Sometimes our suffering seems so great that we wonder if anyone can relate to us. Jesus knows exactly how we feel. He has been in our shoes. He sees and knows all things. He can empathize with our situation. This makes Him most qualified to listen to us and help us. As our High Priest in heaven, He wants us to pray to Him in our time of need. We will find God’s mercy and grace when we go before Him.
Let us consider the hardships Jesus faced in this life as we look at the following passages:
“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:3
“Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Matthew 16:20-21
“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 2:9
“Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Hebrews 9:25-26
How amazing is it to think that Jesus, the Son of God, came down from heaven to live as an example for all creation, to experience suffering by the hands of His own creation, and to willingly die a criminal’s death–blameless though He was–on behalf of His creation. We do not need to suffer the death penalty for our sins because Jesus already paid with His blood as the sacrificial lamb led to the slaughter! What a wonderful God is our God!
The Bible never said life is bed of roses once we become Christians. On the contrary, our enemy Satan will try his hardest to shake our faith. He will do all he can to try to undermine God’s authority. As Christians we know we are constantly and daily fighting a battle “not of flesh and blood but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 6:12. This world is our battle ground, and we share in Christ’s suffering.
“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.” Philippians 1:29
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:17-18
“For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:17-18
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” 1 Peter:4-14:16
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” 2 Cornithians 4:8-11
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” John 15:18-20
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
“And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:2-4
“For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:19-21
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:5-7
As Christians, we are known by our suffering. The Spirit of God rests upon us. We suffer for doing good and not evil. Our suffering brings glory to God. It reveals the glory within us. It help others to see Jesus through us. Our suffering tests, strengthens and perfects our faith. It teaches perseverance. It builds character. It produces patience. It brings hope. It helps us fix our eyes on Jesus. It shows our commitment to Jesus. It set us apart from the world. We are blessed for our suffering! It is commendable before God. When Jesus died, He rose again and forevermore sits at the right hand throne of God. When we die, the Lord will reward us for our faithfulness to Him for our suffering here on Earth.
There is a great song called “I Have a Maker” that describes how much God knows everything about us, and He knows when we are suffering. He is there for us when we call out to Him! Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mLebYM4VVo Have you cried out to God today and shared your suffering with Him?