He Must Suffer


Elder Mark D. Rowell


Matthew 16:21, From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”

Throughout the course of the Lord’s ministry in this world, He consistently had His eyes focused on that great day of suffering on Calvary’s cross.  On the very day he entered into Jerusalem for the last time, He stated that “…for this cause came I unto this hour.”  So the expectation of the Lord Jesus Christ was to suffer for the sins of His people and to redeem them by His blood. The Lord was certainly not taken by surprise by the events of that day.

This day of suffering was prophesied by the Old Testament countless times. Whether we read about it in Isaiah chapters 52 and 53, or we glean it from Psalms 22 and Psalms 69, or go back to Genesis chapter 22 to see how the Lord showed Abraham the sufferings of Christ through the example of Isaac, we can’t escape the Old Testament without realizing that its words pointed us to Calvary and the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We understand that the Lord MUST go to Jerusalem, and He MUST suffer.

The cause of Christ was so great, that He would not be deterred from doing what He came into the world to do.  When Peter told the Lord not to go to Jerusalem if He would be killed, the Lord rebuked Peter and said to “…get thee behind me Satan!”  The critical nature of the work the Lord was to perform (and finished at might add) was such that He was not deterred in Himself nor would He suffer anyone   or anything  else     to  either prevent His arrival on Calvary’s cross or to hasten the event prior to “the hour” for which He came into this world.  He MUST go to Jerusalem, and He MUST suffer.

As the cause itself was great, so also was the suffering.  Our precious Saviour suffered untold agony on Calvary’s cross.  While the physical suffering is unimaginable, what was suffered at the hands of the Righteous Judge is unfathomable.  So what was the “cause”?  It was to redeem every last Child of Grace by bearing our sins and shedding his blood!  Peter states “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”  Jesus Christ was made to be the sin bearer on Calvary’s cross.  That’s the meaning of Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:21 – that Christ was made to be the sin bearer!  He bore our sins and presented a perfect sacrifice to the Lord God of all Glory, that we might live with Him in Heaven some sweet day!  The apex of His suffering came when He cried out “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  But then the words that came next!  Those three glorious words that we cling to, that we hinge the very principles of our beliefs on: It is finished.  To realize that His suffering came to and end, and that He finished the work His Father gave him to do, brings the greatest sense of comfort to the little Child of God.  He MUST go to Jerusalem, and He MUST suffer!  And then He lays down His life for His sheep.  Just as the prophets said, and just as Jesus Himself said he would do.

Finally, on the third day, Jesus Christ was raised again.  He triumphed over death, hell, and the grave!  “Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” (Rom. 4:25)  The declaration of our being made just by His sacrifice resounded on the third day.  The culmination of the work of Jesus Christ was fulfilled. He fulfilled all the prophesies of His suffer, death, and resurrection.  He fulfilled the work that God gave Him to do.  He showed Himself victorious!  And we have been given the victory in Christ!

He DID go to Jerusalem, He DID suffer, He DID give His life, and He DID raise from the dead on the third day.