The Resurrection of Christ Gives Meaning To Our Suffering
Suffering is one of the most difficult issues in life. It is difficult to endure and it is difficult to understand. At some point everyone is touched by suffering. Right now if you aren’t suffering personally, it’s likely you know someone who is. There is no simple explanation for suffering but the Bible has much to say about it that helps. As I was studying and preparing for my Easter message I noticed a correlation that I hadn’t seen before between suffering and Jesus’ resurrection.
In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul injects suffering in his discussion of the resurrection. He says,
30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus?
Paul wrote the letter of 1 Corinthians from Ephesus. He faced significant opposition there and suffered for Christ. At first it seems out of place for Paul to be talking about his suffering in a chapter dedicated to the resurrection. As we dig a bit deeper the connection is clearer.
First, let’s jump ahead in time, way ahead in the future to when all those who have died in Christ will be raised again to life 1 Corinthians 15:20-23. At that time we will be perfect, holy and blameless before him Ephesians 1:4. God will wipe away every tear and there will never again be mourning or crying or pain Revelation 21:4. But that isn’t the way it is now.
God never intended suffering or sickness, disease, war, strife, or death for us. But all of this is with us and is part of our earthly lives because of sin. Consequently we need to realize two things.
There is only a general answer to the question “Why do people suffer?” It’s because of sin. No one can give a specific reason for when and why suffering occurs. So then what we have to do is to process it correctly, to get through it. This is where Jesus’ resurrection comes into focus.
Jesus suffered, died and rose again. He is seated at the right hand of the Father in a glorified body. We will have a body like His some day 1 John 3:2.
It is that knowledge, that understanding, that promise of our resurrection bodies that helps us through our suffering.
Paul, who suffered more than most, says his sufferings were insignificant compared to the glory we will one day share with Jesus Romans 8:18. That is saying a lot. He says in another place our suffering is a small price to pay to gain Christ Philippians 3:8
How then do we get through suffering? Jesus endured His suffering by entrusting Himself to the Father 1 Peter 2:23. We can endure suffering if we cling to the Father through it.
Please leave a comment or question below. I’d love to hear from you.