Sunday, April 17
It is Necessary: Suffering and Glory
by Pastor Fredy Orozco
My wife and I have a one-year old little boy at home and as new parents we are always looking to learn from the examples of other more experienced parents. One of my favourite questions to ask other parents is, “How do you prepare your kids for suffering?” I know that life is full of twists and turns, and we want to raise our little boy to be ready for all the bumps along the road as he grows up. I was talking to one of the elders of our church about the need to cultivate resiliency and steadfastness in our children, and he told me that one of his favourite phrases for his own children was: “We can do hard things.” He sought to teach his children that life brings suffering, but God is working in every circumstance, and always has a plan.
We see this same idea in Luke 24:13-27, when Jesus interacts with some of his disciples after the Resurrection. Cleopas and another disciple were traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a half day’s journey away, and they met the risen Jesus. Sadly, they do not recognize him at first, and as this “stranger” talks with them we learn that they are suffering from the crushing weight of disappointment. They had followed Jesus while he publicly preached amongst the Jews for 3 years, and saw Him enter Jerusalem as a king a week earlier, fully expecting Him to reign over all their enemies. However, their dreams were soon crushed as Jesus was publicly executed by the Romans at the urging of the Jewish religious leaders. They had hoped that King Jesus would be the one to throw off the chains of Roman oppression (v.21), but instead they were now walking to another town three days after Jesus was killed, life does move on after all. But God was still working!
Unbeknownst to these disciples, the person they were talking to was Jesus!! He challenges these discouraged disciples, and reminds them that “it was necessary that Christ should suffer [death] and enter into glory” (v.26). The key word in this sentence is “dei” which is translated as “it is necessary.” What the disciples saw as disappointment or a derailment of the plan, was in fact always God’s plan!! Jesus had to die His sacrificial death so that sinners could be forgiven of their sins (Acts 2:38), and He was raised to new life so that He could offer eternal life to everyone who believes in Him (Jn. 3:16)!
The main focus of Luke 24 is that Jesus resurrected from the dead and continued His teaching ministry to his disciples, and then sent them out to proclaim his life/death/resurrection to all the nations (vv.47-48). However, a secondary lesson is that God works in the hard things of life. We face situations, circumstances, and obstacles that we wish we could avoid, when they may in fact be part of God’s plan for us! Whatever hard things you are facing right now, Easter is a reminder that all suffering has an expiration date, and future glory awaits. Until Christ returns, be encouraged, for you can endure hard things.