Somewhere around 1200 BC, we as humans came up with a rite of passage known as firewalking or walking barefoot across hot coals. This rite of passage was to test a person’s strength and courage. The last time I went to the beach during the summer, I burned my feet just walking on the sand. Yes, I do have tender feet. So I do not understand why anyone would want to walk through hot coals or intentionally cause pain. However, Jesus did choose to walk through pain for you and for me. Here are three types of pain Jesus suffered for us.
1.Jesus suffered the emotional pain of false accusations.
“Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ asked Pilate. ‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied. The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, ‘Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.’ But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.” Mark 15:1-5 (NIV)
Jesus had been on trial all night before this Jewish council called the Sanhedrin. Many false accusations were brought against Jesus. The only charge against Jesus that they could agree on was blasphemy. This Jewish council condemned Jesus to death on blasphemy. However, the Sanhedrin had to get permission from Pilate, the Roman Governor, in order to carry out a death sentence. And the Jewish charge of blasphemy would not be enough for the Roman Governor to give a death sentence. So, this council came up with a political charge against Jesus—he claims to be a king. This would be a charge of treason against Caesar. So when they bring Jesus before Pilate, the governor asks Jesus directly, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus said yes, but his kingship was a spiritual one, not a political one. He was no threat to Pilate or Caesar.
2. Jesus suffered the physical pain of beatings.
“Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.” Mark 15:15 (NIV)
Pilate becomes a crowd pleaser here to keep the peace. He lets Barabbas go free and then gives the order for Jesus to be beaten and nailed to a cross. The beating was with a leather whip that had sharp pieces of bone tied along the leather straps. A person’s clothing was taken off, and then the hands were bound together and tied to a post. The beating could be done by two soldiers, alternating back and forth from either side of the criminal. As the whip came across the back and wrapping around the chest, the sharp bones would tear the flesh and muscle tissue off causing severe pain and blood loss. This beating was intended to weaken the person and hasten the death on a cross. Many would often die from the beating.
3. Jesus suffered the spiritual pain of mocking.
“The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. Mark 15:16-20 (NIV)
The beating Jesus suffered had weakened him physically. Yet, the soldiers decided to have some fun at his expense. They mocked him as a king. They had no idea he was the King of kings and Lord of lords. They had no idea he was King over the entire universe.
I cannot begin to understand the amount of pain Jesus suffered. And he did it for you and me. Therefore, when you and I are in pain, we can walk with Jesus. He has endured more pain than we could possibly endure. Here are three specific behaviors we can display because of Jesus walking with us through pain.
1. When in pain, walk with Jesus by remaining faithful to him.
“So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners. Then you won’t get discouraged and give up.” Hebrews 12:3 (CEV)
If we are being persecuted, if we are being hurt physically, emotionally, or spiritually, we are to keep our focus on Jesus. He has already endured the insults, the beatings, and the false accusations. He has paved that path for us. There is no reason for us to be discouraged or to give up. Jesus is with us, and we can remain faithful no matter what the pain or the source of the pain.
2. When in pain, walk with Jesus by refusing to fear people.
“Don’t be afraid of people. They can kill you, but they cannot harm your soul. Instead, you should fear God who can destroy both your body and your soul in hell.” Matthew 10:28 (CEV)
Jesus encourages us that no one can harm our soul when we belong to him. Others can persecute us for our faith and yes even kill us, but they cannot harm our soul. Our soul is safe with Jesus. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you are safe in God’s arms. Rather than fear people, we are to fear God. Why are we to fear God? Because God does have the power to judge people destroy them in hell. So what does it mean to fear God? Proverbs 8:13 (NIV) says, “To fear the LORD is to hate evil.” So fearing God is not to be afraid of him, but to hate what he hates. God hates evil and sin. Fearing God is to hate what he hates.
3. When in pain, walk with Jesus by trusting God’s judgment.
“He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.” 1 Peter 2:23 (NLT)
Jesus is God. He could have sent flames to burn away the Roman soldiers. He could have called for angels to rescue him from the pain. He could have opened the earth to swallow up the Jewish leaders. Instead, he was ready to give of his life for ours, and he did not retaliate. If Jesus had retaliated, if Jesus had called for a rescue from his pain, then you and I would not be here today. Because of what Jesus did, you and I can trust God’s judgment today. God will judge all those who persecute Christians and cause us pain.
Pain occurs in our life in a variety of forms; sickness, disease, crime and violence, verbal abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, natural disasters, car accidents, and persecution for our faith. As far as I am concerned, no one will ever suffer more pain than Jesus did. He did that for us, and it was our sin that caused his pain. Today, Jesus is no longer in pain; instead, he knows how to take your hand and walk you through any and every pain of life. Will you take his hand and let him lead you. When in pain, walk with Jesus.