I have trodden the wine press alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in my anger…
By this I mean not that they were solitary or peculiar as being propitiatory sufferings, though in this they were indeed distinguished from the sufferings of all other men. Nor do I mean merely that they were sufferings of extraordinary and unexampled severity, though that also is true. But there were connected with the nature of this mysterious Sufferer certain features or conditions which rendered His sorrows such as no other of our race could endure, — certain facts which gave to them, as to His whole history, a character of elevation and awfulness, beyond the range of mere human experience. Amid all the sons and daughters of sorrow that crowd the page of human history, Jesus yet stands forth "the man of sorrows," - the solitary Sufferer of humanity.
I. ALL HIS SUFFERINGS WERE, LONG ERE THEIR ACTUAL OCCURRENCE, CLEARLY AND FULLY FORESEEN.
II. THEY WERE THE SORROWS OF AN INFINITELY PURE AND PERFECT MIND. As it is the cup that is deepest that can be filled the fullest — as it is the tree that rears its head the highest that feels most the fury of the storm, so it is the soul that is largest and most exalted that is capable of the greatest sorrows. A little, narrow, selfish, uncultured mind is liable to comparatively few troubles. The range alike of its joys and its sorrows is limited and contracted. It presents but a narrow target to the arrows of misfortune, and it escapes uninjured where a broader spirit would be "pierced through with many sorrows." The insect, in the. summer, breeze, brimful of mere animal happiness, is exposed to mere animal privation and pain. Its life is but one long sensation. The little child, again, has fewer capacities of suffering, fewer cares and anxieties, and troubles, than the mature-minded man,-the savage than the civilized being, — the ignorant, unrefined, unreflecting man, than the man of high intellectual and moral culture, of thoughtfulness and refinement Of taste and feeling. It is the great law of life that every advancing power, every improvement, physical, intellectual, moral or spiritual, which a man gains, carries with it, as the necessary penalty, an additional liability, a new degree of exposure to surrounding evils. Turn your thoughts to one who has begun to receive that highest of all culture, the renewing influence of Divine grace, — is it not so that he, too, becomes susceptible, in such a world as this, of pains and sorrows unfelt before? The blind know not the pains of sight, nor the deaf of sound, nor the dead and insensible of living ,and breathing men. And so the quickening touch of God's Spirit wakes the believer's soul from a state of moral insensibility and death, to one in which the inner eye can be pained by deformities, and the ear by discords, and the spiritual nature by sicknesses and troubles, of which hitherto it had been all unconscious. But if all this be so, how far beyond all human experience, how far even beyond all human comprehension, must have been the sufferings of the soul of Jesus. Conceive of the sun struck out of yonder heavens, and the world suddenly overwhelmed with the horror of perpetual darkness and cold. Imagine the sustaining providence of God withdrawn from the universe, and everything hurrying to desolation and ruin. But no emblem, no comparison can convey to us but the faintest conception of what it was for God's dear Son, as if God-deserted, to die.
III. IT WAS THE SORROW OF A CREATOR AMID HIS RUINED WORKS, The feelings of Jesus in beholding and living amidst the moral ruin and degradation of mankind were not those merely of an exquisitely pure and sensitive human spirit: they flowed from a far deeper and more awful source. It was nothing less than the world's great Creator that, concealed in that humble guise, surveyed and moved for thirty years amidst the ruins of His fairest, noblest work, lying widespread around Him! (Genesis 6:5, 6; Luke 19:41, 42.) There is a sort of sentimental melancholy which gathers over the mind of one who surveys the scene of some great nation's bygone glory, now, it may be, strewn, only with wreck of departed, greatness. But surely an emotion of a far deeper kind may well be called forth in the thoughtful mind when contemplating the mournful moral and spiritual degradation of humanity, as contrasted with the glory of its original structure, and the splendours of that destiny for which it was created I Even the body, the mere tabernacle in which the soul resides, a work which only Deity could create, is a work over whose ruin even Deity might mourn. Yet every sick-bed by which Jesus stood, and every sufferer's cry He heard, and every bier and grave to which His steps were led, were to His eye the ruthless destruction of another and another glorious work of God — the proofs of the triumph of the destroyer over the results of infinite wisdom and skill. But the destruction of the body is insignificant in comparison with the ruin of the soul. Shall we wonder, then, that the Creator of such a work as this — so noble, so deathless, so Divine, should have experienced bitter grief for its ruin? Reflections:
1. All such views of the sufferings of Jesus are most obviously suggestive of gratitude for His marvellous self-devotion on our be if.
2. Is not this subject fraught with a most solemn warning to all who are living in carelessness or indifference to the spiritual interests of themselves and others? What more awful intimation could be conveyed to us of the evil of sin, and of the infatuation of those who are indifferent to its fatal consequences, than in the sorrow of Jesus?
3. Such views of the sufferings of Jesus afford to every penitent soul the strongest encouragement to rely on the Saviour's love. Your salvation was an object which even at such a fearful cost He was willing to seek; and think you He is less willing to seek it now
(J. Caird, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
WEB: "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was no man with me: yes, I trod them in my anger, and trampled them in my wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on my garments, and I have stained all my clothing.