Tag Archive for Jesus’ suffering and death

The Mind and Spirit of Christ

Facing a horrible death,
Jesus willingly planted His life as a seed
from which eternal life would grow for many.

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” (John 12:23-25, NASB)

Jesus faced total humiliation,
yet His concern was for the Father’s glory.

“Now my soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” (John 12:27-28, NASB)

Jesus was about to be condemned and abused as the most dangerous kind of criminal,
yet He only saw Satan being condemned and cast out.

“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” (John 12:31, NASB)

Jesus would soon be nailed to a cross and hoisted high in shame and agony,
yet He viewed it as His greatest opportunity to draw all people to life in the Father.

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32, NASB)

As He approached suffering, injustice, and death,
Jesus’ heart overflowed with love for His Father and those around Him.

Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John 13:1, NASB)

Father, in His hour of greatest trial,
Jesus’ thoughts were full of You.
Give me the mind and Spirit of Christ. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: His Hour Has Come
Printed Music & Lyrics

For the Joy

Since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3, NASB)

Jesus endured unimaginable suffering
physically, emotionally, and spiritually,
not out of obligation,
but “for the joy set before Him” (v.2).

The scripture emphasizes Jesus’ complete humiliation before His enemies
every step of the way.
Crucifixion itself was designed for humiliation, and
the place of crucifixion was chosen for maximum public visibility.
The Jewish leaders, the most “holy” and respectable men of their day,
mocked and ridiculed Him even as He was in the grip of searing pain.

Yet Jesus endured all this “for the joy set before Him”.
He “despised the shame” (v.2).
That means He dismissed all that shame, that humiliation,
as unworthy of consideration.
He faced His trial “for the joy set before Him”.

Remember what Jesus was longing to share with His disciples
only hours before His suffering?

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy made be made full.” (John 15:11, NASB)

All who love and trust Jesus share His remarkable joy.
Our Father graciously gives each believer a precious gift:
He allows us a small share in Christ’s joyful sufferings.
He calls us to give ourselves, to sacrifice ourselves for others.

As I look at the sacrifices that have come into my life –
sacrifices for my wife, my children, and my grandchildren,
for the ministry God has given me –
I find that for the most part, I make those sacrifices,
not out of obligation,
not for glory or gold,
but out of love…out of joy.
I joyfully sacrifice out of
love for my family and friends,
love for my Father, and
love for the beautiful truth He has revealed to me.
Love brings joy, and
I find great joy in helping those I love.
I love God, and
I find great joy in glorifying Him –
in helping people see how great and good and ever-present He is.

Father, give me the heart of Christ.
Fill my life, my service, my every daily activity
with His joyful self-giving.
Help me to live and love and labor every day
for the joy.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: For the Joy
Printed Music & Lyrics


“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:42, 44, NIV)

Gethsemane removes any notion that Jesus’ suffering and death were somehow easier for Him. Falling on His face before the Father, coming to Him repeatedly with the same prayer, grasping for support from His friends, literally sweating blood – the scene reminds us that He felt all the anguish any of us would feel.

Knowing that such a horrible and fatal ordeal awaited us, we would likely be consumed with dread. Jesus was conscious of what awaited Him, and He was anxious for the day to come:

“I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:49-50, NASB)

But we never sense that He was overcome by fear or distracted by dread. Facing His death, He seemed to deal with the long-term pressure the same way He dealt with it in Gethsemane: He kept Himself completely committed to the Father, completely dependent on Him, completely trusting. His daily bread was always enough.

Lord, simply give us each day our daily bread. No matter what comes, You will always provide all we need. Thank You, Lord.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: A Garden in the Night
Printed Music & Lyrics

Witnessing Even in Death

from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER 

John 18 – 19

Even as the Father was allowing His Son to be cruelly tortured and murdered, even as the Son was experiencing a deep sense of abandonment by the Father, each was lifting up testimonies to the other.

The Father was testifying to Jesus as His own chosen, only-begotten, dearly-loved Son, all the while events seemed to proclaim the opposite. And the Father brought these testimonies from highly-unexpected sources.

  • When the arrest party arrived to seize Jesus, He spoke up and asked, “Whom do you seek?” When they answered, “Jesus the Nazarene,” Jesus identified Himself with the words, “I am.” This would be the usual way of saying, “I am he” or “I am the one you are seeking”. But when Jesus thus spoke the divine name, “I am,” even His enemies reacted to Him in instinctive humility, backing up and prostrating themselves before Him on the ground (John 18:4-8, NASB).
  • After a brief interview, Pilate realized that Jesus was an innocent man and looked for a way to release Him. Then when the Jews specifically accused Jesus of claiming to be the Son of God, Pilate was even more afraid (John 18:38; 19:7-8). He seemed to sense that this righteous Man was who He claimed to be.
  • The sign Pilate had hung on the cross correctly identified Jesus for who He was: “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.” Pilate refused to change the sign, even when pressured by the Jewish leaders (John 19:19-22, NASB).
  • One of the criminals executed with Jesus knew who He was. He defended Jesus to the other criminal, then asked, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” Jesus recognized his genuine faith and responded, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:39-43, NASB).
  • While the Son was on the cross, the Father Creator sent darkness over the land from noon through 3:00 p.m. The veil of the temple was torn in two (Luke 23:44-45).
  • The Roman centurion, who supervised Jesus’ execution and saw everything that happened, “became very frightened and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54, NASB).

Even while engulfed by physical, mental, and spiritual agony, even as He surrendered His life to death, the Son stayed focused on His Father. He was intent on testifying to His Father’s loving control, even as events seemed to shout the triumph of evil.

Jesus’ words on the cross show that thoughts of His Father filled His heart, even as He died. Notice particularly John 19:28, 30:

Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.”

Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit. (NASB) 

In death as in life, Jesus’ first concern was to fulfill His Father’s will. Specifically, He was intent on fulfilling scriptural prophecies about His death. Why? Because the fulfillment of prophecy showed that the Father was still in full control of all that was happening, even as Satan seemed to be having his way. All was happening as the Father had announced centuries before.

Scripture testifies to divine control, even in Jesus’ dying act. Throughout the gospel account of the arrest and trial of Jesus, He remained passive, allowing Himself to be “handed over” (the meaning of the Greek word) from one party to another:

  • Judas handed Jesus over to the Jewish authorities (Matthew 26:46, 48).
  • The Jews handed Him over to Pilate (Matthew 27:2).
  • Pilate handed Him over to be crucified (Matthew 27:26).

But Jesus had already told His disciples, “I lay down My life . . . No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:17-18, NASB). True to His word, Jesus’ final act on the cross was to “hand over” His Spirit to the Father (John 19:30). He died by His own decision, not as a helpless victim, but as Lord of Life, in full control.

In death as in life, the Son glorified the Father, and the Father glorified the Son.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: His Hour Has Come
Printed Music & Lyrics

This Is the One We Follow

Look at Jesus hanging on the cross.
See Him as He truly was:
the blood,
the nakedness,
the pain wrenching His body.
See Him humbled,

This is your God.
This is His passionate love.
This is our Leader,
our Shepherd,
the One we imitate.
This is our goal,
our ambition,
our Way,
our Truth,
our Life.
This is the standard that guides
every day and
every decision.

This is the way we deny ourselves.
This is the cross we carry.
This is the One we follow.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Christ Crucified
Printed Music & Lyrics

The Son’s Focus

from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER 

John 12:23-32

Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. 

“Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.

“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:23-28, 31-32, NASB)

Jesus knew His time had come. He was about to be deserted by His closest friends, mocked and humiliated by His enemies, tortured by soldiers for their amusement, condemned to death by His own people, engulfed in separation from His Father with whom He had enjoyed an eternity of intimate fellowship, and executed by the most brutal method known.

Facing all this, what thoughts filled His mind and heart?

  • He was eagerly anticipating His return to His Father (John 13:1, 3). That was the goal ahead, the true destination toward which He pressed. That was the subject of His conversation with Moses and Elijah at His transfiguration (Luke 9:30-31). That was, at least in part, “the joy set before Him” that made all His sacrifice worthwhile (Hebrews 12:2, NASB).
  • His focus, His concern, His deepest prayer were not His personal comfort, but that His Father would glorify Himself through all that was about to happen (John 12:23-28; 17:1-5).
  • Looking ahead to these events, He didn’t see His own defeat. He saw all the powers of evil judged, condemned, and driven out of this world forever. He saw Himself high and lifted up, and our entire race streaming to Him for salvation (John 12:31-32).

As He faced His hour of trial, He savored the joy of returning to His beloved Father. He longed for the Father to be glorified. He saw the fulfillment of the Father’s purposes.

Facing immense difficulties, His joy, His desire, His focus was His Father.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Glorify Your Name
Printed Music & Lyrics