“For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath 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.” (1 Peter 3:17-18)
Have you ever “suffered”? Some children have. You, or someone you know, may be fighting a battle against a painful disease. Some children have suffered under physical or emotional abuse. Maybe that has happened to you. Or maybe you have lost a friend or a loved one to death. You may have heard of families who have been persecuted for worshipping the God of the Bible.
But most children have not seen heavy, hard suffering – at least, not yet. Suffering is intense pain that we feel, either on the inside or outside. You might look and feel fine externally (on the outside), but you might be suffering on the inside, in your heart.
Very few people like suffering! Think about it. Let’s say you are sitting in a lawn chair, sipping pink lemonade under the hot sun, when – all of the sudden – you hear a strange, yet familiar buzzing sound near your right arm. What!? It’s a bee! A very large bee with a very sharp-looking stinger on his backside! What is your first reaction? Do you calmly say, “Mr. Big Scary Bee, sir, please do not poke me today with that painful stinger of yours! I’m right in the middle of my lemonade!”? No! You would probably jump out of your lawn chair really fast, screaming and swatting and running around in circles until you were sure Mr. Big Scary Bee, sir, had gone bye-bye!
Why is that your response? Because you hate pain. You dread it. You would never seek after it. You would be crazy if you did. Humanly speaking, suffering is always a bad thing! We never enjoy pain, and we always try to get out of it if we can!
But the Bible teaches in 1 Peter and in Hebrews and in several other places that Jesus Christ did choose to suffer. He had a choice, and He chose suffering! Why? Well, He was God, but He was also human, so pain and suffering were probably not enjoyable for Jesus Christ, either. Just because He was totally God does not mean that suffering did not hurt Him! He was also totally human, so He experienced fear and pain and probably never enjoyed either one. But the Bible shows us that Christ took on suffering, anyway, that He did it in order to bridge the gap between us and God.
Jesus Christ endured (kept on fighting through) the suffering because He really wanted what was waiting on the other side of suffering. The Bible says in Hebrews that Christ chose suffering “for the joy that was set before Him.” In other words, our being able to be right with God meant more to Jesus Christ than His own comfort and safety meant to Him. His sacrificial suffering was what made it possible for us to be right with God. What a courageous and selfless and loving Savior we have!
Jesus Christ endured suffering in order to provide sinners a way of salvation.
» Do I ever spend time thinking about what Christ went through so that I could be right with God?
» When I go through suffering, can I find comfort and strength through Christ?
» Do I have good reasons to trust and obey this suffering Savior?