From Suffering to Glory
Isaiah 53:5-8; Luke 24:25-27, 44-47
Parents, other family members, and friends continue to face unspeakable suffering as they watch and wait while divers search for bodies in the sunken ferry Sewol in the cold waters of the Yellow Sea off South Korea's southwest coast. At this writing, 87 people have been confirmed dead, and 215 others remain missing. Many of these are Seoul-area high school students and their teachers who were on a field trip. While some still hold out hope that their relatives will be found alive in an air pocket in the sunken vessel, as days pass and more bodies are pulled from the cold waters, that possibility grows more remote. The suffering of family members is exacerbated by the fact that investigators and experts believe that the ferry captain's actions caused the ferry to sink, and had he followed proper procedure, more people could have been rescued. "The ferry captain has been charged with abandoning his boat, negligence, causing bodily injury, not seeking rescue from other ships and violating 'seamen's law,' " according to South Korean media.*
People around the world are captivated by news reports of this and other tragedies that result in human suffering. Regardless of the circumstances, the suffering of another person reminds us that we, too, are vulnerable. It easily could have been us, we realize. Suffering is part of the human experience.
With the events of Passion Week and Jesus' suffering on our behalf still in our minds, we are reminded that unlike the accidents and tragedies that result in human suffering, Jesus chose to suffer and chose the path that led him there. Jesus did not forego any part of the human experience, including suffering the horrible death of crucifixion. However, Jesus' suffering was not the end of the story. As he told his followers after his resurrection, "This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem" (Luke 24:46-47). Because Jesus suffered on our behalf, we can boldly proclaim hope in the midst of despair. We have a Savior "who shares our sorrow, has borne our sin, has paid the price, and has taken the violence and brokenness of the world upon himself so that we might experience redemption by his blood" (Adult Bible Studies, Kevin Baker, Spring 2014, pages 65-66).
- When have you or someone close to you faced a situation that resulted in suffering that seemed too great to bear? What were the circumstances? How did you respond? How did your faith sustain you during this time?
- How does Jesus' suffering give you hope? How does it affect your worship of God?
- How does it help you to read the story of Jesus' suffering and death in light of the suffering servant passages in Isaiah? What new insights does doing this give you?
Adult Bible Studies Help for This Sunday