Lessons In Suffering From Jesus
Detail of The Face of Christ: Painting by Peter Howson by kind permission of the artist
Suffering Teaches Dependence On God
The writer of the LETTER TO THE HEBREWS
(ie Messianic Jews) makes an amazing statement in HEBREWS 5:7-8
• During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and was heard because of his reverent submission.
• Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered
To understand this statement we need to observe Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane with his three closest disciples - Peter, James and John - the night before he was executed on a Roman cross at Calvary.
Lesson #1: The Loneliness of Dying - Just You and God
Jesus asks his three closest friends to keep watch and to pray for him, while he goes a short distance away and talks to Father God about it. It is just between Jesus and Father God.
Point: When you are approaching death, not even friends can take the place of God - it is just between you and God.
Lesson # 2: The Choice of Going God's Way or My Way
The writer of HEBREWS 5:8 says that even though Jesus was the Son of God, he still had a choice - to obey his heavenly Father or to do his own thing. The Contemporary English Version reads: "
Jesus is God's own Son, but still he had to suffer before he could learn what it really means to obey God." How do we know that? From the prayer Jesus is reported to have prayed, not once but three times.
Point: Jesus chose to go God's way rather than his own way.
In JOHN 14:30-31 Jesus says to the disciples:
I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world (ie satan) is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
In other words, Jesus was saying that his death would demonstrate his love for his heavenly Father and obedience to what God the Father had told him to do - namely, to go the Cross in agony to reverse the results of Adam and Eve's disobedience.