Matt 26:36, 42-50, 57-59, 66-68; 27:26-31, 41-46

Ps 22:1-18

CJM  I wondered if, this afternoon, we could be occupied with the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. This is not an intellectual exercise. We have read quite a few Scriptures; we probably know these chapters, and others which refer to this subject, quite well; I would like us to see these from a very personal point of view. I believe that if we were to conclude this gathering with a real sense of knowledge about the Lord’s sufferings – what the Lord went through for each one of us – we would be drawn to Him in affection. He is the One Who suffered not only in obedience to God, but also on our behalf. If this causes us to draw close to the Lord Jesus afresh, then the exercise this afternoon will have been worthwhile.

We probably all know the details of the Lord’s sufferings in these closing stages of His pathway leading to the Cross, but I would like us to think again about them today, and to do so – I stress – from a personal point of view: to see what they mean to us.

I thought we could look at the Lord’s sufferings from the point of view of His suffering for righteousness’ sake, and then perhaps look at the sufferings from the point of view of sin. These are the sort of phrases that we often use, or similar ones, and before going further I would like to clarify them so that we all have the same understanding as to what they might mean.

My understanding, quite simply, is that the Lord’s suffering for the sake of righteousness means that He was the righteous One – He was the sinless One – but at the hands of wicked men, who represent you and me, He suffered the dreadful atrocity of the Crucifixion.

And then He suffered on account of sin. I am not sure what we can say about that, suffering at the hands of God – made sin.

Finally, if we have time, we could speak about our own suffering as believers.

I just thought that we could look at these Scriptures and be touched as we go into some detail as to what it meant to the Lord Jesus. My hope was that, whilst we have read from Matthew and then the Psalms, we could perhaps just speak about them both together as complementing each other. The Gospels give us the outline of the story, the witness of what happened, and the Psalms, as many of the Old Testament Scriptures do, tend to fill in on the detail of what it actually meant to the Lord Jesus to go this way.

GNW  I think that is something that can be very profitable for us. Psalm 22 is an amazing psalm. I think we get the sufferings of the Lord Jesus set forward there in a feeling way. I have often felt that, in reading the Gospels, we are in danger of overlooking how some of the events affected Jesus. But the Psalms, as we go through them, especially Psalm 22, show us really the feelings of Jesus, I think. And I think that beginning, as you have, with Gethsemane would help on the same line.

CJM  Yes, I think that is good. The Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – make excellent witnesses. They do not embellish; they do not really give their opinion. John, once he finishes his Gospel, passes an opinion – he says, “There are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they were written one by one, I suppose that not even the world itself would contain the books written” (John 21:25). But apart from that, they stick very close to what actually happened. We could read them quite dispassionately. But once we get to the Old Testament, think of Isaiah, some of the chapters there that are well known. In chapters 52 and 53, we get the depth of what it actually meant to the Lord Jesus to go the way that He did. And we – assuming that we are all here as believers – should be greatly affected by that as well. I challenge myself as to how often I actually think about the Lord’s sufferings and what they mean to me personally.

GNW  You referred to suffering for righteousness’ sake, and we see in Matthew as we see in other books how they tried hard to find something against Jesus, and they could not.

CJM  Yes. It highlights the righteous nature of the Lord Jesus. You think of the whole life – three and a half years in the glare of the public. We think of people in the glare of the public, and the cameras, today. Walk through this world, and it is not long before the press can dig up some dirt that might stick, creating tomorrow’s headlines. But after three and a half years of walking in a public way they could not find two witnesses that would agree on any sort of evidence against the Lord. It highlights the nature of His absolute righteousness. I think we struggle to grasp that, because we deal with men, and ourselves, on a daily basis, who are not righteous by nature. But to think this was the first Person that stood before Caiaphas, the first Person that stood before Pilate, Who was absolutely sin apart!

AJM  Does the fact that He enters into prayer in this section in Gethsemane show the depth of what He was anticipating, both at man’s hand and at God’s hand? He speaks of His soul being “very sorrowful even unto death” (Matt 26:38). Does the fact that He pours this out in the presence of His Father show the awfulness of what was on His spirit in anticipation?

CJM  Yes. I think, for myself, that sometimes we struggle to realise what this meant for the Lord. The verse you quote here – we did not read it – says, “Even unto death.” The depth of horror that faced the Lord Jesus! And yet, that is what He came into this world for. It is important for us to note that despite this, despite the awfulness of what lay before Him, He continued on that path right to the very end. No detail was omitted, and we have benefited from that.

DW  Thinking on that line, you started in verse 36, but in verse 2 of this chapter the Lord felt all that was coming, the coming events. In verse 2 He says, “The Son of Man is delivered up to be crucified,” and in verse 12 He says, “She has done it for My burying,” and in verse 21 He says, “One of you shall deliver Me up.” So His heart was full of the coming events.

CJM  Yes, and do you think as well, that when He was on the Mount of Transfiguration, He was discussing with Moses and Elias the details of His departure (Luke 9:31)? It was something that loomed before the Lord. We often speak about the shadow of the Cross – if we think of what that means, every step that He carried out was made in the knowledge that He was going to be given up to wicked men, and of what He would face at the hands of God as well.

GNW  In connection with the Mount of Transfiguration, all that Moses demanded in the Law, and all that Elijah prophesied as representing the prophets, is fulfilled here where we are reading.

CJM  I think so, and it is remarkable how detailed these prophecies are. We have spoken about the Psalms and their very accurate detail. Long before crucifixion was introduced as one of the most dreadful tortures devised by man, and when scourging would not have necessarily been a normal form of torture, it is explained in great detail in the prophecies. And the Lord is fully aware of all these details. And when we see Him here, we see Him setting Himself for what comes. Then we have the band of men, a gang, that has been pulled together to go and arrest the Lord. What happens after this is a blot on the history of mankind. It is the history of man. We look at dreadful things that have happened in the world – we think of the Holocaust and wars, we can think of regimes like Pol Pot’s, and awful things that have happened down through the ages. But we cannot overstate the dreadful nature of what occurs from here on in Matthew, when man operates under the power of darkness. Man is exposed.

DW  We know what He suffered from man, but not what He suffered from God – there was no martyr that ever died forsaken of God.

CJM  No. I would like to speak about that as well, what the Lord suffered from God. We struggle to understand what was involved there, but we can read the Old Testament and see these Scriptures that give us the detail of what it meant to the Lord. Even if we do not understand it, the very fact that our Saviour suffered and His feelings were expressed in such a way, should have a real effect on us. I would come back to the original point – how does this affect us as individuals? We could go away and write an essay about this, and might get high marks for accuracy, but how does it really affect us, and how often do we think in our daily lives about what men did to the Lord Jesus? We can probably picture the scene. Everyone here who has read a Bible story to their children, or maybe seen some of these great works of art by Michelangelo and his peers, will note that the pictures and paintings are men’s impressions of what these scenes may have been. It is very tidy and sanitised. I think in our own minds we may overlook the full horror of what the Lord went through here.

He goes through these different trials – four different examinations: Annas, Caiaphas, Herod and Pilate. The Lord here was tried, or examined, four times in a matter of hours. This was illegal, against all tradition and all protocol, against the regulations of the Jews and the Gentiles. It is a monumental disgrace that man has a hand in this. And, we have to remember, these men represented us!

SH  Have we to see that from the outset He was alone there? We sometimes sing, ‘None could follow there, blest Saviour’ (Hymn 298).

CJM  It was something that only the Lord was able to go through with. Others may have been willing – Peter was willing to go the whole way, but had to learn, as we have to learn, that this was a transaction only the Lord could carry out. He is truly alone.

AC  I am wondering if the sufferings between the Lord and His God were something far deeper than the physical side, because we know something about these physical trials, but what He went through with God would be far greater than that.

CJM  Yes, I would agree. That is why I said at the start I do not know how much we could say about it. We can perhaps understand a bit more about what actually happened to the Lord in those trials at the hands of men, but when it comes to the suffering at the hands of God, how little we know! But we can understand something of what the Lord suffered at the hand of men: these trials that were so offensive to justice, the punishment meted out, and finally the method of His death.

GNW  Does not Psalm 22 give us the way that the Lord felt as to the importance of what He was suffering? It starts with the suffering at the hand of God, and then further down turns to His suffering at the hands of the Jews, and then at the hands of the Gentiles. I wonder if that is really the order, if I could say, of importance of the sufferings of Jesus.

CJM  Yes, I would agree with that. We are grateful for verses like these that give us some insight into it, because naturally speaking we cannot really understand much of what this first section in Psalm 22 refers to, in its depth. But we know how important it was. In verse 3 it says, “And Thou art holy” – even in the midst of this prayer there is an acknowledgement of God’s holiness. There was no other way sin could be met.

SH  Do we get the feelings again in the Psalms as He was betrayed by Judas? It says in Psalm 55, “For it is not an enemy that hath reproached me – then could I have borne it; neither is it he that hateth me that hath magnified himself against me – then would I have hidden myself from him; but it was thou, a man mine equal, mine intimate, my familiar friend … We who held sweet intercourse together. To the house of God we walked amid the throng” (vv12‑14). Jesus felt the betrayal.

CJM  Yes, very deeply. When we look at the way that He was dealt with by the Jewish leaders, that betrayal was from the whole nation. These were the people that should have been leading the children of Israel and representing God rightly. And here they were, they held this trial for Him, and they went against all the rules, their own rules, and against the law as well. Caiaphas at one point rent his garments when the Lord was standing before him (Matt 26:65). I am thinking of the suffering of the Lord standing there before this man, whom we maybe do not say much about, but I think he is the real villain of the piece in this story. Caiaphas, a man who had such responsibility, rends his clothes; the Law in Leviticus states that the high priest was not to rend his clothes (Lev 10:6) – not to rip his garments. So, even the man who condemned the Lord and delivered Him up to the Gentiles was standing in a false position. And I think something of the betrayal comes into that as well.

AJM  Through all this pressure and suffering, He never at any point misrepresented God. The spirit of Christ shines like a beacon – something for us to take on, is it not? I think when Peter writes his letter, he speaks of our following in His steps, and portrays some of the sufferings of Christ (1 Pet 2:21-24). But what impresses one is that at every threat, at every temptation that He faces during these hours, He fully represents God.

CJM  Yes. We know that when the Lord was tempted, the devil left Him for a season (Luke 4:13), and you just think here of the return of the Tempter. How would men normally behave under these circumstances? Perhaps demanding justice and the like; but the Lord is shown to be absolutely perfect, and submits Himself utterly to the will of the Father.

DAMcI  I was thinking of what you said earlier as to how we may read these Scriptures and not be rightly affected if we do not seek the Spirit’s help. That never happened to the eunuch, did it? As he read Isaiah 53, he was profoundly affected – he wanted to know the Person of Whom the prophet was speaking (Acts 8:34). Do you think that is part of your exercise today?

CJM  Exactly, that is my exercise. It is just being able to read these Scriptures afresh and see some of the details that maybe have escaped us previously. Sometimes there are details that we skim over because we have read it many times before, without actually realising what lay behind these accounts that are given by the Gospels. As I say, these accounts are very matter-of-fact – it is just the factual details we get from the Gospels. But when we start to blend it with the Scriptures we have in the Old Testament, we should stop and think, and it should really focus our mind and affect our heart. If you are like me, then we can drift very easily – drift in the course of a week or a day, or very easily during a meeting. And I say that from experience, regular experience – I have known what it is to come to a meeting like this and it does not take long before the mind drifts away. Others will have their own experience – but I find that Satan’s attack on the mind is very often on Sunday morning at the breaking of bread. We may wonder why Satan would choose such a battleground. A brother often speaks locally about how the battle for man is played in his mind between Satan and God; the target is man’s heart, but the battle is played in the mind. For me – and I say this just for myself – if I find myself struggling, then I find it valuable to focus on the sufferings of Jesus, and what it cost Him. It is a great point of reference for the believer – to actually concentrate on what it has cost the Lord for me to be here.

DW  In the first verse that we read He came to a place called Gethsemane. We know from Luke’s Gospel that the angels were there (Luke 22:43), but Satan was also there, and that is where the conflict was, is it not? In the cup of Gethsemane.

CJM  Yes, that is good. We may look around our halls and think they are poorly attended at times, but we should remember that Satan rarely misses an occasion, and he would do anything to rob God of what is rightfully His, to take us away from focusing on the Lord Jesus.

WJS  So would you say that position is not everything? The disciples were in a most favoured position. In the beginning of the chapter in the verse that was referred to He says, “Ye know that” this was going to happen (Matt 26:2). They were initiated into it, but yet they fell asleep. How easily, you know, we can be diverted by our weakness, do you think? Position would be of great value, but what about the moral response in that position, do you think? They fell asleep.

CJM  Yes, well, I think we know what that is – to fall asleep at times! It was said earlier that they had the very best of intentions. We hear what Peter has to say (Matt 26:33-35), and we are sure he was very genuine in it, but when it came to it, they fell asleep. It says that they fell asleep through grief (Luke 22:45). I have often thought about that – falling asleep through grief. We live in a world that is full of grief – there is a lot to grieve us. But what the Lord was going to go through, and what He had to deal with, in order that the joy could be secured, the joy that lay before Him (Heb 12:2)!

AJM  So “Watch and pray” is the word that the Lord says (Matt 26:41). We should take that to heart, do you think?

CJM  That is right. It is easy to drift, it is something we perhaps all know something about. How important just to focus on something! The sufferings of Jesus should sober us and bring us back to where we ought to be.

GNW  Do you think Paul had something of your exercise in mind when he said, “The Son of God, Who has loved me and given Himself for me” (Gal 2:20)? He was speaking to the Galatians who were, I suppose, turning away from it. I wonder if, going through Paul’s mind in all that, there was something of the exercise that you are seeking to bring before us.

CJM  Yes, that was very personal – “Who has loved me and given Himself for me.” It is all right to speak about things in a general way. We could discuss it, and perhaps find something to disagree about and argue about it as well. But to make such a personal point as Paul did would bring it home to ourselves; no matter what our age is, no matter whether we are a brother or a sister, we can take it to ourselves, that the Lord’s suffering was for us.

We might just look at the detail of some of the suffering, because to make this real, I think, we have to look at some of the detail. I realise we read a lot of Scriptures, but one of the things we read about, in verse 26 of chapter 27, was this scourging of the Lord Jesus. I would like to say something about this, because we do not get any more details of what was involved in this. But there are those who have made studies and have got some idea as to what was involved in scourging. Think about this very personally, that the Lord had to go through this in order that we could be here today. I read a booklet by Augustus Toplady. He gives his impression of what was involved in scourging, and I have no reason to disbelieve that the Lord went through this. He says that what the Romans did normally was take the prisoner, who was the Lord Jesus in this case, and strip him, and tie him to a post with his back exposed and four soldiers behind him, two on one side and two on the other, all with whips. These whips had hooks and bits of glass and metal, which were sewn into the whips. And these highly trained torturers were trained to use these whips one after the other so that the prisoner would experience unrelenting agony. I cannot say whether that is what happened to the Lord, but when we look at the Psalms, it states, “The ploughers ploughed upon my back; they made long their furrows” (Ps 129:3); that is a real thing that happened; that actually happened to Jesus, and He took that for you and for me. And I just think that that makes it real. It is one thing to read the same phrases and speak in the same terms as we always do, but let us just try actually to get into our head and our heart, that this was a real event that the Lord had to go through, and He went through it for us.

SH  So does Peter tell us about the spirit of the Man that was there? It says, “When reviled, reviled not again; when suffering, threatened not; but gave Himself over into the hands of Him Who judges righteously” (1 Pet 2:23).

CJM  Yes. At the end of it all, He could say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). It is a remarkable conclusion to His suffering at the hands of men.

DW  In 1 Peter 2:24 it says, “By Whose stripes ye have been healed,” and the footnote says, ‘Literally the marks left by scourging.’

JWC  Have you any thought on the Lord praying three times, “If it be possible let this cup pass from Me”?

CJM  The cup was no light matter for Him, was it?

JWC  No, I am sure that is right, no. He knew what lay before Him. And I am just thinking that we could be more in the good of that when we come together on Lord’s Day morning – the burden that depressed a divine Person, the Lord Himself, do you think?

CJM  I do. Just think, the Lord went through His life knowing what lay before Him. And yet He comes to that garden, and He still makes that prayer three times. The magnitude of what it meant to the Lord to go through with that!

DM  I was just thinking that in Ezekiel’s time it was a very, very dark day. We are told in chapter 22 that God looked for a man to fill in the gap (v30) – that was in relation to Israel. In Daniel 5, the queen says, “There is a man” (v11) – she was referring to Daniel and the features that shone in him. And this represents the Man that we are engaged with today – the Man Who has won over our hearts’ affections. None of us could ever measure the gap that sin brought in. Who could remove it? Nobody else could remove it but Jesus, and His precious blood had to be shed to take away that sin and resolve matters for God. So the sense of the greatness of what He did in love endears Him to our hearts. There is no one like Jesus! What a Saviour He is! What a sacrifice He offered up in giving Himself! But He resolved matters, as you say, that we are here today as those that are recipients of wonderful mercy!

CJM  And this gives us the depth that was involved. We have not said much about the actual Crucifixion. That is another study on its own, and we do not really have time to go into it in great detail. Maybe we could say a bit more about the depths with regard to what the Lord suffered for the sake of sin at the hands of God. We have already mentioned that we can have some grasp of what was involved in the dealings from the hands of men. We have touched only very lightly on it; it is a study that is worth making. But when we come to the sufferings at the hands of God, we really are in very deep water, and are left relying, I think, largely on these Scriptures in the Old Testament that go into some more detail, especially the feelings of the Lord Jesus in being forsaken in this way. But there are others here who could say far more than I could about this.

GNW  I think it is worthy of note that there are very few verses about the three hours of darkness. It is really beyond us. Jesus being made sin is something that we cannot grasp. We have the feelings of Jesus in Gethsemane as this lay before Him. But what He went through in those three hours, meeting the whole sin question, is really beyond us, I think.

CJM  Yes, I would agree. We are grateful, I think, for these verses in the Psalms that give us something of the feelings involved, because we would struggle to start to understand what that actual transaction included. Regarding that verse in both Psalm 22 and where we read in Matthew, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”, someone has suggested that the original language could just as easily be rendered, ‘My God, My God, how Thou hast forsaken Me!’ Not so much a question, such as you or I might ask, but a statement of how complete that forsaking at the hands of God was for the Lord Jesus.

DW  Thinking of the darkness, that brings out what you are saying, that it was not for anyone to see, but God was there. I think it has been said by others that the cry we are speaking of gives us some insight as to what was going on. It was there He drank the cup.

CJM  Yes, we are grateful that that cry is recorded. We think of the people who were round about that Cross, and yet that cry was recorded, and how much depth is found in it! “Why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

AJM  It was not a question asked in ignorance – “Why hast Thou forsaken Me?” In the Abraham-Isaac type there is a question asked, “Where is the sheep for a burnt-offering?” (Gen 22:7). But this was One Who came to do the will of God, fully understanding where it would lead Him.

AC  He was made sin (2 Cor 5:21), and we think of the horror of sin that we have individually, and when you go on to think of the sin of the world, the Lord Jesus is the One that bore that sin.

CJM  I think if we understood more about that, it would mean more to us, that the Lord was prepared to take this place. We read that the Lord could have called for more than twelve legions of angels (Matt 26:53). Just think of the havoc that one angel could have caused to this scene of darkness! But the Lord went through it, and how grateful we are that He did!

BM  I was just thinking about the cry – it is like a prayer to restore communion. Communion had been broken for these three hours, but this was to renew it again. I often think we, as believers, know what it is to have momentary communion with the Lord, but He, the Lord, knew absolute communion with the Father all His life. And a state of – we might say – broken communion is more normal to us than it ever was to the Lord.

CJM  Yes, and we are reminded of the verse in Hebrews which tells us of what lay before Him – “In view of the joy lying before Him, endured the Cross, having despised the shame” (Heb 12:2). There was that which lay before the Lord, and it was a wonderful prospect. But what a way to have to go in order to secure that joy – to secure it not only for Himself, but for us as well! And if we could have some understanding of that, it might put into context the sufferings that we pass through, and we might have just a few minutes to discuss that. After having spoken about the Lord’s sufferings at the hands of men, and at the hands of God, how humble does it make us feel about how we complain, and how we murmur, as the children of Israel did, about our circumstances? That joy that the Lord had before Him is one that He has secured for us as well. We can enjoy that joy as well – co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17). And it really puts into context any sufferings that we may be called upon to bear.

DAMcI  Do you think that, as was said earlier, this was not a question that He did not know the answer to? The answer we get, as you read in the Psalms, is, “Thou art holy” (Ps 22:3). The Lord was holy, was He not? He was holy, He shared God’s judgement against sin, but do you think His being forsaken demonstrates that this is where the Lord took my place?

CJM  That is good, because He understood what that word means. What is our understanding of what that word “holy” means? We might look around this room and see people that we think are better than us when it comes to our Christianity, and we might view ourselves or judge ourselves favourably by comparison with other men. But this was the One Who was absolutely holy, and absolutely at one with His Father in His absolutely holy character. Psalm 22 is written intelligently, and the Lord was fully aware of all this, and as you say, verse 3 gives the answer, really, to the question in verse 1. The Lord knew the answer to the question. The two verses go together.

WPC  The fact is that Paul did not see any of this, but he could speak about it, probably in greater depth than anybody, in what our brother has quoted from Corinthians, that He was made sin. Nobody else tells us that. We, too, shall never witness the sufferings of Christ – they are finished, they are over. But Peter did witness some of those sufferings, and in his First Epistle it is written how there will be suffering for righteousness in the body of Christ (1 Pet 3:14). But he says, “Concerning which salvation prophets, who have prophesied of the grace towards you, sought out and searched out; searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ Which was in them pointed out, testifying before of the sufferings which belonged to Christ, and the glories after these” (1 Pet 1:10‑11). Our portion is, by the Spirit of God, to get the benefit of what is written in the Scriptures by these spiritual men about the sufferings of Christ. That is one thing; the other thing we have, of course, is the Supper.

CJM  Yes.

WPC  The Supper was given by the Lord before He went into this final phase of His sufferings.

CJM  I am glad you mentioned the importance of being led by the Holy Spirit in this, because if we read this merely as another work of literature then we are going to miss out on the full benefit. We are going to miss out altogether, I should say, on what God would communicate to us. And the Holy Spirit would, through the Scriptures, communicate to us the depths of what the Lord went through, and affect our hearts. That is really the point today, that our hearts have to be affected by this. We have to ask ourselves, how often do we think about this? How often? It meant a lot to the Lord. He asks us to remember Him, as we do each week, and it is in relation to His death. It meant so much to the Lord Jesus; what does it mean to us? I think that the breaking of bread is a very valuable occasion for us to readjust ourselves as believers, and just reassess where we are in relation to the Lord as the One Who died for us.

WPC  It is tremendous wisdom on the part of the Lord in giving us the two emblems. In some places they have crucifixes to remind them of the Crucifixion. That does not enter into the Scriptures. But we have this simple ceremony week by week, and what we have portrayed is the blood separated from the body. And these two things are the most significant things for the Christian faith.

CJM  Yes. It is very easy to start to take these things for granted. It is just a natural thing that we get into a bit of a form, and it becomes a ritual. But I think if we were to think about the sufferings of the Lord Jesus more it would make that occasion more precious to us, and there would be greater glory returning to God.

NJW  Peter, as has been said, witnessed the sufferings of the Lord Jesus, and the Lord said to him at the end of His pathway, ‘Peter, you will suffer too, but your end will be glory.’ Do you think that is a normal follow-on if we keep our eyes and affections on the Lord?

CJM  Yes, I think so, and I think it would put into context any sufferings that we have now. I have thought about this, because, you know, I have often heard it said, ‘We may at some point be called upon to suffer.’ My own view is that Satan has been so successful with the conditions of comfort that we enjoy in this country that I ask myself, you know, ‘If you were a tactician, would you change those tactics when they have been so successful?’ So then we may start to think, ‘Well, what is suffering to us?’ What is it? It is not being hauled off to prison; as we gather here this afternoon, there will be people who have lost their lives, there will be churches that have been burned down – it is happening increasingly in most continents of the world, apart from where we are in the West. So what do you think our sufferings would equate to?

NJW  It has often been said that sufferings precede the glory. I think, yes, we have it far too easy, as you say. But if we really went out and witnessed for the Lord Jesus here, we would be bound to get reproach and suffering, but there is something deepened in your soul as you do so that results in glory to God.

CJM  Do you think we live in an area where there is apathy and lack of interest, and there is a falling away? Do you think that the words ‘endurance,’ ‘patience’ and ‘longsuffering’ convey something of the sense of suffering we may enter into?

NJW  We cannot say we can enter into and really endure suffering on our own. If we go through each day with some sense of the Spirit’s help, starting with an appreciation of the Lord secretly with the Lord, yes, you can go through suffering.

DW  There is a verse in 2 Timothy 3:12, “And all indeed who desire to live piously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

CJM  Yes, that is good. That challenges me, because, as I say, we live in an area of general comfort. When we think of the sufferings, challenges and exercises we are called upon to endure, we can look at the Lord Jesus, and we see what He endured at the hands of men – men who represented us – and at the hands of God on our behalf, and it just makes us stand back in awe, and it should affect us, should affect every one of us; and if we were to resolve to think about those sufferings, and to speak to the Lord about them, then I think our Christian walk would be greatly enhanced.

JM  It says of Moses that when he became great, he chose “rather to suffer affliction along with the people of God than to have the temporary pleasure of sin” (Heb 11:24‑25).

CJM  That is good. I am glad you have brought that up, because we do not normally choose to suffer, we do not normally choose to be found in circumstances of endurance, where we need patience and things like that. I often think of David: he asked to be tried, did he not? He asked the Lord to try him (Ps 26:2). We normally ask the Lord to remove our trials. But I think Moses is a good example for us.

SH  So the Scriptures are fulfilled regarding the Lord’s suffering; regarding His glory the Scripture is yet to be fulfilled. But there is a Scripture which says that if we suffer with Him, we shall be glorified with Him (Rom 8:17).

CJM  Yes, the Scriptures are all fulfilled. You know, we read an awful lot of verses here. I am sorry: if I had thought we would not go into the detail of them all, I would not have asked you to read so many! But we can study them in our own time, to see just the exact detail of what has been fulfilled. And if the suffering has been fulfilled, then we can look forward to the glory, can we not? Because there will not be any detail in the Scriptures that is left unfulfilled.


22 September 2012


Key to Initials

Alec Campbell, Findochty

John W. Cowe, Gardenstown

William P. Cowie, Aberdeen

Sandy Hepburn, Gardenstown

Brian Mair, Portknockie

David Mair, Portknockie

John Mair, Aberdeen

David A. McIntyre, Blairgowrie

Alex J. Mowat, Aberdeen

Colin J. Mowat, Findochty

John Smith, Fraserburgh

Norman J. Walker, Laurencekirk

George N. West, Gardenstown

David Wood, Portknockie