upon me, and learn from You how to daily die to myself, pick up my cross, and follow You.”

Many believers mentally understand the importance of brokenness, and they may agree that it is the only path to the godly life of faith they desire. However, in their soul they cannot find the motivation or willingness to embrace death to self.

If you find yourself in this situation, do like Jesus did and confess it to the Father. Ask Him to make you willing to embrace death to self. He will comfort you and answer that prayer by giving you His grace and Spirit. You will find, as I do, that this must be done every day, sometimes all day long.

You can also learn the sorrow and brokenness of Jesus by spending time reading and meditating on the passages of Scripture that describe what it cost Jesus to become a sacrifice for your sin. Ask the Father to help you truly see Jesus as if you were there, watching Him suffer and die for you. You might even try watching the movie “The Passion” this week. I know it is a gory movie, but this is not a week to remember Easter eggs and bunnies. This is a week to remember the suffering and passion of Jesus and the subsequent glorious resurrection that results from His sorrow and brokenness!

Ask for a vision of Christ’s love for you. It will help create a love and desire in you to follow Jesus on this path of sorrow and brokenness that leads to godliness. It will revive your faith, making you more dead to self and alive to Christ.

Brokenness breaks the fallow hard ground of our hearts, giving us a better understanding of ourselves and Jesus. Brokenness produces good mellow soil in our heart so the Word of God and the Holy Spirit can produce the fruit of Christ’s character in our lives.

John 12:24-26 I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains. Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for life eternal. Whoever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me where I am. And my Father will honor anyone who serves me.

To produce fruit, a seed must die to the old existence of a seed. Once a seed is buried, the transformation begins. Gone are its identity, form, independence, value, and beauty. All has been surrendered so it can be transformed into a new life that will produce more fruit after it matures.

Admittedly, we resist this process of brokenness and dying to self. It is hard to give up our agendas, objectives, aspirations, desires, and interests. But that is what we must do to become mature, godly, and fruitful.

Our example is Jesus and we are to follow Him. His life was humble and submitted. He came only to do the will of His Father who sent Him. The will of the Father was that Jesus would suffer, die, and be buried like a seed.

Therefore, Jesus was beaten, spat upon, mocked, His beard was plucked out, and a crown of thorns mashed into his skull. Then He was given 39 skin-tearing, blood-splattering lashes on His back and sides. Afterwards, a heavy cross was placed on His back and He was driven through the crowds of people, carrying the cross up Calvary’s hill. His hands and feet were nailed to the cross. He hung on that Cross, naked, taking our punishment for our sin, not His sin! He did have any sin! He took our punishment and died for you and me!

Just as a seed is placed in the ground, Jesus was placed in a tomb. What was this seed going to produce? What fruit would He bear? He was about to come up out of the ground, the first of many to be resurrected. His death and resurrection produced Eternal Life, for you and me!

We must follow Jesus’s example. I am not talking about being whipped, carrying a cross, or crawling on your knees until they are bloody. What I am talking about is in Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Crucifixion is the goal! If we want the life and character of Christ, we must crucify the sinful nature and bury it in baptism. If we want to live a godly life and produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit, we must be crucified and dead to self. Our will must die in order to do His will. Our agendas and plans must be His will and His way.

God uses sorrow and brokenness to bring us to repentance. It is a painful but necessary process that produces the love, peace, and joy that Jesus wants to give us. But, prideful sin blinds us and prevents us from knowing and experiencing these things in this, our day.

Therefore, Jesus weeps over us. Oh, if only we would weep over our sin and be broken! If only we would come to Him and enter His rest and receive His peace!

Mark 14:3-4 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that?

This sinful woman was abused and misused. She was rejected and broken over her sin. Then she met Jesus, who loved her. He gave her forgiveness and value. Therefore, out of gratitude and love for Jesus, she broke open the most valuable thing she had and poured it on Him. Its fragrance permeated the room. Everyone noticed.

Likewise, Jesus loves us! He wants us to be broken and in love with Him, too. When we are broken, we won’t care what people say about us. When we are broken, we will pour out our life as a gift of gratitude and love for the Lord, and a fragrance of love for Jesus will be released that others notice. Their first reaction will be mockery and scorn, claiming our actions are unnecessary and fanatical. However, in our brokenness, there is no person who can stop us and there are no words that can keep us from loving and serving Jesus.

Even today, when proud religious people and unbelievers see Christians lavishly pouring out their love for Jesus, they indignantly say, “What foolishness, what a waste.”

In reality, what is being wasted is that which is still bottled up in our soul. Satan wants us to hold it in or give it to him. God wants to break us so it can be released. It is expensive. It has a high price on it. It’s our worship, a pleasing aroma to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

We try to worship. We sing songs of worship. But that pure worship with a fragrant aroma, like that woman gave to Jesus, is yet to be experienced. Why? Because we are afraid to be broken. Our hearts are still hard. We don’t love Jesus or appreciate what He did for us like that woman did. The fragrance of pure worship is in us, but it will be wasted if we are not broken to release it. The only wasted fragrance is the fragrance that is still bottled up and unused. The only wasted worship is the worship we have bottled inside us. Don’t waste your life, be broken and give it to Jesus out of love for Him. He has a wonderful purpose and mission for us.

Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

When we are broken, humble, full of the Holy Spirit, and Christ-like, God can use us to make disciples. When we are like Jesus, we become His ambassadors and people can see Jesus in us.

Therefore, ask God to break you, and make you like Jesus. That requires you to get rid of any other god you cherish. At first, it will be a sorrowful experience, but it will be worth more than anything you give up. Make Jesus the most important relationship you have. Make Him more important than yourself and you will know the peace, joy, and life He desires to give you, which is currently hidden from your eyes.

If you are not a Christian, come to Jesus in faith that He is the Son of God. Ask Him for grace to believe and to repent of your sin. Then die to yourself in baptism, and receive His life, the Holy Spirit. His peace and joy and eternal life will be given to you.