Suffering is a Necessity

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Suffering is a pain that we all know and go through in our daily life. When someone suffers they undergo a feeling of pain or distress. Almost immediately after feeling such a pain, we go to God and ask him why he let this pain on us. One of the most controversial topics is whether or not God intended for us to suffer. In early Christian thought, religion and life suffering was essential. They got through their suffering by striving from that weakness.

One of the first thoughts when thinking about Christianity or the New Testament is how Jesus suffered on the Cross. In Mark 8:31-38 Jesus foreshadows his own death and suffering. Jesus was temporarily abandoned by his followers (Mark 14:50), but when he died for our sins his followers surrounded him. In Mark 15:33-34 he is calling for God while he is on the cross he said “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” At this moment Jesus was left alone, no human on earth could come help and comfort him. His own father even abandoned him, leaving him nothing, but pain and tears. Jesus’ biggest suffering was the fact that he carried the burden of the sins of the world. He initially carried this agony in Gethsemane where he so intensely sweated out blood. In the end Jesus tasted death and suffered for us. It was that intense, that he literally died on the cross and suffered for us, his children that he loved so much. The Son of God, the one who was most deserving of life because he never sinned before died for all of us. In 1 Peter 3:18 it says that Christ died for all the sins and unjust, so that in the end he can bring us closer to God.

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The pain that is inflicted on you often reveals God’s purpose for you. He wants you to help others that are going through the same pain as you. In 2 Corinthians 1:4-6 he says, “… that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble.” What he means is, with our past experiences we can help people cope with their current experience that is similar to that of our past. This is called redemptive suffering. It’s when you go through a pain or problem that can benefit and help others. Jesus was the first to redemptively suffer by dying for our sins to help us forgive ourselves.

One question we all have is why does God this all-loving creature, allow for his children to suffer and feel evil? I think he did it to see us strive from the pain and suffering we feel. Suffering is a feeling we have from the beginning to the end of our life. Human suffering can take many forms: natural, moral, social, psychological, and physical. Suffering is an inescapable form we feel, and not many people liked to be in that state of suffering. Suffering usually occurs when you or a friend is in a state of aging, sickness, or death. When you suffer most is when you are hit by an unexpected action such as, a friend passing away at a young age, or a family member getting cancer. God loves us as his own, but he wants us to be able to go on with life even when we are suffering.

At first early followers of Jesus were shocked at what had happened to Jesus and felt a feeling of pain and suffering. Then with time it became clear to them that Jesus had been resurrected, and they used this knowledge to go on and preach his message to everyone. The story of Jesus’ resurrection brings a new name to Jesus Son of Man and the true messiah. He is then seen by his followers as much more than this. The news of Jesus resurrection spread fast amongst his followers. Traveling teachers and prophets went on to say that they needed to keep preaching Jesus’ message. Somehow the followers of Jesus needed to interpret how he was killed by Pontus Pilate and then resurrected by God. The followers turned to religion and the preaching’s of Christ to see if there was any indication of what to do next in the scriptures. John 3:16 speaks to the followers of Jesus and says anyone who believes in the word of God should not suffer, but have eternal life. This verse is saying the way to get full communion with God we need to excel in response to our pain and suffering.

A lot of times we suffer or feel some sort of depression it’s because of a love we feel for someone or something. Like previously said, you suffer when people die, age, or get sick and typically those people are ones you love. Love is the true answer as to “why” we suffer and feel pain. Romans 13:8-10 he says that you should love your neighbor, and that you can never pay back all the love you owe. God tries to tell us to replace the pain of envy and suffering by switching it with love and to love everyone. In 1 Peter 4:17-19 it even says that love is the source of sins and that it inflicts suffering on peoples lives.

God loves us as his children and doesn’t want to see us hurt, but given the evidence from the passages he intended for us to suffer. It’s not because he wants to see us in pain, but because he wants us to overcome the suffering. He knew that in the act of suffering we would excel in our future actions and gain strength from our suffering. We learn that the followers of Jesus suffer in his death but rejoice in his resurrection and look to fulfill his prophecy.

 

 

 

 

John 3:11-21 Analysis

The Gospel of John from 3:11-21 starts with Jesus talking to Nicodemus about truth. He says, “We speak of what we know.” I believe there is an emphasis on we in this statement because Jesus is referring to himself and his disciples. Some of the themes in this passage were the idea of truth and that what we speak is usually only of what we know unless there is a reliable source for hearsay. Truth is a theme that is brought up throughout the entire gospel of John. For example in John 8:31-32 Jesus says “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” This verse is very similar to the first verse from above in the sense that Jesus is saying we already know the truth we just have to believe in him and look past ourselves to find the truth. We can no longer question if Jesus is the Son of God; we have to believe that he is, so we can realize what he has done for us.

Jesus with Nicodemus
                  Jesus with Nicodemus

So who really is Nicodemus and why are we just now hearing about this guy? This is something I found very interesting, it is the first time we have heard about Nicodemus in all four of the Gospels. Nicodemus doesn’t get brought up until chapter three and he is apart of what is arguably the most known bible verse in the world; John 3:16. Nicodemus is a Pharisee and a leader of Jews. He comes to Jesus and says we know you are a descendant from God, we can tell because you are doing things that only God can do. However, Nicodemus is still questioning how Jesus can do these things. Jesus then says something like, why must you question my powers and me when you hear earthly powers such as the wind and know not of where that comes, but you don’t question that. In John 3:12-14 he is saying in order to be born and exist in the spiritual sense we need to discover and realize what the earthly sense has to offer. That’s why he challenged Nicodemus and asked him how he expected to understand the spiritual when he didn’t understand the earthly at all.

It then goes in to talk about how Jesus isn’t a normal man and that because he descended from God himself he will be lifted back into the heavens and will have eternal life. Something I found very interesting in this passage was John 3:14 when it is talking about the Son of Man being lifted up. I believe this is John’s way of foretelling two different stories. One of the stories is of Jesus death and him being lifted up on to the cross. And the other story is of Jesus being lifted up and resurrected from the dead giving him eternal life. Jesus then goes in to say how if you believe in him you will not only benefit from that, but you too will have eternal life just like Jesus does. Jesus is saying that by gaining eternal life you will not be like a god and live forever he is saying that you will create a spiritual life with God that continues after your death.

John 3:16 is showing how much love God had for the world. He had so much love that he sacrificed his only son to hold the power of taking away the sins of the world by dying for everyone and their sins. God didn’t send Jesus to punish him or anyone else; he sent Jesus because he loves everyone and wanted him or her to realize his or her sins were wrong. Jesus died saving us from our wrong doings so that we wouldn’t do it again. God says that the outcome of sinning is dying, and Jesus knows that we are all sinners that’s why he dies on the cross to erase our sins so we can all live in the spirit of him. Love is the essence of God throughout this entire gospel and brought up in other gospels such as Matthew (Matthew 5:43-48). Later in the gospel of John in verse 14:23-24 Jesus says if you do not believe in his love you will not receive the love from his father and by father he is referring to God. John believed that those who didn’t believe in Jesus or in God would soon be punished for that.

Light vs. Darkness
                              Light vs. Dark

Then he began to talk about lightness and darkness. I interpreted the light as the belief in God and Jesus the Son of God and Man. The light also represented truth, the same truth that was talked about in John 3:11. The darkness represented the non-believers and living in sin. In the end the light reveals that sin is wrong and that most people cant accept the light or the truth when it is revealed to them.

            One of the recurring themes that happen in this passage that also happened in other passages is the idea of Jesus the messiah. Messiah means, “anointed one.” That is exactly what Jesus is he is anointed from God’s word and thoughts. In this passage he delivers the message of eternal life, truth verses sinning, love from God and himself, and the idea of having a belief in God that can lead to nothing but good things.