The Cross of Christ Includes Our Sufferings Too

The Cross of Christ Includes Our Sufferings Too February 25, 2021

The Bible says much about crosses:  Christ’s cross and the crosses that we bear.  And the two are connected.

I came across another mind-blowing quotation from Luther:

“The Cross of Christ” does not mean, of course, the wood that Christ carried on his shoulders and to which he then was nailed.  No, it refers in general to all the afflictions of all the faithful, whose sufferings are the sufferings of Christ.  2 Cor 1:5:  “We share abundantly in Christ’s suffering.”  In the same way Christ, our Head, makes our afflictions His own, so that when we, who are his body, suffer, He is affected as though the evils were his own.

Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians (1535), in LW 27, p. 134.

Think about it:  In faith, we are united to Christ and He is united to us (John 17:20-23).  We constitute the Church, which is His body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).  In baptism, we are united to His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5).

And remember the scope of the great exchange that took place in His atonement.  The great prophecy in Isaiah tells us not only that the coming Suffering Servant bears “the iniquity of us all”(53:6)  and was “crushed for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities,” (53:5) but that He also bears our suffering:

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows. (53:4)

I have never understood why virtually every Christian discussion of theodicy, the problem of suffering, leaves Christ out of the conversation.  They accept the premise of the opposition, that God is looking down from above on a world of suffering, doing nothing about it.  They try to explain why God looks down from a vast distance and does nothing, but no wonder so few of their argument are convincing.

They argue  as if God had never become Incarnate, as if He did not come down into this world of suffering, taking the world’s evil and sin and griefs and sorrows into Himself, to the point of undergoing death itself.  And then He rises again, the first fruits of a universal resurrection and a new Heaven and a New Earth in which every tear will be dried.

God looks down on suffering?  No, He enters into it and bears it.  God does nothing?  No, He dies for it.


Illustration: “Crucifixion,” by Mathias Grünewald – The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain,

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