This is Part 1 of 2 parts answering the question, “Did Jesus suffer like we suffer?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.
Many of the previous questions have addressed the extent to which people suffer. Sometimes it is difficult to imagine that someone else has ever suffered as much or in the same way that you have. In fact, it is easy to question how much someone else suffers compared to yourself, because you cannot experience the pain of another. In reality, because you cannot fully feel another’s suffering, you may be like many people who tend to think another’s suffering is not as great as theirs.
But what about how much the Lord Jesus suffered? He only lived about 33 years. He did not face the intensity of a high-paced world. He did not get drafted into the Israeli military and suffer combat. He was not born deformed or with disabilities. So can His suffering be compared to what you have or have gone through?
The Lord Jesus did not deserve to suffer, because He was innocent of any sin. He never inherited Adam’s original sin nor did He receive the sin nature. And yet He suffered. But let us take a moment and answer the question, “Did Jesus suffer like we suffer? Does Jesus understand the trials that we experience in life?” If He did not, then how can He possibly understand the endurance so many have struggled through in life?
All Suffering is Relative in the Human Race
We can only view suffering from a finite, human perspective. We do not have God’s Divine perspective, unless we are guided by the Holy Spirit in understanding Scripture. Fortunately for the Christian, the suffering of the present lasts only during earthly life (Rev. 21:4). But the unbeliever’s suffering will last for an eternity! (2 Thes. 2:7-9). Because it is relative, we need to have God’s view. He wrote through Isaiah,
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa 55:8-9 NKJ)
When we look at all situations from God’s vantage point, from His plan that prepares us for eternity, then we will begin to grasp the many different reasons He allows suffering. Furthermore, we should never forget Paul’s admonition to the Romans,
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:35-39 NKJ)
God is always faithful through any and all of our suffering. Yet, did Jesus suffer like we do?
We’ll look at this in Part 2.