Though a man of sorrow, He was even on earth anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows. Does this seem strange?… Shall we wonder that there was divine gladness in the heart of Him who came into this world not by constraint but willingly, not with a burning sense of wrong but with a grateful sense of high privilege, and that He had a blessed consciousness of fellowship with His Father who sent Him, during the whole of His pilgrimage through this vale of tears?
Christ’s followers cannot expect better treatment in the world than their Master had.
Jesus is the pioneer [when suffering]. His passion began with sorrow, betrayal, and abandonment: “Father, let this cup pass from me.” The silence of a lamb before its shearers. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” “I am thirsty.” This sufferer loved His enemies, as we are called to do. “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” “Woman, behold your son…Behold your mother.” It wrapped up in commitment and hope: “It is finished.” “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Oh, Son of Man, I know not which to admire most, Thine height of glory, or Thy depths of misery!
The real sting of suffering is not misfortune itself, nor even the pain of it or the injustice of it, but the apparent God-forsakenness of it. Pain is endurable, but the seeming indifference of God is not…We think of Him as an armchair spectator, almost gloating over the world’s suffering, and enjoying His own insulation from it. It is this terrible caricature of God that the cross smashes to smithereens.
Taken from Cross of Christ by John Stott. Copyright(c) 1986. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515, p. 329. www.ivpress.com. http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=3320.