Jesus Suffering and Resurrection
Thoughts and questions for your consideration this Easter season!
Do you know what Easter is all about? Do you realize what Jesus did for you?
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25)
There are two things in the human experience and condition we just cannot stand, and that we fear most of all, suffering and death. In my observation, very few people crave suffering or look forward to death, because we desire to live and be pain free. There may be those who take their own lives or cause unnecessary suffering to themselves and everyone around them for various psychological reasons, but none the less we dread it, we hate it, and it is the great unknown filled with fear and qualm. Yet, our Lord has cut down this foremost mortifying obstacle and barrier. He has liberated us from the terror of fatality, so we need not fear or be filled with misgivings and trepidations.
Then why are we still filled with such anxiety about our own death even as a Christian? Even on Easter Sunday where death should be celebrated, you will find few churches in America who actually will be proclaiming the death of our Lord. Instead, the wonder of what Christ has done will be replaced with tales of bunnies and lilies, family and community. Few will go where their own fears have taken over. They are unable to lead where they cannot see.
In the passage about Lazarus in John 11, Jesus Himself said He was glad to hear of Lazarus death (John 11:14-15)! While the Disciples were horrified as their young friend dies, and, Thomas feared that he might die too! The Disciples had to learn that death was not the final frontier of fear, but the truth of life to come. Martha was the only one who seemed to trust in Jesus, expecting a miracle. Therefore, a great, unprecedented miracle literally arises; Lazarus, after being dead for three days, beyond rigor mortis as his body decays with a stench, suddenly rises to life. Death was conquered!
Death is the last and ultimate barrier that Christ conquered on our behalf, giving us the ultimate liberation! He removed the apprehensions and terror and gave us a glimpse of the wonder of eternity and joy with Him. Death is no longer the subject of horror, but is our hope and reward to come. At the same time, we are not to dwell on it, neglecting our purpose on this earth, so He only gives us a peek. He shows us enough to erase our fears so we can concentrate on making ourselves His disciples, if we allow His words to dig their way into our hearts and minds. So, allow Him to conquer your fears, and barriers to spiritual growth. Jesus tells us not to let our heart be troubled; so, let us erase those fears for which we have no need (John 14:1-4)! Our comfort and reassurance is in what our Lord did on our behalf, what He did in our place. He took our suffering and our death, and literally took it on Himself, so we need not fear what is to come.
His suffering and death was not the end of the story, but only the beginning, as it will be for us. Christ gave us a victory that we did not earn or deserve; yet, it is ours to have. Let us rejoice and be glad in Him!
A Listing of the Many Sufferings of Our Lord, Borne On Your Behalf!Jesus was rejected on your behalf!
- By His country and culture (John 1:11)
- By His hometown (Luke 4:28-29)
- By His friends (Mark 3:21)
- By His own family (John 7:5)
- By the religious Leaders (John 7:1; 9:22)
Jesus was tempted by Satan on your behalf! (Luke 4: 1- 28)Jesus was ridiculed on your behalf!
- Because of His hometown (John 1:46; 7:52)
- Because of His background (John 8:41; 9: 24 - 29)
- By the Roman soldiers (Luke 23: 36 - 37; Mark 15:16 - 20)
- By the crowd (Luke.23: 35)
- By the chief priests (Mark 15: 31)
- By the two thieves (Mark 15: 32; Matt. 27: 44)
- By Herod (Matt. 2: 16)
- By his hometown (Luke 4: 29)
- Because of His claims (John 8:58 - 59; 10: 30 - 33)
- Because He healed on the Sabbath (John 5: 16; Luke 6: 10)
- Because of His teachings (John 8: 40; Luke 11: 53 - 54; Mark 12,12; Matt. 26: 1 - 4)
- Because of His miracles (John 11: 53; 12: 10)
- By the Devil (Matt: 26:37- 38; Mark 14: 33--34; Luke 22: 44)
Jesus was homeless on your behalf! (Matthew 8:20)
Jesus was betrayed on your behalf! (John 13:21; 22: 47--53)
Jesus was denied on your behalf! (Matthew 26:58, 69-75; Mark 14: 54; 66-72; Luke 22: 54 - 62; John 18,15 -18; 25-27)
Jesus was misunderstood on your behalf! (Matthew 15: 16; 16: 6--11; Mark 6: 52; John 10: 6; 12:16)
Jesus was abandoned on your behalf! (Luke 22: 54 -62)
Jesus was misquoted on your behalf! (Matthew 26: 61)
Jesus was indicted on false charges on your behalf! (Luke 23:1 - 2)Jesus was Illegally tried seven times on your behalf!!
- Before Annas (John 18:12-14,19-24).
- Before Caiaphas (Matt. 26: 57-58; Mark 14: 53 - 65)
- Before the Sanhedrin (Matt. 27: 1-2; Mark 15:1; Luke 22: 66-23:1)
- Before Pilate (John 18: 28-38; Matt. 27: 1-26; Mark 15 1-5; Luke 23 1-6)
- Before Herod (Luke 23: 7-12)
- Before Pilate again (John 18: 39--19:16; Matt. 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:13-25)
- Before the Roman soldiers (Matt. 27: 27-31; Mark 15: 16-20)
- Slapped (John 18:22)
- Blindfolded (Luke 22:64)
- Spit upon (Matt. 26:67)
- Beaten (Matt. 26:67)
- Scourged (Matt. 27:26)
- Beaten on His head (Matt. 27:30)
- Pierced with thorns (Matt. 27:29)
- Crucified (Matt. 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19)
Jesus is risen to redeem you! (Matthew 28:10; Mark 16:1-13; Luke 24: 1-12; John 20:24-29)
The Creator of the universe lowered Himself like the created beings He made who were filled will flaws and sin, and who needed redemption. A journey was made filled with countless sufferings and an eventual death, on behalf of a humanity that neither asked for it nor could do it for themselves. The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was the supreme act of proving whom He is and what He can do for us (Acts 2:24; 17:31; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11,20; 54-57)! It was the raising to life of a man who was dead and buried, a man who was fully human and fully God (Acts 1:3). The fact that so many people saw Him after His resurrection and the impact of the fatal wounds He received was the proof text for many to come to faith and devote themselves to Christianity over the centuries (Luke 24:31; 36; Philippians 3:21; Hebrews 7:16-24). Christ paved the way for us to live in eternity and conquer the fatality of death (Acts 2:24-35; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54). The resurrection provided us not only with eternity and ultimate hope and meaning for life, but immediate relief from our sin, and the barriers to God. Through what Christ did, we are justified and can go directly to God without sacrificing the family pet or needing the mediation of a priest. We are able to have our prayers heard, our journey of life known, and be assured we have a God who truly loves us and cares for us beyond our comprehension. (John 11:25-26; Romans 4:25, 6; 1 Corinthians 15:17; Ephesians 1:18--2:10; Colossians 2:9-15; 3:1-4)!Questions
1. What does your family do on Easter?
2. How does Easter Sunday at your church reflect what Christ did for you?
3. Has the fear or denial of death been a big barrier for you?
4. What do you think the wonder of Heaven will be like?
5. Do you see death as the doorway to the beginning of what God has made you for?
6. Have you considered all that Christ did on your behalf?
7. Imagine you are there with Christ and have the opportunity to take His place on any of these listing of the many sufferings. How would you have handled each of them? Consider your reactions both to God and others in your emotions, the physical exertions, and your relationships, because your family and friends would be there too.
8. How do you feel now about all that Christ went through for you?
9. How can you make Easter more real and meaningful?
10. What do you need to do to make what Christ did more real and impacting in your daily life?