Our Suffering God (Mark 15)
Suffering. No one wants it. Everyone experiences it.
Even God. Yes, God. Especially God.
On this Good Friday, take a long look at the cross. Who do you see hanging there?
Christians see God. The God who made the world is now suffering at the hands of the world he made.
We worship a suffering God.
In order to rescue humanity (and the world) from its own self-inflicted demise, God, in a mystery beyond human comprehension, inhabited a human body and suffered a human death.
We worship a God who experienced emotional suffering.
His people rejected him. His friends abandoned him. His best friend denied him. His close confidant betrayed him. He who welcomed the outcast was now outcast himself. He who loved was now reviled. He who forgave others was now condemned. On Good Friday, God suffered emotional pain.
We worship a God who experienced physical suffering.
The hands which bled were God’s hands. The thorns which pierced, pierced God’s head. The arms which hung were God’s arms. The shortness of breath was God’s breath. The physical pain of death was felt by the God who created life. On Good Friday, God suffered physical pain.
We worship a God who experience spiritual suffering.
He prayed in the Garden, and the answer was No. He cried on the Cross to an empty sky. He who had enjoyed intimacy within the Godhead for all eternity past, was now hanging alone. No wonder the earth shook! No wonder the skies blackened! It was the heaving of a God whose heart was broken on the altar of human rebellion. On Good Friday, God suffered spiritual pain.
Why did he do it?
Why did he suffer such inexplicable emotional, physical, and spiritual pain? He suffered for us so that we would never suffer alone. He suffered for us in order to rescue us from ourselves. He suffered for us because, well, because he loves us more deeply and fully than we can fathom.
His suffering, and ultimate triumph over it, gives us hope when we suffer. (But we need to wait until Sunday to find out how!) In the meantime, his suffering gives us comfort when our own suffering threatens to overwhelm us. For God suffers with us. God suffers for us. God suffers in our place. God suffers so that someday suffering itself … will … be … no … more. Alleluia.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).