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Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Full Suffering

In my last post I discussed the importance of accepting suffering because Jesus suffered for us, but I think that most of us tend to forget just how much suffering He went through. It's one of those things where we go, "Oh yeah. I know He did." And then the next moment, we go off and live our lives as if we don't even understand His sacrifice for us. Because tomorrow is Easter, I wanted to remind us all of just how much Jesus suffered, so we can realize its implications and walk accordingly.

Jesus didn't just suffer on the cross. Yes, that was a lot of agony, and I'm not minimizing that suffering, but I think we tend to think that was the full extent of His suffering. Here's a list of things Jesus had to go through

  • Endured constant loneliness (Isaiah 53:3)
  • Endured rejection (Isaiah 53:3)
  • Endured sorrow (Isaiah 53:3)
  • Endured constant weariness (John 4:6)
  • Endured constant danger of being murdered before the appointed time (Luke 4:29)
  • Endured being misunderstood (Luke 6:2)
  • Endured being mocked (Matthew 27:31)
  • Endured constant disrespect (Luke 6:2)
  • Endured temptation (Luke 4:1-13)
  • Endured hunger (Luke 4:2)
  • Endured poverty (Luke 9:58) 
  • Endured being beat (John 19:1)
The verses listed are just some of the verses that point to these things. There are many other verses not listed.  Jesus went through the same emotions we go through in order to save us and redeem us. Jesus understands our turmoil in life because He has been there, and it's been far worse than whatever we're going through.

There's something even greater though that Jesus endured and that was something that happened as just before He died on the cross.

"they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it." Matthew 27:34

Jesus had just been beat and mocked by the soldiers. As he was on His way to be crucified, some people, gave him this odd mixture. Have you ever wondered what gall was? According to Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers, gall was a "poisonous herb . . . given by the merciful to dull the pain of execution." I'm not sure about you, but I always thought Jesus refused to drink this odd concoction because it was disgusting. It actually symbolizes Jesus's deep love for us to take on the full suffering God had planned for Him. He instantly knew what it was when he tasted it, as poisons are bitter, and knowing that it would numb the pain to a certain extent, he refused to drink anymore. Instead, He chose to endure the full amount of pain he would receive on the cross. 

This is His great love for us! If Jesus purposefully endured all of the pain and didn't bail out and try to ease the suffering, then how much more should we as Christians? He drank the full cup, and so should we, in honor of our Lord who gave up so much for us.