We as human beings do not like to suffer. Sometimes we do good for others even when we have to suffer. Jesus was like a hero to us. He appeared on earth from heaven in the body of a baby boy. He grew up to be a man. When He was 33 years old He was nailed to the cross for our sins. He died for our sins. There was a time when He was in a garden praying and asking God if there was a way to save and rescue Him from the pain and suffering that He was going to go through on the cross. Jesus knew that He would suffer greatly on the cross. Jesus would have to taste death for everyone and pay the penalty for our sins. Yet, Jesus chose to do the will of His Father in heaven. Jesus chose to die on the cross for our sins. He did this because He knew we could be free from sin and receive eternal life.
Not my will but your will be done
Jesus was praying in a garden and said:
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” – Luke 22:42.
Jesus had a choice. He could stay away from death on the cross, or He could choose to suffer and die on the cross to save us from our sins. Jesus knew that He would be in a lot of pain on the cross, and that He had to experience that pain of hell and separation from God if He wanted to save us from our sins. And even though Jesus asked God if there was some other way to save us, Jesus still chose to do the will of the father that was to die on the cross.
The greatest sacrifice is to die for your friends
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” – John 15:12-13.
Jesus said that the best gift we can give our friends is to die for them. And this is what Jesus chose to do. He chose to die for our sins on the cross.
Jesus died willingly
Jesus knew that he would experience great pain and suffering on the cross. Jesus said:
“From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead” – Matthew 16:21.
Jesus knew what lay before Him. And He still said:
“Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” – Luke 22:42.
The disciples of Jesus had to choose to suffer
As a disciple of Jesus you may have to suffer because you are a Christian. Other people may want to harm you or hurt you because you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and because you believe the Bible is the Word of God.
This is nothing new. Many of those who believe in God are persecuted. The disciples in Jesus’ day were also persecuted. Jesus said this of how the disciple Peter was going to die:
“I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go” – John 21:18.
Peter was going to die on a cross. This is what Jesus meant when He said they would take Peter’s hands and stretch them out and take him where he did not want to go. Peter decided that he would do God’s will for his life even though it meant that Peter would have to die a terrible death. Sometimes we will have to suffer greatly for the cause of Christ and if we want to follow God and do His will.
The way of the cross brings peace
If we choose to follow Christ and to suffer for Him then we will find peace for our souls. When we run and ride from suffering for Christ we will find only turmoil and bitterness of soul and pain. In order to find true peace we need to free ourselves from the fear of pain, or suffering or death.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” – Romans 5:3-5.
The Holy Spirit gives us peace
When we follow God the Holy Spirit fills us even more. The Holy Spirit gives us such peace and joy that we are happy to suffer for Jesus. The Holy Spirit is a power of love and peace and comfort in us. When we follow Jesus the Holy Spirit surrounds us and fills us with great joy and peace.
“What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way” – Luke 6:22-23.
So do not be afraid of persecution. God may be leading you to do something for Him that will exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. And you many know that if you do what God is asking you to do you will face suffering and persecution. But do it anyways. Do it for the glory of God.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” – John 16:33.