Bible Studies for Life
Pastor en Iglesia Bautista Latinoamericana of Savannah
Hispanic representative, South Regions, Georgia Baptist Hispanic Ministries
Suffering is not pleasant for anyone. Human nature seeks an escape, any outlet to evade pain. When we cannot escape, we cry out to God.
The two sisters, Martha and Mary, sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” At first, it seemed that Jesus did not feel their pain. However, the Scriptures affirm that when Jesus arrived, He revealed the grief He felt: “… Seeing her crying and the Jews … crying, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled … Jesus wept” (John 11:33, 35).
In the person of Jesus, we can understand that God does understand our pain. The Bible describes the sacrifice of God for His most special creation. Sacrifice signifies suffering. Moreover, He chose to subject His own Son to suffering on our behalf. Jesus suffered rejection, affliction and death for our benefit (Isaiah 53:5).
Jesus suffered from rejection
Verse 2 reminded me of the root of a tree in our front yard. The root is almost above the ground and tiny branches continuously sprout up from that root. When I work in the yard, I cut the small sprouts off.
Just like those unwanted shoots, Jesus was also rejected and belittled. Isaiah prophesied how our Lord Jesus Christ would face rejection. Rejection would not only come from His enemies. The apostle Peter refuted those who said he followed Jesus, denying his Lord three times. “The Lord turned and looked upon Peter …”(Luke 22:61).
Surely, His divine eyes showed love and forgiveness, but perhaps in His humanity they also showed the pain of rejection by his own disciple. He has understood suffering since first disobedience in the Garden. He understands our pain because He has endured rejection.
Jesus suffered from affliction and death
The prophet Isaiah tells us that Jesus willingly suffered. Being innocent, God charged Him with our sins. Because we made our own decision and “each one departed in his own way” (v.6), God took the entire burden, all of our guilt and condemnation, and placed it on Jesus.
As God’s sacrificial Lamb, Christ was mortally wounded. Because of extreme love for us, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8).
Fully divine and fully human, Jesus experienced what we feel as human beings: fatigue, thirst, hunger, limitations, etc. He perfectly identified with our needs. This is why he multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the hungry, healed many sick people, resurrected the dead, and provided for physical and spiritual needs. God is fully aware of our afflictions and He has provided us with His Spirit to be able to cope during difficult times.
Jesus suffered for our benefit
Considering the rejection and suffering of the Messiah, as well as His death for our sins, we recognize the extraordinary value of the suffering of our Lord. He is able to help us when we pass through the valley of the shadow of death because He has already been there.
The first benefit and glorious message hidden behind the suffering of Jesus is the salvation of the sinner by his/her faith in the work of Christ. “By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities” (vs.11). The suffering and pain Christ endures dying on the cross is the way of salvation for those who deposit faith in Him.
A second benefit afforded because of the suffering of Christ is the clearer understanding we can have in our time of suffering. After understanding more of God, Job exclaimed, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth” (Job 40: 4).
Knowing God allows us to correctly understand and cope with our suffering and pain. He assures us that He is in control and takes care of us.
No one is immune to pain and suffering nor does the Bible answer all our questions about why we suffer, but God tells us in His Word that we can fully trust Him. He understands each of us, and as a loving Father, He cares about our pain.
He offered His Son for us, subjecting Him to suffering to the point of death for our sin. Through the suffering of the Messiah and in His power, we can endure any adversity we experience in this life.