Bearing with One Another

Jeff Munroe

READ : Isaiah 53:1-9

Surely he has borne our griefs. (v. 4)

Max DePree caused a sensation in his book Leadership Is an Art when he wrote, “Leaders don’t inflict pain; they bear pain.” The thought, credited to “a friend,” came from David Hubbard, former president of Fuller Seminary. Hubbard had seen a lot of leaders abuse their positions instead of caring above all for the good of their followers. Max DePree continues Hubbard’s thought in his next sentence: “The measure of leadership is not the quality of the head but the tone of the body.”

As an Old Testament scholar, David Hubbard would have been very familiar with the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. Christians easily see these words about one who bore our griefs, was wounded for our transgressions, and whose punishment made us whole as prophecy about Jesus. In other words, we understand that Jesus doesn’t inflict pain, he bears pain.

When I was a boy, I remember my dad letting me help him carry a large rock. I grabbed a hold and thought, “Gee, rocks aren’t very heavy.” All loads are easier to carry when someone helps, especially when they seem to take most of it. The same idea is at work when Jesus tells us his burden is light in Matthew 11:30. It’s light because he’s carrying most of it. When Paul tells us to bear with one another, he’s saying to be like Jesus, to grab a hold and help carry someone else’s pain.


To help bear another’s pain is to follow your example, Lord