Much has been seen and said about Jesus, the “Suffering Savior.” Many books are published detailing His atonement, the ultimate price for the sins of the world. Every doctrinal position and apologetic framework covers this great event and subject matter. Christian and secular historians have researched the implications of this event from either position, be it conservative or liberal. Scientists looking into the brutal torture of the crucifixion have outlined how a body would respond to such cruelty as our Savior endured. Being such a monumental moment in Christianity, it has inspired lyrics to hymns, ballads, arias, and poems. Artistic depictions from every generation and movement display the despair, dereliction, and dying of this precious Lamb of God. This is well and appropriate, for such did the Savior suffer dying for your sins and mine. He’s an innocent victim of evil men, an unfortunate and unfair consequence of doing good and healing all the devil oppressed. But as remarkable and pivotal as His death on the cross is, it’s not where His suffering began. Due to the magnitude of Christ’s suffering, it’s easy to overlook His tremendous resilience during His life.
The life of Jesus Christ is full of amazing feats and moral lessons. Because of poverty, we see a man born in a stable utilizing a feeding trough as a cradle. Because of the unusual conditions of His birth, the Pharisees would imply He had no father. Here was a man commissioned to save the world who came unto His people and was rejected because of their unbelief. Jesus, a friend of sinners, would be falsely accused of being a winebibber and a glutton instead of a Physician seeking those in need of healing. This man who cast out devils with the “finger of God” would be charged with associating with Beelzebub, the prince of demons. He that ministered inside houses, raising Jairus’ daughter back to life, often had no place to lay His head. Jesus, humbly refusing to appear equal with God the Father and making Himself of no reputation, was eventually derided as arrogant and blasphemous for declaring God was His Father. Oh, this precious Jesus left eternal living to experience an earthly death. Though He was dying for peace, He couldn’t die in peace, for as He suffered on the cross, He was railed against and taunted. He chose twelve men to follow Him, discuss His parables’ meanings, and be more transparent concerning His mission. They were to continue His ministry after being betrayed by one, and all the eleven forsook Him. What more can we say about the tenacity and resilience of our Lord?
He did more than suffer; he endured. He took the best the wicked world, subtle satan, cruel men, and fickle flesh had and remained steadfast. He resisted temptation in every form. He pursued the will of God with a passion unmatched by any before or after Him. Yes, when He was reviled, He didn’t revile in turn. He was despised, rejected, and put to shame, being acquainted with grief; He was likewise acquainted with that inner resolve that God supplies, thereby maintaining His proper disposition. No wonder the Father would speak from heaven and commend His beloved Son. He never yielded, no departed from His cause but would declare it was His meat to do His Father’s will. As believers, we appreciate His suffering for our salvation, but let’s also champion His fortitude and resilience because, having been tempted, He’s able to support us if we experience the same, and we will. When we do, we should exhibit that same resilience as our Lord, the kind that testifies to God’s power and strength.