In Hebrews 12:3, when our Beloved LORD GOD says “for consider HIM WHO has endured such hostility by sinners against HIMSELF,” HE is telling us to gain understanding, by thinking about how our Precious LORD JESUS CHRIST persisted despite such hatred against HIMSELF from ungodly men. By doing this, when we undergo trials, tribulations and persecutions in this life; we will not grow fatigued in our minds, and lack the courage or lose the will to obey HIM. In John 15:20, HE forewarned us “remember the word that I said to you, ‘a slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted ME, they will also persecute you; if they kept MY WORD, they will keep yours also.”
In this sixth and final part of our study in Hebrews 12:1-3, we will carefully study the different ways our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST suffered hostility from ungodly men, and how HE endured until the end.
When many people think about how CHRIST suffered, they usually only consider the illegal Jewish trial of the *Sanhedrin the night before HIS crucifixion (Mat 26:31-68), and the Gentile trials (Herod-Luk 23:6-12, Luk 23:15 and Pilate-Luk 23:1-5, Luk 23:13-25) the day of HIS crucifixion (Mat 27:1-56). In this study, we will definitely look at the suffering of our Beloved LORD JESUS in the final hours of HIS earthly life, but we will also consider HIS sufferings during HIS ministry (Isa 53:3-4).
The night before our Precious SAVIOR JESUS was crucified, HE suffered severely, both emotionally and physically. The physician Luke (Col 4:14), the writer of Luke and Acts, carefully describes the severe emotional state of our Beloved SAVIOR in the garden of gethsemane. Luke cited four indicators of our SAVIOR’s extreme emotional suffering (Luk 22:41-44):
1) An angel from heaven appeared to HIM, strengthening HIM (Luk 22:43, Isa 41:10). Literally and angel from heaven came and made himself visible to our Precious LORD JESUS, increasing the strength of GOD’s only begotten SON to complete the tasks set before HIM, in the last critical hours of HIS earthly life.
2) HE was in agony (Luk 22:44). The English word “agony” was transliterated from the Greek word “agoonia” (NT:74) and it means to be in a state of severe emotional strain and anguish.
3) HE prayed very fervently (Luk 22:44). HE prayed with intentness of mind. HIS thoughts were not wandering, they were focused and earnest.
4) HIS sweat became like drops of blood (Luk 22:44). HE was experiencing hematidrosis, a very rare condition which occurs under extreme physical or emotional stress.
Our Beloved CHRIST was taken from the garden of gethsemane (Mat 26:36, Jhn 18:26) by a large group of Roman soldiers and officers of the chief priest and Pharisees (Jhn 18:3) to the illegal Jewish trials of the Sanhedrin. In these trials HE suffered severe physical injury. Our Beloved SAVIOR was first taken to Annas, a former Jewish high priest and father-in-law of the current Jewish high priest Caiaphas (Luk 3:1-2, Jhn 18:12-24). During HIS questioning by Annas, HE was struck in the face by one of the officers of the chief priests and Pharisees (Jhn 18:19-23). During HIS questioning by Caiaphas, where the scribes and the elders were also gathered (Mat 26:57), the men who were holding our Beloved SAVIOR in custody, spat in HIS face, slapped HIS face, blindfolded HIM, beat HIM with their fists, tore out HIS beard, and mocked HIM (Isa 50:6-7, Mat 26:64-68, Mrk 14:65, Luk 22:63-65). By the time HE was delivered to Pilate the next morning, the day of HIS crucifixion (Mat 27:1-2), HE had been kept up all night, and was already swollen, bruised and bloodied from HIS severe beatings the night before.
On the day our SAVIOR was crucified HE endured a beating by the Roman soldiers so vicious that HE was not even recognizable (Isa 52:14). To fully understand how ruthless this beating was; blood vessels were ruptured, muscles were sliced through, flesh was ripped from HIS body and hung in shreds. This savage beating, caused HIM to lose a massive amount of blood. After the violent beating by the Roman soldiers, they then sadistically twisted together a crown of thorns and drove it into HIS scalp. And like the officers of the Jews they mocked HIM, spat on HIM, and began to beat HIS head with a reed, driving the crown of thorns deeper (Mat 27:27-31, Mrk 15:16-19). By the time HE was led away to be crucified HE had lost at least 20% of HIS blood, which put HIM into hypovolemic shock. HE was unable to carry HIS own cross to the execution site (Mrk 15:16-23). A detailed account of what our Beloved SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST suffered, can be found online in an article first published in Arizona Medicine, March 1965. This article written by Dr. C. Truman Davis is titled “The Crucifixion of JESUS CHRIST, A medical explanation of what JESUS endured the day HE died.” I cannot even begin to comprehend the love of our GOD, that HE would willingly become flesh (Mat 1:21-23, Act 20:28, Heb 10:4-7), to endure such horrific suffering so we could be saved from ours sins.
Our Precious JESUS CHRIST not only suffered severely in the final hours of HIS earthly life, but HE also suffered throughout HIS ministry (Isa 49:7, Isa 53:3, Psa 69:7). From the very beginning Satan tried to entice HIM to sin through temptation (Mat 4:1-11, Luk 4:1-13, Heb 2:18, Heb 4:15); HE was constantly tested (Mat 22:15-22, Mrk 8:11-13, Luk 10:25-37) and persecuted by religious men (Psa 109:1-5, Jhn 15:20-25, Mat 9:9-13, Mat 9:32-34, Mat 12:2, Mat 12:9-14-please note in the Scriptures highlighted in blue the different places these religious men followed our JESUS CHRIST in order to harass and persecute HIM); Many rejected HIS message (Mat 11:20-24, Jhn 6:41-66, Jhn 12:36-50); Several times the Jews attempted to kill HIM for blasphemy (Luk 4:16-30, Jhn 7:1, Jhn 8:31-59); HE was estranged from HIS own relatives (Psa 69:8, Mat 13:53-58, Mrk 3:20-21, Jhn 7:2-10).
Our Beloved LORD GOD has told us, HIS faithful followers, serving HIM would not be easy. HE told us “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of GOD.” (Acts 14:22). HE also told us “indeed, all who desire to live godly in CHRIST JESUS will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12). And we must daily, deny self, take up our cross and follow HIM (Mat 10:37-39, Luk 9:23-25, Luk 14:25-33).
Why does considering the suffering of JESUS, help me to endure as a Christian? First, by reflecting on how much HE suffered for us, we are given assurance of HIS love and concern (Jhn 15:13, Rom 5:8, Rom 8:38-39). Second, HE understands our suffering (Heb 2:17-18, Heb 4:14-16) so HE is there to intercede and strengthen us (Rom 8:34-37, Heb 7:24-25, Heb 9:24, 2 Ths 3:3, 2 Tim 4:17-18, 1 Pet 5:6-11). Third, HIS perfect example of trusting ABBA FATHER in the midst of adversity, encourages us to do the same. Knowing that our Beloved LORD GOD is:
Omniscient, very aware of what we are going through (Job 34:21-23, Psa 139:1-6, Heb 4:13, 1 Jhn 3:20)
Omnipresent, will not leave us alone in our suffering (Psa 46:1, Psa 139:7-10, Psa 145:18, Heb 13:5-6)
Omnipotent, there is nothing too difficult for HIM (Jer 32:17, Mat 19:26, Mrk 10:27, Luk 1:37)
And when we fully grasp that HIS eyes are continually upon those who love HIM, to strongly support them (2 Chr 16:9), we are able to trust that HE will never abandon or forsake us (1 Sam 12:22, Psa 94:14), which allows us to rest in HIM (Mat 11:28-29, Isa 32:17). It is within this rest (Psa 46:10) we will come to understand WHO HE is (Psa 100:3, Jhn 10:14, Act 20:28) and realize, our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST:
Never lost focus on eternal matters (Mrk 8:31-33, Jhn 9:4-5, Jhn 18:36-38, Jhn 19:7-11), so we must not lose focus on eternal matters (2 Cor 4:16-18, Col 3:1-3, Heb 11:13-16)
Was always obedient (Jhn 5:30, Jhn 6:38, Jhn 8:29) to the very end (Luk 22:42, Jhn 19:28-30), so we must be obedient to the very end (Mat 24:12-13, Jhn 14:15, Jhn 14:23-24, 1 Jhn 5:2-3)
Never returned evil for evil (Isa 53:7, 1 Pet 2:23), so we must never return evil for evil (Rom 12:17, 1 Ths 5:15, 1 Pet 3:8-9)
Entrusted HIMSELF to our Beloved LORD GOD (1 Pet 2:21-23), as we must entrust ourselves to HIM (1 Pet 4:19)
For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you
Truly, truly, I say to you
A slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than The ONE who sent him
* The Sanhedrin was the highest court and council of the ancient Jewish nation. It had both religious and civil functions. It was abolished with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD (Luk 19:41-44, Mat 23:37-39, Luk 13:33-35).