Focal Passages: John 18:1-6, 17-24
Suffering is a subject that brings about a myriad of emotions. For some people, they may picture a beloved person who is suffering or a people group who seems to be synonymous with the word. For some precious people in our Bible study groups, they may immediately picture a person who has inflicted suffering and the word is equated with abuse in their own personal experience. For many, the word suffering is one that brings the image of the cross readily to mind. As we study this lesson and may even be the one teaching it, we want to be sensitive to the various responses of our listeners to the subject of suffering.
The lesson encourages us to reflect on the fact that Jesus was betrayed (John 18:1-6), denied (John 18:17-18) and reviled (John 18:19-26). Each strong, action verb communicates pain and suffering. It can be sobering to meditate on these very words and what they meant to the experience of our Savior.
Jesus was willing to suffer each of these forms of abuse because He understood the purpose. Jesus knew He would suffer abuse as a part of God’s plan to provide the way of forgiveness for sinners. The lesson does not leave us in a place of pain though, but directs us towards a response of gratitude to Jesus.
We can joyfully show our gratitude for what Jesus was willing to do on our behalf. We can be sure that we demonstrate gratitude in worship and joyful praise.
As we honor Jesus in lifting our voices in song or speaking a testimony of thanksgiving, it is as if we are writing a “thank you” note to Him. A second way we show our gratitude to Jesus is through acts of obedience.
We want to reflect our commitment to Jesus so that we do not betray our relationship to Him, deny Him in our words or actions, or revile Him by using words that abuse who He is by not properly showing Him respect. We should sincerely hope that our lives will demonstrate a daily attitude of gratitude.