Christ's Way to Victory in Suffering
Dr. Valson Abraham
Each person in this world suffers in some way. The heart of each person is heavy or broken because of tragedy, injustice and/or violence to oneself or family members or dear friends.
Suffering comes in as many forms as there are people on this earth—physical, mental, emotional, relational, financial and spiritual. We may experience grievous loss of many kinds. We all experience temptations and lies from the enemy. We all have either experienced suffering, are in the middle of suffering, or about to experience it. In addition to all the various trials we face in this life, we are all subject to decay and death whether we are righteous or unrighteous.
No person on earth has suffered more—and deserved suffering less—than Jesus Christ. As we consider why bad things happen to good people, we must consider the suffering of Jesus Christ.
The night before His crucifixion, He told His disciples in the Upper Room, “In this world, you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Except for John (and Judas the betrayer), each disciple in that Upper Room died a martyr’s death.
In this world of sin, decay and death, no one is immune from suffering, not even the Lord of the universe who stepped into this world to overcome it. Overcoming suffering involved submitting Himself to suffering to gain victory over it so that we might do the same.
How did Jesus “overcome the world” of sin, decay and death? Briefly, I offer the following for your further consideration:
1. He remembered Who He was. Jesus never abandoned His eternal relationship with His Father in Heaven. If we place our trust in Jesus Christ, we also have a relationship with the Father God who has known us throughout eternity and made us joint heirs with Christ, a chosen generation and royal priesthood.
2. He recognized His vulnerability to suffering. None of us is immune to suffering. Becoming a Christian does not change our vulnerability to suffering.
3. He recognized that His Father God controlled His suffering and would use it to special purpose. If we place our trust in Jesus Christ, we can know that our suffering is also under God’s control and will accomplish redemptive ends for ourselves and others.
4. He saw ultimate victory through His suffering. Satan thought he had the upper hand at the cross, but his plan backfired. God aims to do the same for us as we experience our own attacks by the enemy.
5. He prayed for Himself. Jesus didn’t want to suffer any more than we do. He was honest before His heavenly Father and prayed for a way out, yet always submitted Himself to God the Father. Unlike Jesus, God may deliver us from our suffering, but if He doesn’t, we can know that He has a higher purpose in it.
6. He prayed for others affected through His suffering. Before His crucifixion, He prayed for His disciples and for all of us. Later, he prayed for those who crucified Him. We should also pray for those we love, who love us and also those who hate us.
7. He expected and received vindication through His suffering. Jesus never saw Himself as victim but as victor. Even suffering can bring victory for us (see Romans 8:28).
8. His suffering enables Him to know our pain by experience and to redeem us. In a similar way, our suffering bonds us with other suffering people to give them saving hope.
In these ways, Jesus overcame the world. In our suffering, may we trust the One who suffers with us. May all who suffer come to know Him and His victory in suffering. May each of us become a testimony to others through what He does in our own tribulations.
Father God, I thank you that you have entered into my world of suffering through Jesus Christ to suffer with me and yet experience victory through resurrection from the grave. This day, I commit my life to you that I will know by experience that life, death, powers, demons, the past, present, or future, or any other circumstance can not separate me from Your love in Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.