THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at Calvary Road Baptist Church, Monrovia, California
Lord’s Day Morning, December 26, 2010

“Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (I Peter 1:10-11).


The Apostle Peter tells us that the Old Testament prophets wrote by the Spirit of Christ. This is one of the many statements in the Bible declaring that the Old Testament was given by inspiration from God. The prophets wrote some things that they themselves did not understand. They searched for the meaning diligently. Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22, and many other Old Testament Scriptures, speak prophetically of “the sufferings of Christ” (I Peter 1:11).

Now I want you to look very closely at those four words near the end of verse eleven, “The sufferings of Christ,” “ta eis christon pathemata,” the “pathemata” of Christ. The Greek word means “pains” or “sufferings.” It is plural – more than one pain, more than one suffering. “The sufferings of Christ.”

The Apostle Peter was speaking of the sufferings that Christ experienced in His passion, at the end of His life on earth. He went through many sufferings to save us from our sins.

I. First, His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The night before He was crucified His sufferings began. It was about midnight when the Last Supper ended. Jesus took the Disciples out of the house. Through the deep darkness they went. They crossed the brook Kedron and moved up the side of the Mount of Olives, and entered the deep gloom of the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus told eight of the Disciples, “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder” (Matthew 26:36). He took Peter, James and John deeper into the Garden. Then He left those three and went a little farther, under the olive trees, where He prayed alone to God.

Now “the sufferings of Christ” began (I Peter 1:11). Mark, no human hand has touched Him yet. Mark, His sufferings begin when He is alone in the dark, under the olive branches in Gethsemane. There, in the Garden, all the weight of mankind’s sin was placed on Him, which He would bear “in his own body,” to the Cross in the morning (I Peter 2:24). Then Jesus said,

“My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death…O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”
       (Matthew 26:38, 39).

The common interpretation of this prayer is that Jesus was asking to be delivered from the Cross. But I find no Scripture to validate that view. I believe that Dr. John R. Rice and Dr. J. Oliver Buswell gave the correct interpretation. Both the evangelist Dr. Rice and the theologian Dr. Buswell said that Christ’s prayer, “let this cup pass from me,” meant the “cup” of death from suffering under the weight of sin – there in Gethsemane!

Jesus found Himself in such a state of shock that He was about to die there in the Garden. Dr. Buswell said that Jesus prayed “for deliverance from death in the Garden, in order that He might accomplish His purpose on the cross” (J. Oliver Buswell, Ph.D., A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, Zondervan, 1971, part III, p. 62). Dr. Rice said virtually the same thing, “Jesus prayed that the cup of death would pass from Him that night so He could live to die on the cross the next day” (John R. Rice, D.D., Litt.D., The Gospel According to Matthew, Sword of the Lord Publications, 1980, p. 441). “Without supernatural strengthening of His body, Christ would surely have died in the Garden that night” (Rice, ibid., p. 442). The weight of your sin would have killed Him in Gethsemane.

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

Jesus experienced tremendous horror when your sins were placed in His body that night. His agony was so overwhelming that “great drops” of bloody sweat poured from His skin. The prophet Isaiah said,

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows”
       (Isaiah 53:4).

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all”
       (Isaiah 53:6).

How quickly we read John 3:16,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” (John 3:16)

to go through the pain, and suffering, and terror of Gethsemane! How little we think of the awful pain Jesus went through bearing our sin that night! Joseph Hart said,

See the suffering Son of God,
   Panting, groaning, sweating blood!
Boundless depths of love divine!
   Jesus, what a love was Thine!
(“Thine Unknown Sufferings” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768;
     to the tune of “‘Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow”).

“The sufferings of Christ” (I Peter 1:11).

I often think that the first suffering was the greatest, there in Gethsemane. No human hand had touched Him yet. It was when your sin was placed on Him by God, that His mind nearly snapped, and Blood ran freely from the pores of His skin! William Williams said,

The enormous load of human guilt
   Was on the Saviour laid;
With woe, as with a garment, He
   For sinners was arrayed,
For sinners was arrayed.
    (“Love in Agony” by William Williams, 1759;
     to the tune of “Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned”).

“The sufferings of Christ” (I Peter 1:11).

First, His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane.

II. Second, His suffering of humiliation.

“The sufferings of Christ” had only begun. There were many more to come. The guards came with torches to the Garden of Gethsemane. They arrested Jesus on a false charge. They hauled Him off to the high priest.

“Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?”
      (Matthew 26:67-68).

“And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands” (Mark 14:65).

Joseph Hart said,

See how patient Jesus stands!
   Insulted in this awful place!
Sinners have bound the Almighty hands,
   And spit in their Creator’s face.
(“His Passion” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768; to the tune of
      “‘Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow”).

“And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him” (Mark 15:16-19).

Jesus said, through the prophet Isaiah,

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

The prophet Micah said,

“They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek” (Micah 5:1).

“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head” (Matthew 27:27-30).

There was no crown for Him of silver or of gold,
   There was no diadem for Him to hold;
But blood adorned His brow and proud its stains He bore,
   And sinners gave to Him the crown He wore.
A rugged cross became His throne,
   His kingdom was in hearts alone;
He wrote His love in crimson red,
   And wore the thorns upon His head.
(“A Crown of Thorns” by Ira F. Stanphill, 1914-1993).

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him”
       (John 19:1).

Jesus said, by the prophet Isaiah,

“I gave my back to the smiters” (Isaiah 50:6).

They beat His back to shreds. It was horrible. Many people died from the torture of such a beating. You could see His ribs. They cut His back to the bone.

With thorns His temple gored and gashed,
   Send streams of blood from every part;
His back with heavy scourges lashed,
   But sharper scourges tear His heart.
(“His Passion” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768; to the tune of
      “‘Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow”).

“The sufferings of Christ” (I Peter 1:11).

First, His suffering in Gethsemane. Second, His suffering of humiliation.

III. Third, His suffering on the Cross.

After sweating as it were great drops of Blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was beaten in the face. Then He was scourged until the flesh of His back was shredded to ribbons. Then a crown of thorns was cruelly mashed down on His head, causing Blood to run into His eyes.

He was already half dead when they led him away to be crucified,

“And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull…Where they crucified him” (John 19:17-18).

They pounded large spikes through His hands and feet, into the wood of the Cross. They lifted the Cross and Jesus hung there in pain and suffering. Joseph Hart said,

Nailed naked to the accursed wood,
   Exposed to earth and heaven above,
A spectacle of wounds and blood,
   A sad display of injured love.

Hark! how His dreadful cries affright
   Affected angels, while they view;
His friends forsook Him in the night,
   And now His God forsakes Him too!
(“His Passion” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768; to the tune of
      “‘Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow”).

“And…Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

This our minds cannot fathom. Luther said it could not be explained by human words. In a way we cannot fully understand, the Father turned away from the Son – and Jesus died to pay the price for our sins alone!

“For Christ…hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (I Peter 3:18).

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

That is the glorious doctrine of vicarious atonement – Christ dying on the Cross to atone for the sins of men. He died in your place, to pay the penalty for your sin! The Bible says,

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures”
      (I Corinthians 15:3).

“Man of Sorrows,” what a name
   For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
   Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
   In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
   Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Lifted up was He to die,
    “It is finished,” was His cry;
Now in Heaven exalted high;
   Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
(“Hallelujah, What a Saviour” by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

Do you want to be saved from the guilt and penalty of your sin? Then you must come to Jesus in simple faith. Come to Him who is now at the right hand of God in Heaven. I plead with you with all my heart and soul, Come to Jesus in simple faith. Rest on Him. Trust Him. He will wash every one of thy sins away. He will give thee a clean record. He will save thy soul for all time, and for all eternity – world without end. You! Yes, you! You can be saved from the guilt and penalty of your sin by “the sufferings of Christ” (I Peter 1:11). Come to Jesus. He will cleanse thy sin and save thy soul. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers’ sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

You may email Dr. Hymers at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net, (Click Here)
or you may write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015.
Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Hymers: Isaiah 53:1-6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“A Crown of Thorns” (by Ira F. Stanphill, 1914-1993)/
“Love in Agony” (by William Williams, 1759).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (I Peter 1:10-11).

I.   First, His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, Matthew 26:36;
I Peter 2:24; Matthew 26:38, 39; Luke 22:44; Isaiah 53:4, 6;
John 3:16.

II.  Second, His suffering of humiliation, Matthew 26:67-68; Mark 14:65;
Mark 15:16-19; Isaiah 50:6; Micah 5:1; Matthew 27:27-30; John 19:1.

III. Third, His suffering on the Cross, John 19:17-18; Matthew 27:46;
I Peter 3:18; Isaiah 53:5; I Corinthians 15:3.