The Sufferings of Christ

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The sufferings of Christ can be viewed in three different ways: His physical sufferings, the sufferings of His soul and His sufferings at the hand of God.
The Physical Sufferings
Perhaps we relate most to these sufferings because we all have experienced pain. The Romans seemed to know crucifixion, as a means of capital punishment, caused intense suffering. Pilate had scourged Jesus, leaving His back as it says prophetically, “The plowers plowed upon My back: they made long their furrows” (Psa. 129:33The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows. (Psalm 129:3)). His head was crowned with thorns which were beaten into His brow. His face was more marred than any man’s. His hands and feet were nailed to the cross. Those awful nails on which He hung for six hours would cause excruciating pain. All of His bones were out of joint.
The Sufferings of His Soul
While not the atoning sufferings, they were still very real, for He as perfect man fully felt all the ridicule and mockery. He says (Psa. 69), “Reproach hath broken My heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.” When they said, “He trusted in God; let Him [God] deliver Him [Jesus] now, if He will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of God,” He felt it keenly, for God did not deliver Him. All this suffering from the hand of man was for righteousness’ sake, not to atone for sin.
The Sufferings at the Hand of God
The sufferings for sin from the hand of God were the most awful, and they were the atoning sufferings. What a thought! to think of Him (the Lord of all) hanging there in that intense physical agony and then God laying on Him the iniquity of us all.
Even while in the garden, before going to the cross, it caused Him to sweat, as it were, great drops of blood, just to contemplate the awfulness of that moment when He would be made sin for us. He who is intrinsically holy shrunk from the very thought of contact with sin. But when those dark hours began, no cry was heard through that awful time of darkness.
Not only were our sins all remembered and laid upon Him, but then the just judgment of a sin-hating God falls in all its fury on that holy sin-bearer. All the waves and billows of divine judgment roll over Him during those awful hours. Then at the end a cry rends the silence: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
He accepts the judgment from the hand of God, but when the God whose will it had always been His meat and drink to do forsakes Him, it wrings that awful cry from His lips. He hangs there completely alone, doing the will of God in the face of the wrath of God.
We must stand at a distance, for we shall never know what it meant to Him to go through it all. Only thus could eternal redemption be obtained. Oh! how we need to meditate on this scene. Never do we see the truth that “God is light” and “God is love” more brilliantly displayed than during that awful time. It was God putting away sin by the sacrifice of His own beloved Son, according to the full claims of His righteousness. Those claims were fully met and God has been satisfied and glorified. Just before Jesus gives up His life, He cries, “It is finished,” in recognition that all had been paid. Then at the end, He says, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” He dies. His blood is shed. Sin’s awful debt was fully paid.
No wonder God has raised Him from the dead and did not quit raising Him still higher until Jesus as Man occupies the highest place in the whole universe—far above not only “all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named,” but also “far above all heavens.”
It is our highest privilege to bow at His feet and worship and praise Him now in the scene of His rejection and death.
R. Thonney