JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 15

THE SUFFERINGS OF JESUS

“The Heidelberg Catechism says that Christ sustained the anger of God against the sin of His people ‘during his whole life on earth, but especially at the end’ (Q&A 37).”1

“One who is the Creator of the universe lived His life on the same plane ours is lived, passed through the same trials we experience, and suffered not only as we do, but far more acutely.”2

A large boulder on the seashore takes the full force of each wave, while small rocks and pebbles move back and forth with the waves. JESUS took the full brunt of resistance against Him (for He never sinned), while we move back and forth with sin making it not as severe as the suffering of JESUS.

He was made perfect ‘through suffering’ (Heb 2:10). Therefore we should see all the hardship and suffering that comes to us in life as something that God brings to us to do us good, strengthening our trust in him and our obedience, and ultimately increasing our ability to glorify him.3

The suffering of JESUS consisted of two reasons: (1) He suffered because He was the Son of GOD and spoke Truth and lived it out (Matt 4:17) and (2) He suffered because He was the Son of Man and tempted to sin but did not (Heb 2:18).

Scripture speaks of two kinds of suffering Christians experience: (1) We will suffer as JESUS suffered by unholy men because we speak Truth and live it out (Acts 4:1-3) and (2) we will suffer because we are mere men; we’re tempted to sin, and succumb to it (1 John 1:8).

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12 ESV).

The indwelling of Christ in the believer is a kind of second incarnation of the Son of God. When Christ enters the heart of a poor sinner, He once more clothes Himself with our nature. The life Christ lived in the days of His time on earth was a life of sorrow, of conflict, of temptation, of desertion, of want and of suffering in every form. Does He now live a different life in the believer? No; He is still tempted and deserted, in sorrow and in want, in humiliation and in suffering—in His people. Did you think that these fiery darts were leveled at you? Did you suppose that you were deserted, you suffered, you were despised, you were trodden under foot? No, it was Christ dwelling in you. All the cruelty of Satan, all the power of sin and all the contempt of the world are leveled, not against you, but against the Lord dwelling in you.4

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ENDNOTES

(15) JESUS, You Suffered

1. “The Sufferings of Christ,” Ligonier Ministries, 17 June 2021 https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/the-suffering-of-christ/.

            2. A.W. Pink, “Commentary on Hebrews 2,” A.W. Pink’s Commentary on John and Hebrews, 9 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/awp/hebrews-2.html.

            3. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994) 812.

            4. Octavius Winslow, Evening Thoughts (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2005) November 7th.

            5. John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: THE BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST, 1960, reprinted 1990) 82.

            6. “ . . . ‘Sing aloud with gladness . . . and raise shouts . . . proclaim, give praise, and say, . . .” (Jeremiah 31:7).

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 14

THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS

“[H]e was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Matt 7:29 ESV). “The people were astonished at Jesus’ teaching. In contrast to their rabbis, who merely cited the opinions of other rabbis, Jesus’ teachings had inherent authority, the authority of God himself.”1

“Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15 ESV).

The kingdom of God is the central theme in Jesus’s teaching. Jesus taught that the kingdom of God had come, and that he, as the incarnate and divine Lord, was its ruler. This kingdom challenged the standards of the kingdoms of men and called its citizens to live in radically different ways.2

“[T]here is no teaching of Christ contained in all four Gospels [w]ith one exception. Only one verse of teaching is to be found in all four Gospels.”3

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt10:39 ESV).

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35 ESV).

“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it” (Luke 17:33 ESV).

And John records the same teaching during JESUS’ final week before His crucifixion: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25 ESV).

“This was a principle that He had taught [His followers] on at least three separate occasions previously. Obviously it was very important.”4

This paradoxical saying reveals an important spiritual truth: those who pursue a life of ease, comfort, and acceptance by the world will not find eternal life. On the other hand, those who give up their lives for the sake of Christ and the gospel will find it.6

“Lose your life. Hate your life. This was the foremost and most-repeated word of our Master.”5 And, what does “losing your life” look like? “[It’s] when God has more of your heart than any creature in the world has.“7

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ENDNOTES

(14) JESUS Teaches

            1. ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition: 2011) 1958.

            2. Benjamin L. Merkle, “The Teachings of Jesus,” 2021, The Gospel Coalition, 5 February 2021 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/the-teachings-of-jesus-2/.

            3. Bob Sorge, “Jesus’ Most Common Teaching,” 3 November 2014, Bob Sorge, 5 February 2021 http://bobsorge.com/2014/11/jesus-most-common-teaching/.

            4. Thomas Constable, “Commentary on John 12:25,” 2012, Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable, 6 February 2021, brackets mine https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/12-25.html.

            5. Bob Sorge, “Jesus’ Most Common Teaching,” 3 November 2014, Bob Sorge, 5 February 2021 http://bobsorge.com/2014/11/jesus-most-common-teaching/.

6. John MacArthur, One Perfect Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012) 228.

            7. Jeremiah Burroughs, Gospel Worship (Orlando, FL: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2006) 77.

            8. Matthew 5:21-48.

            9. “And he marveled because of their unbelief. . . .” (Mark 6:6 ESV).

            10. “And he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” (Luke 7:48 ESV).

            11. “The LORD God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word . . .” (Isaiah 50:4 ESV).

            12. Bob Sorge, “Jesus’ Most Common Teaching,” 3 November 2014, Bob Sorge, 5 February 2021 http://bobsorge.com/2014/11/jesus-most-common-teaching/.

            13. “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25 ESV).

            14. Jeremiah Burroughs, Gospel Worship (Orlando, FL: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2006) 77.

            15. “The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor . . .” (Isaiah 61:1 ESV).

            16. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4 ESV).

            17. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves . . .” (Matthew 10:16 ESV).

            18. “The world . . . hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil” (John 7:7 ESV).

            19. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden . . .” (Matthew 11:28 ESV).

            20. “ . . . I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29 ESV).

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 13

THE COMPASSION OF JESUS

There is no end to grief. Sin destroys. Israel’s history is recorded in the Old Testament—her history of suffering from sin, but the discourses always end in this likeness: “[A] throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness one who is swift to do righteousness”(Isa 16:5 ESV). Now the righteous One has come—in compassion.

“[T]he coming of the kingdom of God was being seen in works of mercy. It was in the compassion of Christ that this great transforming impact was being felt throughout the world”1

Synonyms for “compassion” are: care, concern, tenderheartedness, mercy, and empathy. “Empathy is the ability to experience the feelings of another person. It goes beyond sympathy, which is caring and understanding for the suffering of others.”2 Compassion equals empathy.

In the synagogue at Nazareth JESUS read from the Old Testament the declaration of His compassion (Luke 4:16-19): “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound”(Isa 61:1 ESV).

All the gospels record events where the Lord’s compassion is demonstrated: “Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand” (Mark 1:41 ESV). “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her”(Luke 7:13 ESV). “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them”(Matt 9:36 ESV). “Jesus wept”(John 11:35 ESV).

‘He was moved with compassion.’ [F]or he took upon himself our infirmities, and was made like unto ourselves. Matchless pity, indeed, was this!  He took our sicknesses and carried our sorrows: he proved himself a true brother, with quick, human sensibilities. A tear brought a tear into his eye; a cry made him pause to ask what help he could render.3

It is not the sad seeking for joy, but rather Joy seeking the sad; not emptiness seeking fullness, but rather Fullness seeking emptiness. And it is not merely that He supplies our need, but He becomes Himself the fulfillment of our need. He is ever ‘I am that which My people need.’4

Our Lord attached Himself to the woes of our nature; [i]t was necessary that our Lord, in order to sympathize fully with His people, should not only identify Himself with their nature, but also in some degree with their peculiar circumstances. He never instructs them to walk in a path that His own feet have not trod first and left their impressions.5

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ENDNOTES

(13) Shout for Joy

            1. Alistair Begg, “Compassionate Shepherd,” 30 July 2008, Truth for Life, The Bible-Teaching Ministry of Alistair Begg, 3 February 2021 https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/compassionate-shepherd/.

            2. “Empathy vs. Sympathy,” Diffen, 3 February 2021 https://www.diffen.com/difference/Empathy_vs_Sympathy.

            3. Charles Spurgeon, “The Compassion of Jesus, A Sermon (3438),” 24 December 1914, The Spurgeon Archive, 3 February 2021 https://archive.spurgeon.org/sermons/3438.php.

            4. Roy and Revel Hession, We Would See Jesus (Fort Washington, PA: CLC Publications, 1958, 2010) 41.

            5. Octavius Winslow, Evening Thoughts (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2005) July 31st.

            6. “Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted” (Isaiah 49:13 ESV).

            7. Frank Ellsworth Graeff, and Joseph Lincoln Hall, “Does Jesus Care,” 1901, Hymnary, 3 February 2021 https://hymnary.org/text/does_jesus_care_when_my_heart_is_pained.

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 12

THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS

“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and immediately was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”1

God Himself is never the agent of temptation but here—as in the book of Job—God uses even satanic tempting to serve His sovereign purposes. Jesus confronted Satan and took the first step toward overthrowing his evil kingdom. Christ was tempted in all points; Satan tempted Him with ‘the lust of the flesh’ (Matt. 4:2-3); ’the lust of the eyes’ (Matt. 4:8-9); ‘and the pride of life’ (Matt. 4:5-6).2

“The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ was tempted in every respect as we are.”3

“[P]resenting Himself for baptism, Jesus fulfilled righteousness. When He later allowed Himself to be driven into the wilderness to be tempted, it was so that His righteousness could be tried.”4

God withdrew from His Son the consciousness of His presence, and Jesus was exposed to all the forces of hell. All the religious questions Satan is capable of suggesting were thrown at our Lord and Saviour. The temptation of Jesus would not have been real had it not contained the possibility of failure.5 

He could not in any way seek to use His powers to prevent His facing up to the Father’s will and the world’s sufferings. His powers must not be used simply for Himself. They were a trust from God, not a personal power bank. They must be used only in accordance with His direction.6

We should note the use which our Lord made of Scripture: in his hour of trial he did not look to visions and voices and special revelation for guidance, but used the written Word. [I]n the conflict of temptation he did not defend himself by his own divine wisdom, but used that wisdom which God had revealed to all Israel through his prophets. Jesus fought as a man and used that weapon given to man. Jesus used the Scripture as authority. Jesus permitted Satan neither to question nor pervert the Scripture.7

“The human task of thinking about God on the basis of his Word is the place where God ‘grants understanding.’ It is a gift. (Prov 2:2-6).”8

It is the book of the world, because He inspired it who formed the world,—who made all nations of one blood,—and knows man’s common nature. It is the book for every heart, because He dictated it who alone knows all hearts, and what all hearts require. It is the book of God.9

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ENDNOTES

(12) JESUS Tempted

            1. John MacArthur, One Perfect Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012) 74.

            2. MacArthur.

            3. Bob Mumford, The Purpose of Temptation (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1973) 106.

4. Mumford, 107-108.

            5. Mumford, 106.

            6. Peter Pett, “Commentary on Matthew 4:4,” 2013, Peter Pett’s Commentary on the Bible, 3 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pet/matthew-4.html.

            7. J.W. McGarvey and Phillip Y. Pendleton, “Commentary on Matthew 4:4,” 1914, The Fourfold Gospel, 3 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/4-4.html#verse-tfg.

            8. John Piper, The Pleasures of God (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1991, 2000) 285.

            9. J.C. Ryle, Foundations of Faith (South Plainfield, NJ: Bridge Publishing, Inc., 1987) 13.

            10. “. . . the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’” Matthew 4:8-9 ESV.

            11. Kenneth Baker, ed., The NIV Study Bible, Luke 2:42, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995) 1442.

            12. Bob Mumford, The Purpose of Temptation (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1973) 115-116.

            13. “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool . . . ” (Proverbs 28:26 ESV).

            14. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, “Commentary on Matthew 4:4,” 1871-8, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible – Unabridged, 3 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/4-4.html#verse-jfu.

            15. Paul E. Kretzmann, “Commentary on Matthew 4:4,” 1921-23, Kretzmann’s Popular Commentary, 3 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/4-4.html#verse-kpc.

            16. William Burkitt, “Commentary on Matthew 4:4,” 1700-03, Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament, 3 February 3 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/4-4.html#verse-wbc.

            17. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (NY, NY: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1935, Fifty-fifth printing) 261.

            18. Albert Barnes, “Commentary on Matthew 4:4,” 1870, Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible, 3 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/4-4.html#verse-bnb.