THE SUFFERING OF OUR LORD JESUS
The topic of today’s sermon is the SUFFERING OF OUR LORD JESUS.
& As Christians, we all share, to some extent, IN THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE SUFFERING of our Lord.
… Some of it we suffer for RIGHTEOUSNESS’ SAKE …
… Some of it we suffer because we are being chastened by God…
… Some of it because of the fallen nature of the world & the wickedness of others.
… & some of it simply because of the consequences of our own choices.
But when we consider the unbearable suffering that Jesus endured on the Cross …
… HIS SUFFERING helps us to view our own suffering from an ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE.
2 Corinthians 4:17 says: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”
When we view our troubles in light of eternity, are afflictions are actually very light and brief.
But, ultimately, the suffering of Christ is best understood within its ATONING NATURE.
That is what the suffering of Christ is ultimately about.
So let’s begin our study w/ ISAIAH 53, a Messianic prophesy about the atoning nature of the Suffering of Christ.
READ ISAIAH 53
Isaiah 53 describes the atoning nature of the sufferings of Christ.
It is a prophetic chapter about Jesus as the Messiah & the atoning nature of the Suffering of Christ.
In VERSE 2, the Bible says of Jesus that He had no form or comeliness and that when we shall see him, no beauty that we should desire him.
This is speaking of Christ’s external, outward appearance, not his intrinsic value or beauty.
Physically, Jesus would have appeared very common. There is nothing that would cause one to take notice.
He was, by the outward appearance of man, ordinary in every way.
In VERSE 3 the Bible says that Jesus was DESPISED, REJECTED, a MAN OF SORROWS, ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF.
These are the words that describe the suffering Servant.
The Bible says that He was not esteemed by men.
To esteem someone is to respect or to admire someone.
But the Bible says that we esteemed Him stricken or smitten by God.
In other words, when people looked at Jesus’ suffering on the Cross, they thought that God had stricken, that He was being punished by God for wrongdoing.
That’s usually people’s first reaction when they see someone suffering.
This is similar to how JOB was perceived by his friends.
Righteous Job was a prototype of the unblemished Lamb of God, who suffered though he was without sin.
His friends accused Job of being stricken by God for his sins.
They said in Job 4:7-8:
7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?
8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.
And this was how Jesus was also perceived by many of those who watched Him being crucified.
In VERSE 7 the Bible says that Jesus was OPPRESSED & AFFLICTED, yet He opened not His mouth to answer his accusers.
That can be very difficult.
When we are being attacked unfairly, it’s natural to want to fight back and answer our accusers.
And there’s a time & a place for that, but ultimately, our example of Jesus is to keep silent, even in the midst of being mocked, ridiculed, or afflicted.
It’s best, often, to simply turn the other cheek.
And that’s a lesson that we can all take to heart.
In VERSE 8, the Bible says that He was imprisoned and stricken.
This spoke of not only Jesus’ crucifixion, but the suffering, mocking, beating, and ridicule which led up to His death.
In LUKE 22:63-64, the Bible says that the men holding Jesus prior to his illegal trial at night, “mocked him”, “smote him”, “blindfolded him”, “struck him on the face”, and said “Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?”
In MARK 14:65, the Bible says that the chief priests of the temple, the scribes, and elders “began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him” and “strike him with the palms of their hands”.
In MATTHEW 27:30, Now before Pilate, the Bible says that Pilate’s guards “spit upon him” and “smote him on the head”.
Pilate, after finding no fault in Him, scourged Him or whipped Him.
Isaiah 50:6 says: “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”
Not only was Jesus whipped, but Pilate’s guards tore off portions of his beard with their bare hands.
Scourging was the preliminary act of every Roman execution.
The whip that was used for His scourging was called, the Roman folgrum or short whip, according to historical sources.
It contained leather strips of varying lengths in which small iron balls and shards of sharp bone were attached to the whip.
Jesus would have been stripped bare and flogged to the point just short of collapse & near death.
The whip that was used with the iron balls and the sharp shards of bone would have been brought down with full force, and struck against Jesus’ back & behind …
… and puled on his flesh, tearing off the skin, exposing muscle, and maybe even bone.
Isaiah 52:14 says that: “… his visage was so marred more than ANY man, and his form more than the sons of men”.
Meditate on that last phrase for a moment.
That last phrase means that he was so badly marred, that he no longer looked human …
… his form was marred more than the SONS OF MEN.
THE BIBLE RECORDS that after he was scourged, Roman soldiers placed a CROWN OF THORNS upon His head.
John 19:2 says: “And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head …”
These were large, sharp thorns that would have cut into Jesus’ scalp as the CROWN OF THORNS was affixed to his skull, causing more wounds and extreme pain.
After this, the Gospels record that THE SOLIDERS put a SCARLET or PURPLE ROBE on Jesus.
This would have been over his deep, bloody flesh & lacerations & the robe would have stuck to his marred flesh.
Later when THE ROBE was removed again, the robe stuck to his flesh because of the congealed blood, would have pulled at his wounds, causing them to tear & bleed afresh.
Matthew 27:29-30 also says THE SOLDIERS placed a reed (which is like a stick) in his hands, and then struck him in the head with it, further & crudely hammering the CROWN OF THORNS into His scalp:
29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
THE ROBE was then taken off, his own clothes put back on …
& Then Jesus began the long walk down the road to Golgotha, which in Hebrew means, “The Place of a Skull” …
… the place of His Crucifixion.
Jesus was then forced to carry the CROSS BEAM for His own crucifixion, which would have likely been a 6×10” 24 foot beam of solid wood, probably weighing somewhere around a 100 pounds.
Keep in mind Jesus had not slept at all the night before, as He had spent the entire night in deep prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane …
… and then He was betrayed, arrested & illegally tried, beaten, and compelled to walk back & forth numerous times between Pilate & Herod.
The night before, at the Garden of Gethsemane, the Bible records in LUKE 22:44 that Jesus was in such agony in anticipation of what He was about to endure, THAT HE SWEAT BLOOD.
Luke 22:44 says: “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
This is an actual medical condition, today called HEMATIDROSIS.
It’s a condition in which the BLOOD VESSELS that supply the SWEAT GLANDS RUPTURE, causing them to emit blood.
This CAN occur under EXTREME EMOTIONAL STRESS.
That’s the trigger.
So this tells us that Jesus was fully cognizant, as the Son of God, of the UNBEARABLE PAIN & SUFFERING He was about to endure.
It was not hidden from Him.
Yet He didn’t retreat, but willingly submitted Himself to bear the Cross.
In Luke 22:42, Jesus prayed: “… if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
Remember, that Jesus was also abandoned by all his disciples after being betrayed.
Matthew 26:31 says: “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.”
The Apostle Peter even denied knowing him.
Matthew 26:56 says: “… Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.”
This was a fulfillment of Messianic prophesy.
Psalm 22:11 says: “Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.”
Even Judas’ betrayal must have stung our Lord’s heart.
The Bible teaches that Jesus genuinely considered Judas a friend.
Psalm 41:9 says: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”
It was Jesus’ own friend that betrayed Him unto death.
Psalm 55 describes it this way:
12 For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:
13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.
14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
• False witnesses also rose up against Jesus, to spread lies & slander in order to have Him killed.
Mark 14:45 says: “For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.”
& now, Jesus repeatedly beaten, repeatedly spit upon, repeatedly scorned & mocked & ridiculed …
… & painfully scourged by the cruel whip of the Romans, was about to carry His own cross to be crucified.
But, thankfully, “a man of Cyrene, Simon by name” was soon compelled to carry the Cross for Jesus.
Matthew 27:33 continues:
33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
Psalm 69:20-21, another Messianic prophecy says:
20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
THE GALL in this cocktail concoction was a type of poison, to help speed up the process of death and help numb the pain of crucifixion.
In Deuteronomy 29:18 gall is mentioned in association with wormwood, a bitter natural drug.
& Deuteronomy 32:32 says: “For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:”
Bitter things in nature and plants are either medicinal or poisonous.
And so the GALL was offered to ease the pain …
But Jesus refused, not wanting to NUMB HIS SENSE, REDUCE HIS APPOINTED SUFFERING, or DIE BY METHOD OF POISONING.
He fully endured the pain of the cross.
Hebrews 12:2 says: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Now, the Bible is subtle & straightforward about the way it describes the crucifixion of Jesus.
It is summed up in just a few words.
Matthew 27:35 says: “And they crucified him …”
And the other Gospels concur in their brevity.
But the anguish & the steps of the crucifixion would have been both UNIMAGINABLE & EXCRUCIATING.
We actually get the word: EXCRUCIATING from the word CRUCIFY. You can see it in the word.
And so while the New Testament description of the crucifixion is brief …
We get glimpses of the crucifixion about a 1,000 years before it occurred, in Psalm 22:
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
The prophecy from Psalm 22 was very literal, even where it says that his bones are out of joint.
This was literal.
And MEDICAL SOURCES confirm this.
They state that when the cross, with Jesus nailed to it, was erected upright, there would have been tremendous strain placed on on the wrists, arms & shoulders …
… which dislocate Jesus’ shoulders and elbows.
This is exactly as Psalm 22:14 describes it: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint”
Let me read to you from a medical account of the excruciating pain Jesus may have endured on the Cross.
I realize this is not Scripture, so take it with a grain of salt, but with our modern ability to analyze such things medically, it sheds light on what may have transpired physically.
The arms, being held up and outward, held the rib cage in a fixed position which made it extremely difficult to exhale, and impossible to take a full breath. The victim would only be able to take very shallow breaths. As time passed, the muscles, from the loss of blood, last of oxygen and the fixed position of the body, would undergo severe cramps and spasmodic contractions.
The difficulty surrounding exhalation leads to a slow form of suffocation.
Carbon dioxide builds up in the blood, resulting in a high level of carbonic acid in the blood. The body responds instinctively, triggering the desire to breathe. At the same time, the heart beats faster to circulate available oxygen. The decreased oxygen (due to the difficulty in exhaling) causes damage to the tissues and the capillaries begin leaking watery fluid from the blood into the tissues. This results in a build-up of fluid around the heart and lungs. The collapsing lungs, failing heart, dehydration, and the inability to get sufficient oxygen to the tissues essentially suffocate the victim.
The decreased oxygen also damages the heart itself which leads to cardiac arrest.
The Bible does not tell us all this. But we can only surmise that this describes only some of the suffering that Jesus endured on our behalf …
WHILE ON THE CROSS, Jesus was cruelly MOCKED & REVILED by those passing by.
Psalm 22:12-13 prophesies of the moments before Jesus’ death on the Cross:
12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong [bulls] of Bashan have beset me round.
13 They gaped upon me [with] their mouths, [as] a ravening and a roaring lion.
Psalm 57:4 describes the same moment: “My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.”
Matthew 28 describes the scene this way:
39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,
40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,
42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
They were shaking their heads at Him, even in His death, & mocking His legitimacy as the Son of God.
Even one of the thieves who was crucified with Him, mocked him saying in Luke 23:39: “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.”
Moments before His death, John 19:28 says: “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.”
Jesus was offered a 2nd drink, this time only VINEGAR without THE GALL.
It’s significant that this time, Jesus did drink, since the POISON of GALL was not mixed with the vinegar …
… and now His time had come to die.
John 19:30 says: “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
Isaiah 53:7 says: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
When He did open His mouth to speak, Jesus asked God to forgive their ignorance.
In Luke 23:34, Jesus said: “… Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do …”
ALL OF THIS WAS DONE, SO THAT WE COULD BE FORGIVEN.
This was the NATURE and the PURPOSE of CHRIST’S SUFFERING.
It was the ATONING NATURE OF THE SUFFERING OF CHRIST.
In Luke 9:22 says of Himself: “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.”
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
After His resurrection Jesus said in Luke 26-27:
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Jesus did all this to cover our transgressions & to take our afflictions & sins upon Himself.
This was the atonement in action.
Acts 3:18-19 says:
18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out …
In Romans 4:25 Paul says that Jesus “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
The words of Isaiah 53, make more sense and come to life when we consider and get a glimpse into all that Christ went through:
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
So what can we learn from all this?
#1 – that Jesus suffered for our sins; He took our sins upon Himself and by His suffering & death atoned for our sins.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
#2: Understanding Jesus’ suffering puts our own suffering, trials, and afflictions in this life into ETERNAL PRESPECTIVE.
That’s the practical application that we can get for our own lives.
Jesus not only saved us, but gave us an example of suffering that we ourselves may endure to the end.
Nothing that you will go through in this life will ever equal or compare to what Jesus went through during His crucifixion.
Christ’s suffering imparts to us an eternal perspective on our own problems …
… so that we can “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
The Bible says that “IF we suffer, we shall also reign with him” in 2 Timothy 2:12.
This is speaking of eternal rewards & the authority of the believer during the Millennial reign …
… as we fellowship in the SUFFERING OF CHRIST together with Him.
1 Peter 3:13-14 also says:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
& Verse 17 says: “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.”
But here’s the thing, we will only be rewarded when we SUFFER IN THIS LIFE FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS’ SAKE.
Too often, Christians today, create their own conditions of suffering, as a result of poor choices they make and think they are suffering for Christ.
But Matthew 5:10-12 says:
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
So we will be rewarded when we suffer for RIGHTEOUSNESS’ SAKE, not for doing evil.
& Sometimes, Christians get a self-persecution complex.
They lose their temper or behave poorly & walk in the flesh & reap the consequences of their own actions.
In other words, there’s no reward when you’re JUST PERSECUTED for doing evil.
Persecution comes when you suffer for preaching the Gospel according to truth.
* ANOTHER ASPECT OF SUFFERING is that WHEN WE SUFFER, we are forced to rely on God for COMFORT & SUSTENANCE.
In this way, God uses our suffering and our circumstances to conform us to the image of His Son.
God also uses our suffering to humble us and to align us with His perfect will.
That’s what God did with PAUL’S THORN IN THE FLESH.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10:
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
The Bible says that we are to LITERALLY take PLEASURE in our INFIRMITIES & in our AFFLICTIONS.
SUFFERING IN CHRIST keeps us humble & pliable.
Our strength is made perfect in weakness.
The Bible says in Psalm 51:17: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
Being broken before God is a real blessing.
I’ve never regretted any suffering that I’ve endured in Christ once I’ve come out the other side.
So as difficult as it is to suffer, sometimes I crave affliction & suffering, because it keeps me humble and staid on God.
When we suffer, we also have the capacity of being more compassionate towards others.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7:
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
The Bible promises that if we follow Christ, we WILL have tribulation in this life.
In John 16:33 Jesus said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
As followers of Christ, we overcome the world by being made partakers in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering …
Luke exhorted the disciples in Acts 14:22 to continue in the faith, “and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
Paul sent Timotheus to comfort the Saints in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4:
3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
The Bible says that we are joint-heirs with Christ if we suffer with Him, but that we should not consider the suffering that we go through in this life worthy of the glory of the life to come.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 Paul says:
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Our afflictions really ARE LIGHT in comparison to the suffering of our Lord.
No matter what we may face in this life, nothing compares to what Jesus endured not only FOR US, but INSTEAD OF US.
• Christ’s suffering is to be our example in this life, of what we should be willing to endure on His behalf.
1 Peter 2:21-24:
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Life is filled with constant trials & challenges that are beyond our ability to control.
But it is nothing, in light of the SUFFERING OF OUR LORD JESUS & in the hope of OUR ETERNAL GLORY & REDEMPTION as Saints of God.