While listening to Derick Prince this afternoon preaching on suffering with Jesus as quoted by Paul the apostle in Philippians 3:10, I realized that he had missed the point. Most people think that when this scripture speaks of suffering it speaks of physical suffering or the same suffering Jesus went to while on the cross. But the Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:2 that Jesus looked at the cross with joy while despising the shame. The suffering Paul speaks of in Philippians 3:10 is the humiliation and shame the Lord Jesus had to go through in front of his family and friends as well as his disciples. This was much worse to him than the pain of the nails or the beating he took.
Here we see an innocent man who had dedicated his life to doing good and feeding the poor as well as healing those who were sick or paralyzed being beaten and stripped of his clothing in front of his home crowd. Many who had been healed as well as his mother and brothers could only look on in piety as they marched him to his death. Jesus Christ the son of the living God being treated as a common criminal. And even worse was that he could not or would not defend himself before this pagan crowd. He knew he was innocent, God the Father knew he was innocent, even the angels in heaven knew he was innocent. But those in attendance must have had thoughts of his guilt along with his own relatives and friends, because, why else would he be hanging on a cross?
This was the suffering Paul speaks of when he said, "that I might know him and the fellowship of his sufferings." To share in his sufferings is to share in his shame and in his humiliation. To know that even when you are right you might have to suffer for being right and be made to look like a fool. To lose your reputation or the importance of being seen as the holy one among your friends or family members. To be despised by those who you have helped or are trying to help, this is the shame and humiliation Jesus went through. To be seen as a criminal or a bad person when all the while you know you are in the clear but cannot utter a sound or word in your own defense.
How different we are from him. We who want to make a name for our self and have a magnificent reputation among the brothers. Do we really want to suffer with him and be in fellowship with his suffering as Paul said? No, I think not. Most of us want to be liked and admired by the church crowd as well as the world. Who of us wants to have hundreds of people see us in our underwear while being beaten for doing right. Who of us can stand the shame of being looked at as a loser by a large crowd? As modern people, we need to have the admiration of our friends and family as well as the respect of our neighbors. But the Lord Jesus never had that option.
This suffering is not a part of salvation which is a gift of God. This suffering is for those who want to bond with Jesus Christ and see what he had to go through in order to bring salvation to the world. The gift of salvation is a free gift to any who will accept it. But it did not come free to Jesus, it cost him many sufferings and pains as well as the shame of being seen as a criminal.
It is said that the only way to see what a person is going through is to have already gone through it yourself or to go through it with him or her. In this way a person bonds with the victim or the suffering one. I believe that the greatest gift a person can receive from God is the gift of knowing personally the sufferings of Jesus Christ. Many people both Christian and none Christian believe that it was only Peter who denied the Lord but that's not true.
In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. They all left him to die because they were ashamed of him and wanted no part of his suffering.
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