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Bible verses about Jesus Christ's Suffering
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 3:15

The King James and New King James versions translate the "bruising" clauses word for word without making the sense obvious. Other translations render the verb as "wound," "crush," "strike," or "attack." The New International version provides a more descriptive translation: "He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." The difference is in degree of wounding: Crushing a snake's head destroys it, rendering him powerless, if not dead (see Hebrews 2:14); a snake's strike on the heel, though painful, is minor by comparison.

Another way to look at the comparison focuses on the site of the wounding, the head as compared to the heel. The serpent's wound affects the seat of his intellect and control of his powers, whereas the Seed's wound merely impairs His flesh for a short while - three days and three nights, to be exact.

These bruisings also carry on the theme of humiliation expressed in the preceding verse. The crushing of the serpent's head is understood to be by the heel of the Seed ("He will bruise and tread your head underfoot" - Amplified Bible), so the figure of being "under the heel" of the Messiah is present. This is a common biblical illustration of subservience, submission, and mortification (I Kings 5:3; Lamentations 3:34; Malachi 4:3; Romans 16:20; I Corinthians 15:25; etc.)

Like the symbol of the "Seed," the wounding of the Messiah is another theme that crops up frequently in Scripture. In Numbers 21:8-9, God commands Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole so "that everyone who is bitten [by the fiery serpents], when he looks at it, shall live." Later, Jesus points to this as a type of His crucifixion, by which He spiritually heals our "serpent bites" (John 3:14-15).

In the Psalms, David writes of the Messiah's wounding: "For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm 16:10). Psalm 22 prophesies of Christ's reviling, scourging, and death, showing that, rather than being an end, the Seed's wounding extends God's purpose to every generation! Many other Psalms repeat this theme (Psalm 31:5; 34:20; 41:9-12; 49:15; 69:7-9, 19-21; 109:1-5; etc.).

Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12, the well-known "Suffering Servant" section, contains the very detailed prophecy of Christ's suffering and death. It explains that He, though sinless Himself, endured these ignominious afflictions as a result of our sins. In His wounding, Christ pays the penalty for all sin and qualifies to replace the serpent as ruler over the earth. This, of course, becomes the central theme of the entire New Testament, repeated in some form by nearly every writer.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The First Prophecy (Part One)


 

Isaiah 53:3

These two scriptures (verses 3 and 8) prompt some additional questions and points to ponder: To whose generation was Isaiah referring when he asked, "Who will declare His generation?" How extensive was "this generation" in Luke 17:25? Were these terms, "this generation" and "His generation" limited to the time and place of Jesus' human lifetime only, or do they, as the other verses quoted above imply, extend to the whole world over the six thousand years allotted to man's self-rule? Just six thousand years? Yet, even in the Millennium, will there not be those who despise and reject Jesus Christ and His rule (Ezekiel 38; Revelation 20:7-8)? Isaiah 53 tells us first that Jesus is despised—He still is today! He also tells us that Jesus was despised. Has not Jesus in fact been rejected by all of mankind?

Staff
Jesus' Final Human Thoughts (Part One)


 

Matthew 16:21-23

Poor Peter was looking though a glass very darkly and suffering from the common human malady of selective hearing and understanding. All he seemed to hear and understand were those horrifying words about the suffering, the rejection, and the killing. Did he not hear Jesus telling them that His resurrection from the dead—one of the greatest turning points in all eternity—was soon to occur?

Peter had the powerful Satan whispering words of fear into his mind: fear for Jesus, fear of persecution, fear of his own death. Would any of us have fared any better than Peter? Satan, up to his old tricks, knew that one of history's most pivotal days was approaching and what the glorious outcome of Jesus' suffering and death would be. He wanted to make a concerted, eleventh-hour effort to prevent it from happening. How? By using human fear and reason—by frightening and tempting Peter into trying to talk his beloved friend Jesus out of even mentioning these two events: the greatest sacrifice and the greatest miracle in human history.

Jesus was no coward, of course, but He certainly did not look forward to the impending physical torture that He knew He must endure. He had the ability—if just through Scripture alone—to foresee it all in detail. Paul suggests that, even before His incarnation, Christ frequently pondered what He would have to experience: "He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once in the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:26).

Staff
Death of a Lamb


 

Matthew 27:34

These "drink offerings" of sour wine and gall perfectly fulfilled David's prophecy of Psalm 69:21: "They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."

But what was this "sour wine"? Easton's Bible Dictionary describes this drink in its article, "Gall":

The drink offered to our Lord was vinegar (made of light wine rendered acid, the common drink of Roman soldiers) "mingled with gall," or, according to Mark 15:23, "mingled with myrrh"; both expressions meaning the same thing, namely, that the vinegar was made bitter by the infusion of wormwood or some other bitter substance, usually given, according to a merciful custom, as an anodyne [pain reliever] to those who were crucified, to render them insensible to pain. Our Lord, knowing this, refuses to drink it. He would take nothing to cloud his faculties or blunt the pain of dying. He chooses to suffer every element of woe in the bitter cup of agony given him by the Father (John 18:11).

Other commentators opine that the gall—being a poison as well as a desensitizing drug—was meant to speed the death of the victim before the grisly effects of the crucifixion did. But surely it was not offered as, Easton suggests, for the comfort of the condemned! Rather, it was given for the soldiers' own ease and perhaps for the benefit of the pitiless Jewish leaders who wanted the three victims dead and disposed of before the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (John 19:31-33).

Luke's account implies that the soldiers' offers of sour wine to Jesus were part of their mockery of Him: "The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine" (Luke 23:36). It is not logical that these soldiers would mock Jesus, beat Him, spit on Him, jam a crown of thorns on His head, flog Him terribly, and then give a pain-relieving drink to Him as a "merciful custom"! Later, to speed their deaths, the soldiers would break the legs of the two men who were crucified on either side of Jesus and would cruelly stab Him with a spear. They would have broken Jesus' legs too, but they were prevented from doing so for the prophecies to be accurately fulfilled. Not much evidence of mercy here!

Staff
Of Sponges and Spears


 

John 19:30

Jesus gasped, "It is finished", and finally to the Father, who gave Him to us because He loved us so much, our Savior prayed, "Into your hands I commend My spirit" (Luke 23:46). So Jesus died with a quiet confidence that He had finished the work His Father had sent Him to do.

Staff
Why Did Jesus Have to Die by Crucifixion?


 

John 19:34

The modern understanding of the English word "pierced" used in these verses (also in Job 16:13; Psalm 22:16; Lamentations 3:13; and Revelation 1:7) does not adequately describe the magnitude of Jesus' terrible wound. When we think of "pierced," we probably think of:

» The minor puncture of the tiny needle used for the medical blood-tests we might have from time to time;

» The minute holes required for earrings; or

» The erroneous view of classical artists who painted depictions of the crucified Christ with small, inoffensive wounds from which drip insignificant trickles of blood.

Webster's Dictionary definitions, however, show that the Bible's translators did an accurate job in translating this word:

» To run into or through as a pointed weapon does;

» To stab;

» To enter or thrust into sharply or painfully;

» To force or make a way into or through.

Here is an excerpt from Albert Barnes' commentary on John 19:34:

[With a spear] The common spear which soldiers used in war. There can be no doubt that such a stroke from the strong arm of a Roman soldier would have caused death, if He had not been already dead. . . . Let the following circumstances be remembered, showing that death must have ensued from such a wound:

(1) The Saviour was elevated but a little from the ground, so as to be easily reached by the spear of a soldier.

(2) The wound must have been transversely upward, so as to have penetrated into the body, as he could not have stood directly under Him.

(3) It was probably made with a strong arm and with violence.

(4) The spear of the Roman soldier was a lance which tapered very gently to a point, and would penetrate easily.

(5) The wound was comparatively a large wound. It was so large as to admit the hand (John 20:27); but for a lance thus tapering to have made a wound so wide as to admit the hand, it must have been at least four or five inches in depth, and must have been such as to have made death certain. If it be remembered that this blow was probably in the left side, the conclusion is inevitable that death would have been the consequence of such a blow. . . .

It is clear that the spear pierced to the region of the heart. . . .

Such a flowing of blood and water makes it probable that the spear reached the heart, and if Jesus had not before been dead, this would have closed His life. . . .

He [John] shows that those who were sent to hasten His death believed that He had expired; that then a soldier inflicted a wound which would have terminated life if He had not been already dead; and that the infliction of this wound was followed by the fullest proof that He had truly expired.

Further research informs us that some Roman spears had larger blades attached to their "business end" for the purpose of inflicting larger wounds. However, if Barnes is correct that the point of this spear tapered gently to a point, the soldier must have viciously twisted it in order to create a five-inch gash. In fact, such a twisting motion, virtually guaranteeing a mortal wound, would have been second-nature to a veteran soldier.

Each year, as we reflect upon the great sufferings of our Savior, let us not be depressed by them. Although we should deeply appreciate the agonies that Jesus endured for us, we should realize that His physical suffering is now over, and has been over for nearly two thousand years. In this regard, Matthew Henry's Commentary on John 19:34 is very interesting, positive, forward-looking, and worthy of some reflection. He notes that the Creator—the One who later became Jesus Christ—pierced and opened Adam's side to create his wife, Eve. Likewise, Jesus Christ, the Second Adam, suffered His own side to be pierced and opened in order for His own Bride to be created.

The members of God's true church constitute the beloved Bride of Christ. Our tiny congregations have the wonderful privilege of being part of that church. As we have seen, Jesus calls on us to remember His affliction, including the piercing, the cup, the sour wine, and the gall. No matter how many years we have rehearsed these events, let us remember once again what our Savior went through bodily for us. As He said to His disciples, "This is My body which is given for you" (Luke 22:19).

Staff
Of Sponges and Spears


 

Romans 5:8-9

We are justified by faith in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ's life was worth more than all the rest of humanity combined, His death paid the penalty of the sins of the whole world. Through faith in His suffering and death, we receive forgiveness of sins and are brought into a right relationship with God.

The scripture states that "we shall be saved from wrath through Him." "Justified" does not mean "saved"; nor does it mean that we have eternal life. It simply means that our guilty past has been wiped clean because Christ paid the penalty for our sins. Once justified, we can proceed to the next step in the process of salvation.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Basic Doctrines: Salvation


 

Romans 5:8-10

Verse 10 says, "We shall be saved," in the future tense. Thus, we now have access to the Father, to the Tree of Life, and to a relationship to build upon which should lead to everlasting life. But God has willed that our development must take place within the world, not the Garden of Eden.

Part of God's solution clears us of guilt of past sins; this is referred to in the Bible as "justification." Justification by faith in Christ's blood is only a partial solution because it neither changes the nature nor the character that is the cause of our needing justification through Christ's blood. It does clear us of indebtedness due to sin, and that in itself is a major blessing—an enormous gift—but by itself, it does not change the behavior that was responsible for us being indebted in the first place. It does open the door to that change, and thus verse 10 says, "We shall be saved by His life." This phrase implies help to enable us to be saved. Help is available to fulfill our part because Christ is alive to assist us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Laodiceanism and Being There Next Year


 

Romans 8:3

Christ came as a human being and had to deal with life as we do. He had the same time, space, and constraints as we do. He became tired and had to eat. Was He not subject to the futility of this world? Was He not subject to decisions made by others beyond His control? Was He not subject to persecution? Was He not subject to pain? Did He not get caught in other people's dilemmas? Did the court system treat Him in an advantageous way? No, He received an unjust trial. He did not receive the decision He deserved, and His life was taken away as a result. On the stake, He suffered pain unjustly. He had to deal with things the same way as we do.

What this does for us is—because of God's calling and the response we have made—God adds to the gift. He not only gave His Son, but now He gives His Spirit. We find in verse 11 that, if we have that Spirit, we have the beginnings, the down payment, on immortality, on eternal life. We become sons and daughters of this great God. We are drawn into a Family, which is not only a family in the normal sense, but we also become brothers and sisters of Christ in another, equally important area. It has something to do with the fact that He, too, was subject to the same kind of sufferings we are—the unfairness of life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and the Feast of Tabernacles (Part 1)


 

Hebrews 4:14-15

Christ's physical life was not spared the calamities we commonly face so that He would be prepared for His responsibilities within God's purpose. He was made to share our experiences to perfect, complete, or mature Him. In other words, if we might have to flee for our lives, then God was not going to excuse Jesus from that kind of a trial. He allowed Jesus to get into situations where indeed He might have to flee for His life. Did Jesus just presume that God would rescue Him because of who He was? No. In writing this, the apostle Paul wants us to understand that Jesus sinlessness was the result of conscious decision and intense struggle, not merely the consequence of His divine nature or the Father's protection or intervention.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Place of Safety? (Part 2)


 

1 Peter 3:18

Peter shows us how far the model, Jesus, went in suffering unjustly. It is a high standard, but He went all the way to the death without giving in to His emotions and without allowing Satan to get a hold of Him. Jesus never thought that God was being unfair or unjust in what He was causing or allowing Him to go through.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 4)


 

1 Peter 4:1-6

The apostle is speaking about the efficacy of Christ's suffering and death in making possible a relationship between God and human beings. His conclusion, beginning in I Peter 4:1-2, is that, since Christ suffered so much to bring this about, Christians should respond by "ceas[ing] from sin" and living "for the will of God."

This means, of course, that in doing so, we no longer live as we used to, like the "Gentiles," like the world (verse 3). Seeing this, our friends who are still in the world wonder why our lives have changed so drastically, and they are likely to malign us for it (verse 4). But we need not worry because God, the just Judge, will bring them into account for their abuses of us (verse 5). In verse 6, he winds up his discussion by providing a general example to give us hope in this regard. He explains that the gospel had been preached in the past to people who are now dead, and even though their contemporaries may have judged them worthy to suffer persecution and death, God, conversely, has judged them worthy of eternal life. He implies that God would do the same for us.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jesus and 'the Spirits in Prison'


 

 




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