Summary: Christians have a problem with suffering that non-Christians don’t have. Christianity proclaims that God is love and that He loves the whole world. But, if this is true, why does He permit undeserved suffering?
May 1, 2003
Title: The Mystery of Pain and Suffering
Text: “And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?”
Scripture Reading: Luke 13:1-5
Some people see no mystery about the problem of suffering.
They believe that suffering is the result of an unavoidable law that every cause produces an effect.
They would reason that suffering is due to some great sin the sufferer has committed.
However, Christians have a problem with suffering that non-Christians don’t have.
Christianity proclaims that God is love and that He loves the whole world.
But, if this is true, why does He permit undeserved suffering?
If God loves, and He has all power, then He should protect us from pain and suffering.
Some have sought to solve this problem by saying that those who suffer have been guilty of some sin and have brought God’s judgment on themselves.
This simplistic solution to a complex question is unsatisfactory and incorrect.
Between our entrance into life and our exit from life, we experience many kinds of pain and suffering: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, visible, invisible, recognized, and unrecognized.
Many suffer because of natural disasters.
Many suffer because of historical events and decisions that were made in the past.
Many suffer because of choices made by their ancestors.
We must also recognize that much suffering comes to us because of our personal choices and the choices of others.
But what I want to know is, “What does Jesus teach about pain and suffering? Does Jesus have any good news for those who suffer?”
The answers are in God’s Word.
Let’s look at what the Bible has to say on this subject, and let’s begin our study by reading our text; Luke 13:1-5.
There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
We see from our text that Jesus rejected the thought that all suffering came from God.
Jesus lived in a time when people were making false diagnosis of the problems they confronted in daily life.
Because they believed that sin resulted in suffering and that God was a just God who would punish the wicked, they reasoned that all suffering was due to God’s anger.
The end result of this incorrect way of thinking served to deprive believers of the comfort and encouragement they needed in times of weakness, pain, and insecurity.
John 11 records that Jesus wept in sorrow when Mary and Martha were grief stricken over the death of their brother, Lazarus.