In a sermon on Lamentations 1:12 called “No Sorrow Like Messiah’s Sorrow” John Newton explained how our sorrow and suffering is always mingled with God’s mercy and patience. Christ’s suffering on the cross, however, included no mercy or mitigation.
“Did ever any other sufferer experience in an equal degree the day of God’s fierce anger?”
“In the greatest of our sufferings, in those which bear the strongest marks of the Lord’s displeasure, there is always some mitigation, some mixture of mercy. At the worst, we still have reason to acknowledge that ‘he hath not dealt with us after our sins, or according to the full desert of our iniquities.’”
“If we are in pain, we do not feel every kind of pain at once, yet we can give no sufficient reason why we should not.”
“If we are exercised with poverty and losses, yet something worth the keeping, and more than we can justly claim, is still left to us; at least our lives are spared, though forfeited by sin.”
“If we are in distress of soul, tossed with tempest and not comforted, we are not quite out of the reach of hope. Even if sickness, pain, loss, and despair should overtake us in the same moment, all is still less than we deserve.”
“Our proper desert is hell, an exclusion from God, and confinement with Satan and his angels, ‘where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched.’ Everything short of this is a mercy.”
“But Jesus, though he had no sin of his own, bore the sins of many. His sufferings were indeed temporary, limited in their duration, but otherwise extreme. Witness the effects, his heaviness unto death, his consternation, his bloody sweat, his eclipse upon the cross, when deprived of that presence [of the Father] which was his only and exceeding joy. On these accounts, no sorrow was like unto his sorrow!”
“The unknown sorrows of the Redeemer are a continual source of support and consolation to his believing people. In his sufferings they contemplate his atonement, his love, and his example and they are animated by the bright and glorious issue [topic]. For he has passed from death to life, from suffering to glory.”
John Newton, Sermon #23, The Works of John Newton, Vol 4.