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Philippians 2:5-11
Though He was God, . . . [Jesus] humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross (Philippians 2:6,8).

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Read Acts 17:1-3. Consider how all of Scripture points to Jesus, and ponder why the Messiah needed to suffer. What does the suffering Jesus reveal about God’s character?

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If it was necessary for Jesus to suffer, what does this say to you about God? What does this say about our own experiences of suffering?

People tell me that you can turn any smoothie or shake into a snack loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. The idea is to sneak vegetables (spinach, cauliflower, kale, beets, or other healthy veggies) into the beverages of unsuspecting drinkers. They think they’re only imbibing their mango and honey treat, but they’re also downing green veggies. The beverage may be in the form of a smoothie, but the substance is something far different.

When the Scripture speaks of Jesus coming “in the form of God” and in “the form of a servant,” we might be tempted to think it means something similar to these smoothies that smuggle in nutrients (Philippians 2:6-7 ASV). A form, we surmise, offers the shape of something, but it may or may not be congruent with what’s actually contained inside. In Scripture, however, the form of something is the outward visibility of that thing’s true inner quality. In other words, the apostle Paul would say that the form of a smoothie should be 100-percent smoothie.

This means that when the Bible tells us that Jesus came in the form of God, it’s telling us that He is the physical manifestation of God. Jesus is what God looks like when God takes on human shape. And what shape was this? What form did Jesus inhabit? Jesus did not “cling to . . . His divine privileges” but rather “took the humble position of a slave” and “humbled Himself . . . and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

Jesus came in humility, suffering for the rescue of the world, because this is what God is like. Astoundingly, God is one who suffers for the cause of love and for the good of others. If God is to be true to Himself and take human shape, then Jesus is what He looks like.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Numbers 14:5-45

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9 Responses to “the God who suffered”

  1. stephenbabs says:

    If God suffer, why has He? That is the main question that touched my heart. If God’s character is that ” there must be a price for sin”, then I wonder I much price I will pay. And the word of God says “there remains no other sacrifice for sin” are we not in trouble? We gonna pay for every sin we sinned

    • Brianbenyosef says:

      The sacrifice on the cross has paid for all our sins… Past, present, and future. That does not mean you can continue to sin willingly. You must repent of your sins and ask Jesus to forgive you!

    • winn collier says:

      I believe that Scripture’s announcement that ‘there remains no other sacrifice for sin’ is to say that Jesus Christ has already (and completely) been our sacrifice, not to remind us how much we are going to have to pay.

  2. roxanne robbins says:

    Much to think about after reading this post. Thanks, Winn.

    So thankful that in taking the form or a servant, who died for our sins, He took the form of our savior.

  3. mike wittmer says:

    This is a precious truth, Winn. I need to constantly remember the self-giving love of God. He lowered himself as far as he could go to lift me as high as he is.

  4. daisymarygoldr says:

    Great perception on the significance of suffering, Winn Collier! True, Jesus died a criminal’s death but He was no criminal. The good suffer for the guilty—and this is how it has always been since the beginning, starting from Abel.

    Christ suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust. And the purpose? To bring us safely home to God (1 Peter 3: 18). This was the joy for which Jesus endured the sufferings of cross. This is why in the form of a suffering servant He did not seek to be vindicated but made Himself of no reputation. This the reason for which the Man of Sorrow suffered in silence as the sinless Lamb of God.

    God in His love considered it fitting to make Jesus the captain of our salvation perfect through sufferings. And Christ set us an example that we should follow His steps and share in His sufferings. Many who are ignorant of this truth think it is loving to remove suffering from this world— and in so doing end up as victims to spiritual depression with faith in crisis. And then they get angry with God to whine and wonder why He allows suffering.

    However, those who “know” God suffers for the cause of love and for the good of others, gladly suffer not as victims but as victors in Christ. This does not mean we enjoy it but by faith we are able to see the end result and therefore, rejoice in sufferings. Peter encouraged those who are suffering due to no fault of their own—to endure hardship; because it is for this very purpose we were called(1 Peter 2: 21).

    It is the love of Christ that compels us to suffer for the sake of others—that they too might be saved. For someone to die for a good friend is understandable. But God put His love on the line for us by laying down His life to save us even while we were His enemies. The shedding of much blood, sweat and tears serves to advance the gospel. Dr. Luke said it best: we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

  5. GChoo says:

    Much needed and timely reminder and contribution from all. Yes, it is only through our own sufferings and our constant dependence on God that we truly understand God’s sacrificial love for us. Amen!

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