When film director Christopher Nolan brilliantly reimagined the Batman character in his “Dark Knight” trilogy, it was only a matter of time before DC Entertainment and its film partners would join to reboot the Superman franchise. In 2013, Man of Steel was released and the legendary son of Krypton was in action once again.
In an interview prior to the film’s release, Amy Adams (who portrayed Lois Lane in Man of Steel), made this insightful statement about the enduring appeal of the Superman mythology. She said it was about a basic human longing, and asked, “Who doesn’t want to believe that there’s one person who could come and save us from ourselves?”
That is the right question. In our most desperate moments, we look for someone to come to our rescue—and someone who is referred to as a “Man of Steel” sounds like a great candidate for the job. But the Scriptures tell a different story. In prophesying about the coming Messiah, Redeemer, and Rescuer, the prophet Isaiah wrote:
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
(isaiah 53:3–4, emphasis added)
Man of steel? Not exactly. Only in an upside-down kingdom would the king come, not as a man of steel, but as the Man of Sorrows. In Isaiah’s prophecy, it seems that the prophet sees two threads that run parallel to one another:
Jesus bore our sin and our guilt.
Jesus also bore our sorrows and our griefs.
Questions cascade from those two realities. How did Jesus experience life as the Man of Sorrows? What were the touch points that allowed Him to be truly and authentically “acquainted with grief”? To see these dark moments and their impact on Jesus, we will dive into the gospels in the first part of this booklet.
How do we balance Him being acquainted with grief personally and bearing our griefs on our behalf? In other words, as Jesus experienced suffering, what were the results of His suffering, in addition to the rescue His cross and resurrection would provide? The letter to the Hebrews will offer us some help here. We will explore those ideas in the second part of the booklet.
Clearly, the Man of Sorrows came to bear our guilt and our sin, but He also came to bear our griefs and sorrows. As we explore the dark side of Christ’s incarnate experience, we find in Him a merciful and faithful High Priest who is more than enough for our own dark days.