Tag Archives: suffering

Matthew 17

17 Feb

Matthew 17:22 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. 23They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

Sometimes it feels confusing to be a follower of Jesus. Life can be full of disappointments and questions. Apparently this isn’t a 21st century thing but a 1st century thing as well. Jesus announces that he is going to be betrayed (later we would find it is one of them) and will be executed. Of course this is bad new and there should be grief accompanied by sadness. But Jesus also announced that he would be raised back to life. Shouldn’t that grief also hold hands with joy/hope?

Apparently not. The grid for the understanding of the Jewish Messiah/Christ was one of power and victory. The Messiah/Christ would come and destroy God’s enemies which just happened to be Israel’s enemies and set up an eternal kingdom of shalom. Death wasn’t really an option. A dead Messiah was a failed Messiah. Because the Messiah would be defined by victory over the enemy. This is the world view of the first followers of Jesus.

So while Jesus mentions resurrection all they can hear is death.

Paul says that God works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). Not that all things that happen are good but all things God can use for good.

There are a lot of terrible moments in life and unbearable things that I’ve heard others go through that it is almost unimaginable how God could use this for good.

It is often difficult to hear words of resurrection in moments that feel like crucifixion.

Lent, the season that begins tonight with Ash Wednesday, is a time that the church dwells on this. That Jesus entered time and history and felt pain, sorrow and anguish that we all feel and comes through the other side through the resurrection. Lent is called the Bright Sadness because it is a time that we remember the sufferings of Jesus but we always frame them within the context of the resurrection.

Lent is a time of acknowledging that we experience Friday moments in life (the crucifixion) but we know that Sunday is coming (the resurrection).

Matthew 11

11 Feb

Matthew 11:2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b]are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

What do you do when Jesus disappoints you? Novelist Peter Devries says that the problem of pain is like a question mark turned upside down like a fishing hook into the human heart. John the Baptist proclaims in Matthew 3 that the kingdom of God is breaking in through an individual named Jesus. The kingdom of God was supposed to be about restoring and renewing everything that was broken. I think that John’s assumption had to be that when Jesus showed up that the world that he experienced at least would be better.

His got worse. John the Baptist called out Herod Antipas because Herod Antipas fell in love with his brothers wife Herodias. So Herod Antipas divorced his wife and Herodius divorced her husband. John called this out as sketchy. He probably used a much stronger word than sketchy. And for that he was thrown in prison.

So John doubts. In pain we can’t help but have doubts. Was Jesus really the one? Did I really give myself to the right cause?

Jesus responds, “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b]are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

He quotes from Isaiah 61 which describes what will happen when the Messiah/Christ/King arrives.

His answer is yes, I am the king that you have been waiting for and you are not going to make it out of prison…”blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

At his second coming Jesus will set all things right. All the pain, injustice and sorrow will be reversed. In the world of Tolkien and Froddo Baggins, “everything sad will become untrue.”

And in the midst of difficulties and sufferings I think that Jesus calls us to signs and displays that the kingdom is very active and growing and working and to let those things protect our hearts when we are going through difficult times.

Quotable Quotes-The Reason for God

27 Mar

The Reason for God-Tim Keller
Chapter 2: How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?

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For many people it is not the exclusivity of Christianity that poses the biggest problem, it is the presence of evil and suffering in the world. Some find unjust suffering to be a philosophical problem, calling into question the very existence of God. For others it is an intensely personal issue.p22

In December 2004, a massive tsunami killed more than 250,000 people around the rim of the Indian Ocean…One reporter wrote: “If God is God, he’s not good. If God is good, he’s not God. You can’t have it both ways, especially after the Indian Ocean catastrophe.”

Many other philosophers have identified a major flaw in this reasoning. Tucked away within the assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil is a hidden premise, namely, that if evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless.p23

But wait, there’s more!