Out of all of the people in history there is one that stands out above the rest that understands suffering, Jesus. Mark records:
They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha….And they crucified him. (Mark 15:22, 24)
Many people are suffering while I am typing this as a result of Covid-19. Through history man has suffered from many things such as, disease, pestilence, poverty, wickedness, and evil; all can be traced back to sin or the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. None of the things mentioned above were or are more gruesome or more torturous than what we know of the Roman form of torture and death known as crucifixion. Let it suffice to say that there are few methods of killing more abominable than that of the Roman crucifixion on a cross. This method was not only meant to inflict pain but it was also meant to cause shame and embarrassment on the part of those who were sentenced to die by it. There Jesus, the supposed King and Messiah was, nailed to a cross, naked before a crowd of people who were mostly calling for his death. Ironically, it was the very people that were calling for his death that he was dying to save. Have you ever felt like your sacrifice for the benefit of someone else was undervalued or unappreciated? Can you imagine how Jesus felt?
I believe that Jesus had the power to come down off that cross. However, I don’t believe he could have comedown from the cross. I know what your probably thinking right about know, “but you just said.” Yes I know what I just said. Jesus had all power and authority. (John 1:14; Matt. 28:18-20; Phil. 2:7) He had the ability to stop the crucifixion, but he knew that he could not come down from the cross and honor the Father’s will at the same time and still atoning for the sin of man. What was more important to him? Was it more important to escape suffering or to atone for sin and submit to his Father’s will? Jesus had the ability and may have even been tempted to forego the cross when he prayed prior to his arrest, but any thoughts of that were soon extinguished by his overwhelming desire to obey his Heavenly Father. We can trust that Jesus knows our suffering. That is what the author of Hebrews states in the following passage:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15)
Jesus can sympathize with our weaknesses and struggles. The difference is, that he pushed through his and continued to be obedient. Are we that committed to that level of obedience? As we approach Easter, even in the madness of this dreadful virus that has inflicted suffering on our world, country, communities, and families. Let us look to the example of the great high priest who conquered sin and death, while continuing to live courageously on mission for the Lord. We are called to deny ourselves and to follow him daily. This Easter , let us keep our eyes on Jesus, even if we suffer, knowing that in the end we will be victorious!
I am providing some daily readings below if you would like to use them leading up to Easter.
Day 1) 1 Cor. 1:17-25
Day 2) Eph. 2:11-22
Day 3) 1 Peter 2:13-25
Day) 4) Mark 15: 42-47
Day 5) Acts 2: 22-32