Probably the ultimate example of suffering in the Bible is Jesus being crucified. Crucifixion was the worst method of execution that the Romans could devise. The word excruciating is derived from crucifixion, and means ‘extremely painful, causing intense suffering, torturing’. The movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’ is probably a good example of a portrayal of the horror of crucifixion.
God set Jesus up as the ultimate example of sacrifice and service to others. Jesus always taught about serving others, and that following him would not be easy. In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”. Remember that the cross represented crucifixion – not exactly positive advertising to attract new followers, yet this demonstrates the idea that sacrifice is required to achieve a greater good.
But even if you suffer for following Jesus, God will be there to help you. In John 16:33, Jesus says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:10: That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 1:5: For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
Jesus suffered a terrible death on the cross, but according to the Bible, he rose from death to show that those who believe in him will also live, and be saved from the penalty of sin. So according to the Bible, even though people may suffer all kinds of problems in life, we can have hope if we look to Jesus.
Next: What About Miracles?