BIBLE STUDY LESSON # 14...January, 10 , 2010
“Jesus, A Life Of Suffering?"
Imagine you had a birthday and everyone got gifts but you. Next, imagine that you left a warm safe place to live a homeless life. Then, imagine that you went around doing good and showing love and kindness; in return you were despised, rejected, and scorned. Also, suppose your family considered you to be sick. And, those who professed to be your loyal followers didn’t understand who you were. Accordingly, imagine that you came offering life and received death in return. Finally, imagine people disputing the fact that you had even lived at all.
Disheartening, is it not? It is hard enough for us to even think of enduring just one of these hardships. Yet, Jesus has encountered each and every one of them. Although we celebrate His birthday, He never receives a present while those celebrating it do. Lovingly, He left the safe confines of Heaven to come to earth where he lived His earthly life moving from place to place – many times without a roof over His head. Ultimately, those He came to love, including His family, rejected Him, along with His teachings, and forced Him to surrender to a horrible death. Adding insult to injury, many argue that He never even existed.
So, where are we going? While confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, many do not truly know Him; we only know what preachers and teachers have told us about Christ. What is the reason behind this study? Hoping to open up a dialogue about our knowledge of Christ and what He means to each of us, I want to look at some of the facts about Him that we may tend to overlook. Obviously, I am asking others to share their input on this subject thus encouraging more group participation.
Since we have just recently discussed Christmas, I am not going to delve into Jesus’ birth. However, I do want to look at the other scenarios presented above. Beginning with Christ’s first coming, I want to look at His life, death and second coming and what they mean to me as well as what it might mean to you. Then briefly, I want to look at what the naysayers have as their argument. But mostly, I want to give honor and praise to our Redeemer.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 17:5 “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
Philippians 2:6-8 who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient unto death – even death on a cross!
Imagine how it must have felt that day in Heaven as Jesus prepared to come to earth. Oh, how the angels must have felt as they watched their Friend unpack for His journey. Consider how Jesus felt as He slowly removed His crown and His bright shiny robes and put on the skin of a small human baby; to leave all the glory and power behind to enter into a dark sin-filled world. Think how God, himself, must have felt watching His son leave. Obviously, He had to have been proud, but I think He probably felt sad knowing what Jesus would face.
Surely, the angels must have cried as they watched in love as Jesus removed all signs of His authority. Conversely, they heralded Him away to earth singing praises to Him. Likewise, Jesus probably cried as He realized the loneliness that was before Him. But, He also had to be happy knowing that He was doing the Father’s will. Most assuredly, this was a somber and joyous time as all Heaven realized Jesus would return to their presence albeit under different circumstances. And, upon His return, fellowship between God and man would be restored.
Isn’t it wonderful that God and Jesus loved us so much? Aren’t you glad Jesus was willing to come and live among us? Since Christ gave up so much for us, can we not give ourselves to Him?
Matthew 8:20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”
Matthew 14: 22-23 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After He had dismissed the crowd, He went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.
Just as Jesus left light for darkness, He also left the safe confines of a home to wander through His earthly life homeless. Even as a small child He never truly had a home. While born in Bethlehem, He was taken into Egypt for His safety. Settling in Nazareth, His family returned to Israel from Egypt. Actually, He may have had a place to call home during the lost years of His life. Unfortunately, once He started His ministry He never really had a place to lay His head. To further explain Jesus’ homelessness I want to add the lyrics of a Rich Mullins song.
YOU DID NOT HAVE A HOME
You did not have a home
there were places You visited frequently
Took off your shoes and scratched Your feet
Cause You knew that the whole world belonged to the meek
But You did not have a home
You did not take a
there were pretty maids all in a row
Lined up to touch the hem of Your robe
But You had no place to take them so
You did not take a wife
Birds have nests, foxes have dens
But the hope of the whole world rests
On the shoulders of a homeless man - You had the shoulders of a homeless man
You did not have a home
You had no stones to throw
You came without an ax to grind
Did not tow the party line
No wonder sight came to the blind
You had no stones to throw
You rode an ass’s foal
they spread their coats and cut down palms
For You and Your donkey to walk upon
But the world won’t find what it thinks it wants
On the back of an asses foal
So I guess you had to get sold
Cause the world can’t stand what it cannot own
And it can’t own You cause You did not have a home.
Very much to the point, is it not? Though we worry about being homeless ourselves, thank God Jesus was homeless on earth and could not be controlled by the world. Because He was homeless here on earth, we have a home in Heaven waiting for us.
It had to be hard enough on Jesus leaving His home on high and going homeless on earth. But, imagine the pain and sorrow when your family and friends forsake you.
Mark 3:20-21 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that His disciples were not even able to eat. When His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Matthew 26:14-16 Then one of the Twelve – the one called Judas Iscariot – went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand Him over.
Luke 21:31-34 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
Not having the support of our family is one thing. But, imagine how it must have felt for Jesus to hear his family accuse Him of being insane. How could his mother, knowing that Jesus was destined to do things unheard of at the time, ever accuse Him of being out of his mind? What about His brothers and sisters? What would cause them to undermine His mission? Why accuse someone doing miraculous works of insanity?
Truthfully, Mary may not have fully understood everything she was told concerning Jesus. After all, she was only human. Understandably, His siblings probably thought of Him as an ordinary person, even if He was a little too perfect. Obviously, they had no idea about how special their big brother was. Yet, it still had to hurt.
Now, imagine how Jesus must have felt Knowing that a close friend had betrayed Him to death. Then, consider what He must have felt when His entire inner circle ran away leaving Him completely alone. Then, picture the pain of seeing Peter deny ever knowing Him. The pain and sorrow had to be overwhelming.
Finally, imagine that the very people He came to save rejected Him. Living a life of suffering and shame to bear the weight of the world’s sins, the world denies that He even existed. As history is rewritten, Christ is denied existence (or, is considered just a good man). How would you feel if you were never recognized as a living being?
John 1:10-11 He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.
As we can plainly see, Christ suffered throughout His life on earth– not just on the cross. Now, we can see why Isaiah called Him the Suffering Servant. Enduring enough pain and sorrow that would drive most of us into a deep depression, Christ carried out His mission by suffering horribly on the cross.
Fortunately, Jesus endured all of this suffering for us. Wanting us to know He understood all our everyday trials and tribulations, He endured all things. Loving us so much, He was willing to leave the comforts of Heaven and endure the distresses of the world.
John 1:12-13 Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
John 17:24-26 “Father, I want those You have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory You have given me because You loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, thought he world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent me. I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him a name that is above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in Heaven and on earth and under that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Praise be to God for allowing His Son, Jesus, to come into this world to live and die for us. I am so glad that He loves me that much. And, I am so very glad that He loves each and every one of you just as much. Because He loved us and allowed Jesus to suffer for us, we have the promise of a bright and happy future.
Christ suffered and died that we might be saved. Has that happened in your life? Can you truly confess Jesus as Lord and Savior? If you have experienced His life-changing love please let us know so we can rejoice with you. If you have not yet experienced the change that Christ can make in your life, please, please let us know so we can pray for you and answer any questions you may have; there are so many in this group who love you and want to help you.
Finally, I again want to urge each and every one who reads this lesson to give us your feedback. We do not pretend to speak for everyone, only ourselves. So, it is very important to us that you respond.
May God continue to bless you all and keep you close.
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