By Major Sybil Smith
Torrance, CA Corps
Southern California Division
In this *study we will be looking at the different times throughout Scripture in which Jesus faced suffering in His life. We will read the passages, and ask questions that may foster further understanding of what took place in each of these vulnerable times in Jesus’ life and ministry. We will then look into further Scriptures which may help us see where we truly are in “Solidarity in the suffering of Jesus Christ.”
NOTE: This is quite an extensive study and could be broken down into studying smaller sections over several weeks.
1 unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group: factory workers voiced solidarity with the striking students.
New Oxford American Dictionary
I am not sure I can say that I can truly be in solidarity in what my Lord has suffered on account of me and humankind. As we will see in this study, the Lord faced insult … persecution … personal anguish and torture before His predestined death by hanging on a cross for the redemption of us all. I just don’t think I can stand next to my Savior claiming I am in solidarity in His sufferings. Do I want to be? Yes, of course I desire to have the heart of God that would endure such things for the sake of others. But in all honesty, am I even close? I have shied away from so many moments God has asked me to join Him in. Moments of standing up for not just social injustice, but for the Bible, the truths Jesus Christ hung on the cross for.
There are times when it seems that we are living in a society where we are being told we are haters even if we merely disagree with an action or lifestyle that is contrary to the Word of God. It seems as if we are labeled old fashioned and out of date.
Those who stand up in our 21st century culture, living and speaking the true message of the Gospel, may very well be close to solidarity in Christ’s suffering. It’s not an easy thing to do by any means at all. Especially when it hits close to home with family. It’s so much easier to sometimes skip over some truths than lose the ones we love to hating us or thinking we hate them.
Those times, when we may pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe in the Bible, may make it challenging to be able to truly say we are in solidarity with Jesus Christ? In today’s culture, to be close to solidarity with Jesus’ suffering means we strive to live, speak and stand every moment in God’s truth, even when it is being challenged by those closest to us. No matter who our company is … where that company is … that we stand for the Word of God. I will ashamedly admit that I am not one of those who have lived like this. I quiet my witness as to not upset the masses, or in some cases the few, even when it comes to my family.
So there you have it. You have read my thoughts on where I see myself in this place of solidarity with the suffering of Jesus Christ. But before I solidify my thoughts/judgements and possibly you with your own on this topic, let’s first take a look through Scripture on what His sufferings have been and why He endured them. This may give a more sure response in our own lives where we are in solidarity with the suffering of our Savior Jesus Christ.
STUDY: SUFFERING OF JESUS CHRIST
*To make this study even more insightful and in-depth, use online commentaries or the old-fashioned actual commentary books, reference, and/or study guides to help you as you answer these questions. This format gives you the chance to do a simple dive into the verses themselves. But the format also gives you the ability to do all kinds of varied studies on this subject. Only limited by the resources available.
Let’s look at the incidents in Scripture that highlight the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
- Matthew 2:13–15 – Jesus’ flight to Egypt as a child.
Thinking of the time and the circumstances. What challenges may Jesus have been met with as a child traveling to a new city with His parents?
What might He had suffered during that time? Remember they just weren’t moving to a new location, they were fleeing for Jesus’ life. They were trying not to be seen, to hide until the threat (Pharaoh) was gone.
Have you ever had to go into hiding because of the Gospel? If so, write your experience here. If not, what would be the closest thing to that experience you’ve endured?
- Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13 – The temptation in the wilderness (fasting + temptation).
Fasting 40 days and nights is a long time! How might it have been tough not to give in to the devils temptations? What was the reason for Jesus fasting? Does that make it any easier or harder to stand up to the temptations?
Have you ever fasted? If so, how long have you gone fasting and for what reason?
Describe your most challenging temptation and if you were able to stand up against it. Describe your faith at the time, how did it play into your ability to stand up against temptation?
- Luke 4:16-30 – Jesus is reading from Isaiah in Nazareth but then is rejected by his own people.
What must Jesus feel to be rejected by the people He grew up with?
Can you think of a time in your life where your family or community rejected what you had to say or do for them concerning your faith in Jesus Christ? If so, what was it and how did you feel?
- John 6:60–71 – A group of followers leave Jesus. They think his teaching is too hard.
How might this affect Jesus Spirit when even His followers begin to leave?
Remember it’s not just that He has some good idea He wants to share, it’s the message of a new way and a new hope of salvation for each of them. Saving them from their fate if they don’t believe. How might that make this rejection hit closer to His heart?
Have you ever had someone on board with you in ministry or in faith one moment and then leave you the next? If so, share what and when and how you felt.
- John 10:22-42 Jesus teaches the Pharisees some things they don’t like. They are about to stone him in 10:31. He continues to question and teach them, but by 10:39 they look to arrest him.
So many times, Jesus faced this when He taught or preached the message God had given Him to tell. How might these encounters that grow more violent as the days go by, challenge Jesus’ spirit to keep preaching and teaching?
Has something you ever said about the Bible been met with a violent response? If so, what were you saying and what was the response? How did you deal with it?
- Luke 19:41-44 – Weeping over Jerusalem. The people were praising Him and treating Him like royalty as He was on the road to Jerusalem. Why then, would He be weeping as He saw the city just ahead of Him?
What must it had been like for Jesus to know, before He even step foot on the ground, that the words He was to speak to the people were going to be ignored, despised and rejected?
Have you had an experience where the Lord told you to give a message to someone or to a group of people that you knew were just going to reject it? If yes, did you do it anyway? If so, write your experience here.
- Matthew 14:1-13 & Mark 6:14-34 – After hearing about the be-heading of his friend John the Baptist, Jesus withdrew to a desolate place by Himself.
What do you suppose Jesus was going through in His spirit? Was He only thinking of His own grief concerning John the Baptist, or also the grief of the other disciples?
He didn’t have much time alone before large crowds wanted to hear His teachings. What would you have done?
What did Jesus do?
- John 11:1-35 After hearing of Lazarus death, Jesus was weeping.
Why was Jesus weeping? Was it because of Lazarus death, or was there something more?
See verse 11. If Jesus was already going to raise Lazarus from the dead, why then was He weeping? There must have been something more that grieved Jesus spirit.
What must it be like to know the hearts of others so deeply?
Have you had any situation close to this?
- Matthew 26:36-46 & Mark 14:32-42 – Praying in Gethsemane.
Sorrow beyond comprehension! What was Jesus overwhelmed about?
In His deep sorrow He asks His disciples to keep watch, but they fall asleep. How does that compound the emotion Jesus is wrestling with?
Jesus knew what was coming. Have you had a situation where you were asked to do something, and you knew the outcome was going to cause hardship or pain? If so, did you still do it? If you have write down what it was and how you responded.
- Matthew 26:47-50 & Mark 14:43-52 Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus outside Gethsemane.
His followers couldn’t stay awake enough to keep watch, He’s overwhelmed with grief and now is the time of Judas betrayal. How could Jesus, in all human effort, deal with such grief upon grief?
Have you ever been beaten down by grief just to have more and more pile up against you because of your faith in Jesus Christ? If so, what was that like? What is that compared to what Jesus went through here?
- John 18:15-18; 25-27 & Mark 14:66-72 – Peter’s denial of Jesus 3 times.
I wonder if Jesus could hear the rooster crows. While Jesus was in the midst of His arrest and interrogations, one of His closest followers denied knowing Him 3 times. Yet again, another insult from those He loves. How do you think all of this happening … like punches in a boxing ring … over and over and over again … one insult and betrayal after another … How must He have truly felt in His spirit at this moment?
Have you had people in your life betray you because of your faith? They say they’re with you and then turn against you when you need them the most. Write that experience down and how you felt.
- John 18:22-23, John 19:1-16 and Matthew 27:27-31 – Jesus sentenced to be crucified.
As you read these passages, list the three types of humiliation Jesus endured at the hands of His accusers.
Have you faced humiliation by others because of the faith you profess? If so, write your experience(s) here.
- Take a moment to read each of these passages of Scripture. Then, for each passage, write what Jesus’ experience was concerning the cross.
Matthew 27:32-37 –
Matthew 27:38-44, Mark 15:21-32, Luke 23:32-43 & John 19:17-30
Matthew 27:45-50, Mark 15:33-37
Out of these three events, which do you think brings the most suffering and utter despair to the heart of Jesus? Why?
- Psalm 16:10 and Acts 13:33-35 – prophesy that Jesus would not remain dead.
His work was finished. His duty was done. However, His suffering was not fully complete when He gave up His Spirit and died. He suffered the penalty of death so we would not have to. But Sheol (the underworld) could not hold the Savior because God rose Him from the dead so He and His body would not see decay.
Have we, have you been in the depths of Sheol? We may feel like we have at times. But this will not be something we bear while on earth. And if we remain in relationship with Jesus, it will not be our experience when we die.
Think about the Lord taking the ultimate punishment for sin, so you and I would not have to bear it ourselves. What are your thoughts on this?
OUR SOLIDARITY IN JESUS SUFFERING:
We have read several Scripture passages that have told about the times Jesus Christ had faced suffering. I now consider the questions to those passages we just walked through and think that maybe I can have solidarity in at least some of what my Lord suffered. To determine for yourself where you are, let’s consider some further scripture reading on this matter of solidarity in the suffering of Jesus Christ.
- Matthew 16:21-28 – Take up your cross and follow me.
What does it mean to “take up their cross and follow Me”? What was the disciples’ cross or burden in following Jesus? (For some they left family, they left careers, they left respectable positions in society to follow Jesus.) You may want to research each disciple and see what it is they gave up in order to follow Jesus. (What they suffered to follow Jesus.)
What about you? What have you given up or sacrificed for following Jesus? What might your cross be that Jesus is calling you to bear in His Name?
- Matthew 20:20-28 – Drink of the same cup Jesus did.
James and John did end up drinking from the same cup Jesus did. James as a martyr, but both for their sacrificial living which brought persecution and hardship because of their living faith in Jesus Christ.
Can you say you have drunk from the same cup Jesus did? If so, share your story here.
- Galatians 6:11-16 – Maybe the cup represents the sacrificial life that Jesus lived and then calls His followers to live as well.
What was Paul saying here when he speaks of circumcision verses the cross of Christ?
It seems there is something deeper God is calling us to. What are your thoughts and where are you concerning this in your own life?
- Romans 8:17-18 – Sharing in His sufferings.
You can list all the sufferings Jesus went through. This says we may share in His glory as we’ve shared in His sufferings.
After reading all that our Savior has suffered, how we can share in that suffering? Where does that leave you and I in our solidarity with the suffering of Jesus Christ?
These Scriptures say that we indeed can be in solidarity with the suffering of Jesus Christ. The cost of being in solidarity with our Lord is high. The question is: Where are you and I in our solidarity in the suffering of Jesus Christ? Where do we want to be? Where is Jesus Christ calling us to be?
MY PERSONAL CONCLUSION:
To stand honestly in solidarity with the suffering my Savior went through for the sake of everyone, I cannot say I am there.
I have suffered mocking and teasing from my dad for holding to the truths of Jesus Christ.
I have been called out by a store clerk for worshipping the Lord on Sundays. I’ve also been called out by a couple random people on being a woman pastor.
But for me to say that equals the suffering my Jesus went through for my life, no … I can’t say I’ve been brave enough to live that bold in the Lord. I desire to. I pray I will get there soon. But for me today, I can’t say I’m living in solidarity in the suffering of Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus, help me start today.
YOUR PERSONAL CONCLUSION:
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