Learning from Jesus Response to the Suffering of Passion Week

After posting an article on Good Friday  about the emotional suffering Jesus encountered during Passion Week, time was spent considering how Jesus responded to the suffering.  Jesus suffered completely.  The emotional and physical suffering was immense.  He also endured spiritual suffering by the Father turning His back and Jesus facing the subsequent separation and death.  Jesus faced the totality of suffering.  Now there is no specific formula one can take from Jesus response, but certainly we can learn what can help us in times of trouble.  So first we will look at how Jesus responded and then consider what we can learn for approaching suffering in our own lives.


The first noticeable way that Jesus responded is that He prepared and taught preparation.  Jesus spent the last supper giving lessons so the disciples would know what is ahead and instructed them how to prepare.  The preparation was real basic; to seek God in prayer and engage in surrender to God’s will.  Jesus spent an agonizing night in the Garden of Gethsemane praying in preparation. Multiple times he awakened his disciples, informing them of the need to pray to prepare for what is ahead.


After praying, the next thing that Jesus did was go through the suffering and the path set before him.  He did not retreat or attack, but stayed true to God’s will and the path set before, in spite of all the suffering that was to come and during each step along the way.  He was able to keep to the path, because He knew what God’s will was and the reasons for his suffering.  He knew that the suffering was necessary but temporary.


Jesus also remained faithful. He faced every temptation to respond with anger, aggression, self-defense, or any other ways of protecting self.  Instead of self-protecting, Jesus spoke only when needed in order to speak the truth. He did not defend, simply walked the course as the events played out before him.


            The last main response of Jesus to comment on is that Jesus always loved others throughout the process. He never treated Judas or Peter with disdain. He warned Peter and gave him direction.  He forgave those participating in his humiliation, torture, and crucifixion.  He even from the cross directed John to take care of his mother.


           So the question is what can we learn from how Jesus responded?  Jesus was God after all, how can we even begin to come close to Jesus response?  Well, Jesus gives us the examples of what we need to do.  We need to continually prepare through study of God’s word and prayer.  We study God’s word in order to know His will in our life and we prayer to converse and interact with God. 


            We also need to stay on the path God sets before us, regardless of appearances.  We need not veer to the left or the right but walk in the ways God sets before us in surrender and obedience.  This involves a surrender of our will in order to follow God’s will and path.


            We need to trust God at His word and keep are eyes focused on Jesus and recognize that what is going on in our lives at any time is but temporary. Even the chronic illnesses and pains of this life are but a mere temporary blimp in light of eternity. 


            And lastly we need to be able to walk in love.  We need to forgive those that hurt us, regardless of their response to us.  We need to find ways to move beyond our selfish defensiveness and tendency to attack or retreat. Rather, we need to love in the midst of pain.


            If we follow Jesus example, we will be able to stand in the storms of life.  Storms are always momentary. The Kingdom of God is eternal.

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