Why is there suffering?
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be
compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18
This is the first of 10 articles where I hope to get into a deep discussion with you regarding the meaning and purpose of suffering. Specifically, your suffering.
Have you ever been let down by someone you loved and trusted?
Of course, you’ve been let down! Just like me and everyone else, you too have been let down by someone you trusted, even loved. But why? Why does God allow it?
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might
become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21
According to the Apostle Paul, the author of 2 Corinthians, Jesus suffered so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. At least we know why Jesus suffered! Jesus, being filled with the love of God suffered out of His love for us!
A related question is, “how does it feel to be BETRAYED by someone you love and trust?” Jesus knew...
"Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. As they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” Being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” And He answered, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me." Matthew 26:20-23
Being let down hurts, being disappointed over and over again hurts even more. But BETRAYAL? Betrayal really hurts! There's nothing like it. I associate betrayal with the cruelest forms of suffering. What about you?
The More Important Question is, "How Do You Normally Respond to Being Let Down?"
How do you normally respond to being let down by someone in your inner circle, someone who supposedly cares for you? Do you isolate? Go numb? Get depressed? Anxious? Angry? Enraged? Even vengeful? In the past, I have responded to being let down in all of these ways, especially "in anger!"
"We love, because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
Here’s something radical for you to consider. Have you ever thought about responding to disappointment with love, and in love, and through love? Instead of sadness or anger, can you love those who let you down? What about those who betray you? Can you respond in love?
"Therefore, He (Jesus) had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted." Hebrews 2:17-18
We know Jesus was let down, disappointed by his family, close friends, and followers. We know that Jesus was betrayed too, and it was horrible.
"When Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.” Matthew 26:1-2
But how did Jesus responded to knowing He was being betrayed? Did He get angry and yell and scream and make all kinds of threats, "don't you dare, or I will crush you!" Of course not. Jesus responded in love. He took on the humiliation and the suffering so that we can become the righteousness of God. Jesus responded in LOVE.
We know that shortly after Jesus declared “how He was going to be betrayed,” He went to pray and suffer, literally. Then, after great agony, Jesus then willingly allowed Himself to be arrested, tortured, humiliated, suffer and die a horrible death. And, Jesus did this FOR those who betrayed Him, and all those who would reject Him.
Betrayed by a kiss. Yes, Jesus was betrayed by a very close friend, Judas, a man who had walked with Jesus for three straight years. Judas was one of the 12 disciples, intimate and inside the inner circle of Jesus' most trusted brothers.
"Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!” Jesus’ While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him." Matthew 26:46-50
The Ultimate Purpose of Suffering is Liberty and Complete Freedom
I would classify Jesus’ response to betrayal as “THE ULTIMATE RESPONSE OF LOVE.”
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