This is Part 3 of 7 parts answering the question, “Can a believer be victorious while God allows suffering in his life?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Part 4 will be posted tomorrow.
Jesus Was Tempted When He Faced Suffering
Is it reasonable to ask the question, “Could Jesus have been defeated?” When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He asked that the cup (the cross) be taken from Him. In other words, He asked the Father to not require the cross of Him. That request was not a sign of rebellion to the Father’s will, but a revelation to us that Jesus knew His suffering would be far more painful than what anyone would ever endure. For Mark noted the Lord’s comments, “And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36 NKJ). The Lord Jesus faced temptation to reject His Father’s will and potential defeat in suffering, but He did not waiver in His obedience as Luke recorded, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42 NKJ)
Scripture makes it clear that Jesus was made like us in order to represent us before the Father as a faithful High Priest,
17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (Heb 2:17-18 NKJ)
If He was able to be tempted, then He faced defeat. Yet, He was totally dependent on the Holy Spirit, so that He was able not to sin and be defeated. In fact, He was tempted in the same way we are,
15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15 NKJ)
Because Jesus was (and is) God, he was not able to sin. As true humanity, He was able not to sin, because of His total dependency on the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14, 18; Heb. 9:14). He faced defeat, but He lived a life of victory, even in suffering.
Jesus Was Victorious In Suffering
The greatest moment of victory for the Lord Jesus came at the greatest moment of His suffering. He was hanging on the cross, which was a symbol of cursing, and the entire world was darkened, because the “Light of the World” had become sin for us! In His humanity, Jesus was spiritually separated from the Father, because the Father is too holy to look upon sin. As Jesus bore the sins of the world and the Father poured out His wrath upon the object of His wrath, the Lord Jesus suffered as no other person in the world has ever suffered.
In that moment of complete agony, the Lord Jesus cried out the victorious proclamation, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). He had completed the work for which the Father had sent Him into the world. He had fulfilled the requirements of the Law. He had satisfied the righteousness of the Father. He had completed the payment for the sins of the world. There WAS and IS nothing else that needed to be done.
Part 4 will be posted tomorrow.