Help for Sufferers

Help for Sufferers

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Do Christ and God the Father have compassion for sufferers?

“And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14 Matthew 14:14And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
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).

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36 Matthew 9:36But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
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“If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11 Matthew 7:11If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
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Why doesn’t God relieve the suffering of mankind now?

“Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief” (Mark 6:5-6 Mark 6:5-6 5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands on a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
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).

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those that are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37 Matthew 23:37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!
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The unwillingness of mankind as a whole to believe and obey God is the real reason for a suffering world. Only when mankind genuinely repents, after Christ’s second coming, will all people come to understand the relationship between faith and mercy. God is eager to show mercy and shower compassion and kindness on them. But their repentance and cooperation are prerequisites.

Sadly, for most people that will have to wait until Christ changes the attitudes and behavior of the whole world. In our age people simply are not willing to submit themselves to God’s will. As Jesus explained: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:8 Matthew 15:8This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
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). Mankind suffers as a result.

What has Jesus Christ already done to relieve suffering?

“He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17 Matthew 8:17That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses.
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).

Christ’s death paid for our sins so we can be reconciled to God (Colossians 1:21-22 Colossians 1:21-22 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and unreproveable in his sight:
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). So why do people continue to suffer? Although Jesus took on Himself the death penalty we earn because of our sins (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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; Hebrews 10:10-12 Hebrews 10:10-12 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
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), that does not mean that all the immediate consequences of sin are removed. Sin brings enormous suffering of body and mind. Indeed, the two are closely related. A negative mental or emotional state can cause certain types of physical illness.

One of the reasons Christ came into the world was to deal with our physical and emotional afflictions. His personal suffering makes our physical and spiritual healing possible. Before His death by crucifixion, He was cruelly beaten almost beyond recognition as a human being. He took on Himself even the physical consequences of our sins so we, through Him, can be healed (1 Peter 2:24 1 Peter 2:24Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
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). Also, because of His sacrifice, the time will come when all suffering can be abolished forever (Revelation 21:4 Revelation 21:4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
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How did Christ define His mission at the beginning of His ministry?

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Luke 4:18-19 Luke 4:18-19 18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
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, quoting Isaiah 61:1-2 Isaiah 61:1-2 1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
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).

The Father sent Jesus to fulfill this Scripture (Luke 4:20-21 Luke 4:20-21 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say to them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
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), written hundreds of years before by the prophet Isaiah. This was in addition to His primary mission of giving His life for the sins of humanity. The four Gospel accounts all attest to Christ’s exemplary life in relieving the sufferings of His fellow human beings.

How did Jesus fulfill this Scriptural mission?

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them” (Matthew 4:23-24 Matthew 4:23-24 23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought to him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
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).

Did Jesus empower His disciples to heal others?

“Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:1-2 Luke 9:1-2 1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
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; compare Mark 6:13 Mark 6:13And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
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; Luke 10:1-9 Luke 10:1-9 1 After these things the LORD appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, where he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he to them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither purse, nor money, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. 5 And into whatever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest on it: if not, it shall turn to you again. 7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 8 And into whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them, The kingdom of God is come near to you.
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).

Healing has always been one of God’s blessings for mankind. Yet few have confidence in this wonderful biblical truth. When we are ill, we are instructed to ask the elders of the Church to pray for us, anointing us with oil in the name of the Lord (James 5:14 James 5:14Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
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). We are then told that “the prayer of faith shall save the sick” (James 5:15 James 5:15And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
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). The oil used for the anointing is symbolic of the healing power of God’s Spirit.

When an elder is not always available in a specific geographical area—because the Church has always been a scattered body—God has provided a scriptural way for us to deal with this situation. Specially anointed cloths can be sent to the sick on request (see Acts 19:11-12 Acts 19:11-12 11 And God worked special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought to the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
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Also, both Christ and Paul instruct Christians to celebrate the New Testament Passover service and to partake of its symbols (Luke 22:19-20 Luke 22:19-20 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
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; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
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). The wine we use in this service represents Christ’s blood shed for our sins, and the bread represents Christ’s body, which was broken for us. Jesus Christ took our physical, mental and emotional sufferings on Himself. He is the prophesied “servant” of Isaiah 52 and 53 who suffered for us. Carefully read these chapters to understand the suffering Christ went through for us. Then compare them with the eyewitness account of His suffering in Matthew 26-28.

What other special assistance does Christ’s suffering make available to us?

“Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:17-18 Hebrews 2:17-18 17 Why in all things it behooved him to be made like to his brothers, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.
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Only Jesus Christ set a perfect example of avoiding sin. During His lifetime on earth He steadfastly resisted temptation. He never once gave in to sin (1 Peter 2:22 1 Peter 2:22Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
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). He remained close to the Father and prayed earnestly in time of need (Mark 1:35 Mark 1:35And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
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; John 11:41-42 John 11:41-42 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 And I knew that you hear me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that you have sent me.
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). Yet He, too, had to cry out to God “with vehement cries and tears” (Hebrews 5:7 Hebrews 5:7Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
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). When we approach our heavenly Father in prayer for the help we need, we can know that Jesus Christ, our Intercessor, understands the struggles we have with our physical, human weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15 Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
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Since sin plagues us all, we must have help in overcoming it. As Paul explained, “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find” (Romans 7:18 Romans 7:18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
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).

Paul knew from whom he could receive the help he needed to fight sin: “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25 Romans 7:24-25 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
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).

Over and over again in the Gospel accounts we find Jesus of Nazareth meeting human suffering head on—taking action to relieve it in others. He was full of compassion and set for us a perfect example. Our Savior knows firsthand what it is like to resist the pull of the flesh and to successfully conquer it. He knows exactly when and how to help us combat sin. He wants us to come boldly to Him for relief-for strength to resist-whenever we need it (Hebrews 4:14-16 Hebrews 4:14-16 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
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In what other important way did Jesus relieve suffering?

“And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34 Mark 6:34And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
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The world sorely needs proper education in biblical principles to learn how to live. As the Hebrew prophet Hosea lamented, people’s lives are “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6 Hosea 4:6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.
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The principle of cause and effect has never ceased to operate. Suffering is the effect that is so often caused by ignorance and sin. To confront suffering effectively, we must live in harmony with biblical laws and principles. Otherwise we will bring needless suffering on ourselves.