Monday, June 1, 2009

Jesus - The Only Example of Righteous Suffering

5. Jesus - The Only Example of Righteous Suffering

As we next consider the work of Christ for us, we need to keep in mind our sin that necessitated it. For it is only against the dark backdrop of our sinfulness that we can see the glory of the cross shining forth in all its brilliance and splendour.

~ The Gospel For Real Life - Jerry Bridges.[1]

When Christ’s coming was first prophesied in what theologians refer to as the Protoevangelicum, suffering was foretold for Him. (bruised heel.)

Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Jesus is God, and He had perfect fellowship with God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. But He made himself a lowly human. Imagine the Creator God, in all of His glory and majesty, becoming a creature! He humbled himself for us. (Heb. 4:15)

Hebrews 2:9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

God was made lower than the angels. Jesus was born in humility; He suffered from the very beginning of His life. He was born in a barn, and His mother laid Him in a manger, which is a trough for feeding cattle. (Luke 2:7)

He should have been born as a king! Look back at what Nebuchadnezzar had. That's what Christ should have had - in fact He should have had more. He is the one who is worthy of such a kingship.

But no, Christ came to earth to suffer and die. (Luke 9:22, Matt. 17:12 – 16:21, Mark 10:33)

Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.

In fact, His death was planned with the full knowledge of God, according to the purpose-plan of God. Jesus knew what He was coming to earth to do. He was coming to suffer, for us.

Acts 2:23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Unlike the other people I have named who suffered, Jesus suffered because He chose to. He suffered for His purpose, in obedience to the Father. He should not have had to endure any of this, because He had never sinned. Jesus was condemned as an innocent man: (Matt. 27:18-19, Mark 10:10-15)

Matt 27:22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

Jesus didn't suffer and die because of something He did. He was not punished by God like the Israelites or Nebuchadnezzar. He did not need to repent, because He had not ever sinned.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

He was punished for our sake.

And, as we gaze upon the glory of the cross, we will also discover that Christ, in His great work for us, not only resolved our sin problem, but also secured for us those "unsearchable riches".... ~ The Gospel For Real Life - Jerry Bridges[2]

Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

Jesus knowingly, willingly went to the cross. He suffered more than anyone had or ever will. He not only suffered physical pain, He suffered mental, emotional and spiritual pain -all on the account of my transgressions. He suffered for me. He took the wrath of God for me.

During those awful hours when Jesus hung on the cross, the cup of God's wrath was completely turned upside down. Christ exhausted the cup of God's wrath. For all who trust in Him, there is nothing more in the cup. It is empty.
~Jerry Bridges[3]

The suffering we endure is nothing in comparison to enduring the wrath of a Holy God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

He suffered so that we could be made righteous. He not only took the punishment, but He gave us His righteousness. We are called sons of God because of this.

[1] The Gospel For Real Life - Jerry Bridges. p.30

[2] The Gospel For Real Life - Jerry Bridges. p.30

[3] The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges, p. 54

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