March 25, 2020 | by: 0 Comments|
The sufferings of Christ are something that I have longed to comprehend with depth and clarity since my conversion. To have a better understanding of the sufferings of Christ is to have a better understanding of the seriousness of our sin, as well as the glory of God’s grace to an undeserving people. When the punishment for sin is viewed correctly, we can better understand God’s hatred for it. We can then recognize what our standing was prior to salvation and see more clearly the gracious love of God “…in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) This small book has been of great help to me in understanding these sufferings.
Chapter 1: Man of Sorrows
It is fitting that this chapter begins with the acknowledgement that the gospels are not biographical writings on the life of Christ. Many people will say that Jesus came to be a good moral teacher and show us how to live a good life. That could hardly be true, considering that most of Christ’s life on earth is not recorded in scripture. Jesus came “…to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Leahy then examines the portion of time after the feast and the beginning of Christ’s time in the garden of Gethsemane. Christ was coming closer to the hour of his death, and the cup of wrath was in sight. As Leahy states, Jesus had wept before, but never like this. How often do we read of the Lord’s sufferings with dry eyes?
Chapter 2: Prayerful Submission
We can hear the anguish of our Lord through his prayers in the garden. We also hear our Lord’s total submission and obedience to the will of the Father. Jesus would not stray from the mission he came to complete. If it was the Father’s will that he should drink this cup, then he would drink it to the dregs. Where the first Adam failed to be obedient, Jesus would not. What love and grace is shown through Christ’s obedience as he drinks the cup of wrath so that we may drink from the cup of salvation.
Chapter 3: Strengthened to Suffer
This chapter starts by touching on an extremely important topic. Jesus is totally God and totally man. It can be no other way, and to assert that Christ gave up any of his divine essence would be saying that he ceased to be God at all.
Jesus’ obedience is also shown in his humble submission. He was not being pushed around and punished against his will. Christ could have obliterated those who tortured him at any point, but he actively chose not to. Instead the Lord chose to lay down his life for his sheep. The Son of God, who is king of all, became a mere man and numbered himself with the transgressors. What great humility and restraint Christ showed in his submission. The angels did not come to relieve our Savior of any of the pain which he had to endure, only to minister to him so that the suffering would be completed.
Is there a lack of love and thanksgiving for Jesus’ work in your heart? If so, consider that at any time, Christ could have called down legions of angels and escaped this suffering. Because of his longing for the glory of God to be made known, he became and remained obedient unto death.
Chapter 4: Satan’s Hour
The hour had now come for the Son of Man to be lifted up. This hour did not catch Jesus off guard. In eternity past the Godhead made plans for this very moment. All of history was written, and every moment ordained, so that this hour would come. There was no surprise. In fact, Jesus’ faith and trust in the Father’s will was drawn from his intimate knowledge of the very plans that they had made together.
Great comfort should come to all believers when thinking of God’s sovereign plan. God made plans “to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.” (Daniel 9:24) All of which are fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
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