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).
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). "He came to His own, and his own did not receive him" (John 1:11). 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). 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).
". . . 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).
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; compare Hebrews 12:3-4).
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). 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).