THE NATURE OF THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST

Like many of the righteous men who came before him, Jesus died as a martyr, yet he alone is the Messiah, and the Redeemer. Only his precious blood can save us from our sins.

The rejection of Jesus by those who condemned him was the culmination of the rejection of the prophets and righteous men God had sent to their ancestors. They became guilty of the blood of all the righteous and the prophets of God by their rejection of Jesus.

  • Luke 11:46-52
  • Matthew 23:29-39

In the gospels, Jesus likened his own death to those who had died before him for the glory of God. In Matthew 17:12-13, Jesus likened his death to that of John the Baptist:

But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. LIKEWISE shall ALSO the Son of man SUFFER OF THEMThen the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. 

John the Baptist was not condemned by God, but was a martyr who died for the glory of God.

Jesus also describes his death as a martyr in the parable of the vineyard in Matthew 21:33-43. In Verses 34- 39 we read the following. 

And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them HIS SON, saying, they will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, THIS IS THE HEIR; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

As we can see in this parable, the Lord of the vineyard was not the one condemning his Son. Instead, it was the husbandmen who mistreated and killed the Son. They did to the Son as they had done to the other servants who were sent before him. This is the narrative according to Jesus and his apostles with regards to the nature of Christ’s sufferings. Jesus died at the hands of sinful men who unjustly condemned him: He was condemned by men, not condemned by God. 

As we continue reading this parable, Jesus says the following:

When THE LORD therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, he will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, did ye never read in the scriptures, the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? (Matthew 21:40-42)

The significance of Jesus as the Stone which the builders rejected and the ONE God has chosen is abundantly clear throughout the gospels and the book of Acts.

Jesus never once attributed the things he suffered in death to the justice or wrath of God, as condemnation from God. He always attributed things he suffered in his death to the hands of sinful men.

Likewise, in the book of Acts, the apostles never interpret the death of Jesus as condemnation levied against Jesus from God. The apostles always held the people responsible for Christ’s death. Conversely, they attribute the resurrection to God in opposition to what the people had done in condemning and crucifying Jesus.

The message preached by the apostle Peter on Pentecost, was that Christ, whom the people had condemned, had been raised from the dead and enthroned at the right hand of God. By this message, Peter exhorted the people of Israel to repent and to believe all that the prophets had foretold of the Messiah.

Stephen, who was not an apostle, testified of the death and resurrection of Jesus while on trial before the Sanhedrin. Stephen did not preach that Jesus had been condemned by God. Instead, Stephen held the Jewish leaders responsible saying to those who were about to stone him that they had been betrayers and murders of Jesus, the Just One.

Their forefathers had persecuted the prophets who had showed beforehand the coming of Christ, and they had followed in their footsteps by their rejection of Christ. Stephen says that what they did to Jesus was that of resisting the Holy Ghost!

Because of his bold testimony for Jesus, Stephen was murdered by those to whom he testified of Christ. Stephen was martyred  (Acts 7:52).

Following in Christ’s footsteps, Stephen laid down his life for the glory of God. Stephen was not condemned by God, but rather was a chosen vessel who suffered martyrdom for the gospel and for the glory of Christ.

It is in this way -martyrdom – Jesus suffered and died. The nature of sufferings of Christ, according to the will of God, should be understood in the same way in which we understand others, who according to the will of God, suffered for glorify God.

Job and Paul are also examples. Both suffered for the glory of God, but it was not God opposing and afflicting them. Yet in their sufferings they were completely in the will of God and the purposes of God were accomplished through them. Likewise, it was the will of God for Christ to suffer for us to redeem us with his precious blood.

Isaiah the prophet had testified that Jesus would suffer an unjust death and this is exactly the same scripture that Philip began with when he preached Christ to the Eunuch in Acts 8: “In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.”

  • He was humiliated and received no justice …(NLT)
  • In his humiliation he was taken away by distressing and oppressive judgment and justice was denied him …(Amplified Bible)
  • In his humiliation justice was denied him …(Holman Christian Standard Bible)

In 1 Peter 2, the apostle Peter  says the same thing when he tells us that Jesus suffered wrongfully and committed himself to the ONE who judges righteously.

When did the the ONE who judges righteously intervene? He intervene IN THE RESURRECTION!

God exalted his Son in righteousness in the resurrection, and delivered unto him the Kingdom. The stone the builders rejected is the precious corner stone which God has chosen. Now all men are commanded to repent and serve him!

Jesus laid down his life according to the will of God, dying unjustly at the hands of sinful men, to redeem us with his precious blood. In his resurrection, God overturned the verdict of sinful men by raising Jesus from the dead and exalting him at the highest place of honor.

It is in this way that scriptures, such as Isaiah 53:10: it pleased the Lord to bruise him: he hath put him to grief, were fulfilled. Not by God personally afflicting him from Heaven, but by the surrendered obedience of Jesus to the will of God, he was bruised and put to grief for us.

The message preached by the apostle Peter on Pentecost, was that Christ, whom the people had condemned, had been raised from the dead and enthroned at the right hand of God. By this message, Peter exhorted the people of Israel to repent and to believe all that the prophets had foretold of the Messiah.

Christ died an unjust death at the hands of sinful men, and was vindicated in his resurrection and exaltation at the right hand of God.

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