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Necessary Suffering

“And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” (Acts 17:2–3 ESV)

I wonder how many people are put off by a suffering Savior. That Jesus really had to be tortured, murdered and shamed on a cross. You have probably heard of how this story indicates divine child abuse or it is just too bloody for modern sensibilities.

When we understand why, however, the necessity of the suffering becomes clear and humbling. It was necessary for the Christ to suffer in this way and rise from the dead, because of our sin, our rebellion from God. In the place of our eternal suffering, Jesus takes on all of it. Every ounce of wrath we stored up and earned was met by Jesus. And he did it for you.

He did it so that you would have life in his resurrection and hope in him. And it is this Jesus, the suffering one, that we proclaim to you, who is the Savior we desperately need.

This is a great place of comfort over gore and humbling grace over gravitas. This is something worth telling others about. Maybe at this proclamation “a great many” will believe in him and recognize the necessity too.

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