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Before considering 17 examples of the suffering of Jesus Christ, reflect on these Scriptures:
“…it was necessary for him (Jesus) to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17-18, NLT). (see also: Hebrews 4:14-16).
“Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he kept entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (I Peter 2:21-24)
When we suffer….. “….let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
1. He left his comforts behind to suffer for others - “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor.” “Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (II Corinthians 8:9; John 17:5).
2. He entered Creation as a creature - “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:6-7). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1;1-3,10,14).
3. He was born in humble circumstances – even without proper shelter.
4. He experienced weariness, hunger, sadness, anger, disappointment, loss
5. He agonized in prayer over a great trial - “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:42,44).
6. His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. (Matthew 26:38)
7. He was betrayed, denied and forsaken by his friends.
8. He was misrepresented, falsely accused, arrested and subjected to an illegal judicial process.
9. He was declared innocent and yet punished for crimes he did not commit.
10. - He was slapped, spit on, sneered at, struck with a stick and beaten with fists and tortured with the dreadful scourge - “Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him” (Matthew 27:27-31).
11. He was mocked and ridiculed “Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” (Matthew 27:39-44)
12. He was the object of mob hatred as they chanted for his death. “Crucify him!” “Crucify him!”
13. He was completely alone in his suffering, even crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
14. He was put to death with criminals – “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross!”
15. He willingly sacrificed his life despite having the power to protect himself - “Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage” (Philippians 2:6ff.). “No man takes my life from me. I lay it down on my own initiative. I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:18).
16. He died for people who rejected Him - “Christ died for the ungodly.” “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” “While we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (Romans 5:6,8). One might protest, “Don’t give up your life for them!” or say, “What a waste of a good life!”
17. He received the death penalty of God’s wrath against sin - “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:21). “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (John 3:36).
Centuries before his birth, the sacrificial suffering of Jesus was described:
- Isaiah 53:3-11-
“He was despised and rejected —a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”
“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal …”
“But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins” Isaiah 53:3-11).