Summary: To share that the road to greatness always passes through suffering.
A man found a cocoon of the emperor moth and took it home to watch it emerge. One day a small opening appeared, and for several hours the moth struggled but couldn't seem to force its body past a certain point.
Deciding something was wrong, the man took scissors and snipped the remaining bit of cocoon. The moth emerged easily, its body large and swollen, the wings small and shriveled.
He expected that in a few hours the wings would spread out in their natural beauty, but they did not. Instead of developing into a creature free to fly, the moth spent its life dragging around a swollen body and shriveled wings.
The constricting cocoon and the struggle necessary to pass through the tiny opening are God's way of forcing fluid from the body into the wings. The "merciful" snip was, in reality, cruel. Sometimes the struggle is exactly what we need.
When we think of struggle, we think of suffering; going through tough times. This is part of being a Christian and we need to realize that going through such times will bring us to greatness.
To understand Suffering we first need to go back to the One who suffered the most for us as Christians to get a feeling of what suffering really is.
(Isaiah 53:3-6) 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Let’s start this morning off by looking at,…
I. The Example of Jesus' Suffering
A. Jesus was crucified; he died; he rose. This is the foundation of our faith. We also need to think of the suffering that Jesus has endured.
1. Those who have seen the movie “The Passion” witnessed the suffering that He went through rather than just reading of it in scripture. I’m not saying this should be our strongest image of Jesus; I think of the empty cross and of the empty tomb that are the greater images. But His suffering was real and important.
- We need to Grasp the Suffering that Jesus went through.
- A man scourged, bleeding and hanging on a cross under the sun, so desperately dehydrated that the thirst itself would be part of the torture. I think of this and it is so very difficult for me to actually grasp the suffering that Jesus went through.
- Can you think of a time in your life that could possibly come close to what Jesus went through, the suffering that we go through in our lives can’t come close to that of Jesus’?
2. Jesus knew the suffering that He would have to experience before it took place.
- We think of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane to be one of intense spiritual, emotional, and even physical pain. We read in Luke 22:44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
- Like any person, Jesus was tormented by the thought of what He was to experience. In the book of Matthew before Jesus was arrested He said to the three disciples with Him, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” and prayed to the Father, “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as you will”
Illustration: I remember years ago, the Army had told me that I would be leaving for war. I didn’t know the exact date but I knew that I would be leaving soon. As the days passed by, the thoughts of what I was to experience was at times un-bearable but I knew that it was my job. I prayed daily, “Lord, I pray that this war does not happen and that peace will take over and keep us from going into battle.” I knew that it was not by my will but by God’s will if it were to happen or not.
- Jesus knew His purpose on earth and was ready to do His job. Have you ever experienced something in your life that you prayed would not happen? Maybe as you sit in your seat today, you are dreading something that is coming your way. We often wonder why we go through times that bring suffering.