Jesus Christ's Profound Example of Suffering

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Jesus Christ's Profound Example of Suffering

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Why did Christ suffer?

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God . . .” (1 Peter 3:18 1 Peter 3:18For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
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Christ did not suffer because He deserved it. He endured suffering for our benefit: to help fulfill God’s purpose for us.

During His ministry Jesus Christ was ridiculed, despised and rejected by the religious leaders of His day. This was a large part of His personal afflictions before His crucifixion. His countrymen demanded His execution. In the end, even His disciples abandoned Him to suffer His fate alone. “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 Isaiah 53:3He 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.
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). “He came to His own, and his own did not receive him” (John 1:11 John 1:11He came to his own, and his own received him not.
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). He endured the full range of human suffering.

After He had triumphed over death through His resurrection , Jesus immediately explained to His disciples the necessity of His suffering (Luke 24:46 Luke 24:46And said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
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). Since He was sinless, He did not suffer for any sins of His own, but for ours. No one else has ever experienced the fate of mankind resting upon His shoulders in this way. He took the penalty for our sins upon Himself. That is what made His suffering and death absolutely necessary for our salvation.

Every Christian should readily identify with Christ’s suffering. Through it He made our salvation possible. Had He not willingly suffered for our sakes, all of us would perish—never to live again.

How severely did God test the faithfulness of Christ?

“And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan . . .” (Mark 1:13 Mark 1:13And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.
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“. . . In the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, [Jesus] was heard because of His godly fear” (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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Temptation itself is a form of suffering and trial. Jesus Christ Himself had to resist and overpower the desires of the flesh. This He did! In fact, He is the only human being who has ever perfectly resisted all temptations to sin (1 John 3:5 1 John 3:5And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
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; compare Hebrews 12:3-4 Hebrews 12:3-4 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 You have not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin.
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Even with the Father’s help, the willpower required to resist the temptations of Satan and the pulls of the flesh was unimaginable. The agony He suffered at Gethsemane is impossible for us to fathom. There He prayed three times to the Father for additional spiritual strength to go through His prophesied suffering and crucifixion. There He prayed so hard that “His sweat became like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:44 Luke 22:44And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
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). He even asked the Father whether there were any way this suffering could be avoided. But in the next breath He was obediently bowing to what He knew was the Father’s will (Matthew 26:36-42 Matthew 26:36-42 36 Then comes Jesus with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, Sit you here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then said he to them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even to death: tarry you here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will. 40 And he comes to the disciples, and finds them asleep, and said to Peter, What, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, your will be done.
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