God is Always With Us, We Just Don't Know It... But We Should!
"But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone." Hebrews 2:9
This is the second of ten articles exploring the purpose of, and reason for, “suffering.” My hope is that you will take this deep dive with me and actually add to the discussion.
I believe we can learn from each other IN LOVE, and I certainly don’t have all the answers.
“Suffering” is not a fun subject, but it gets at the core of eternal life. So, in other words, it’s important, and "in suffering" God promises us that we find freedom. So join me!
When Jesus needed His people the most, His people were nowhere to be found. I can’t even imagine what it must have felt like. Deserted and abandoned by those He faithfully served when He, Jesus, needed them the most. Hurt, all alone, and abandoned.
But was He? Was Jesus ever abandoned or alone? Are we ever “all alone” really, or even abandoned? Those are important questions to answer, and our eternal life is at stake!
"Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He 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 2:14-18
The Unexpected Response - It Came Out of Nowhere and Shocked the World!
Jesus' response to being abandoned and rejected and humiliated was unexpected. It was as if Jesus DID NOT view Himself as being all alone or abandoned, not totally anyway. Yes, Jesus actually did suffer. But Jesus responded to the ugly rejection and the horrible abandonment AS IF He was completely surrounded and immersed in, and completely soaked by, LOVE.
Seriously, Jesus responded to being crucified as if He was fortunate. He acted like a person totally safe and secure - HE LOVED. Jesus responded as one who was totally committed and confident and secure and resolved. A man on a mission. Jesus did the unexpected, He responded with the greatest act of loving-kindness this world as ever seen.
"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:14-16
Jesus responded to the abandonment with love and understanding and compassion and selflessness, and that my friend is why you and I and everyone else can have eternal life in love with our Heavenly Father. This is why Jesus suffered. For me, and you, and everyone you know. It was for all of us, including those who still reject Jesus today!
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." John 14:12
We know from the Bible, Jesus knew He would be disappointed over and over again, and He also knew He would suffer and die. AND He was willing to suffer and die FOR those who abandoned Him, and FOR those who would reject Him. Would you? He’s hoping you will!
The main point is, despite the letdowns and the betrayals, Jesus still chose to suffer and die for the very people who would let Him down and betray Him too! Jesus is our example.
"so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:7
The reason for suffering? God’s plan of redemption and reconciliation of course! First, Jesus knew that His suffering was nothing compared to the glory of the Father which was to come.
Jesus knew His suffering was temporary and in the near future, He knew His suffering and humiliation would be used as the catalyst to end ALL SUFFERING for all people for all time. Suffering was His opportunity to testify of the love of God, the free gift of Mercy.
"Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.” Luke 21:10-13
We know that Jesus did not want to suffer, or at least, His flesh did not want to suffer. He wanted to avoid the physical suffering but took it on anyway. Or, let me say it this way… a part of Jesus did not want to take on His mission. He knew it was going to be horrific. We can surmise that Jesus’ flesh did not want to die but the important thing is, He did it anyway.
Jesus knew He was not alone and the Father gave Him support to fulfill His mission. The Father, as Jesus promises, will do the same for us if we believe and endure in hope. It's called FAITH.
“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. “ Luke 22:44
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