Sharing His Sufferings

KEY VERSE: “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. … This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” —Luke 22:19,20

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Luke 22:1, 2, 7-23

THE good works of the Master were not occasional incidents, but his life’s habit. He was never too occupied to give heed to the needs of those who came to him for help. Not only did he use the miracle-working power of God which was at his command to heal the sick and raise the dead, but he gave of his own strength as well.

In a general way, Jesus’ ministry was on behalf of all Israel. In this respect he considered it a privilege to do good unto all, as later suggested by the Apostle Paul. (Gal. 6:10) However, he was particularly interested in his immediate disciples. These were being prepared to carry forward the work of the Gospel Age after the Master returned to heaven, and part of their training was in the observance of his life of unselfishness in giving his attention and energy so unstintingly on behalf of others.

Jesus said to his disciples, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.” (John 14:12) Those who are filled with the Master’s spirit of self-sacrifice and are faithful in following him into death by laying down their lives for others will, in the kingdom, share with him in the work of healing all the sick and raising all the dead. The healing of the sick in that day will be permanent, and those who are awakened from the sleep of death shall have the opportunity of living forever if they will be obedient to God’s laws. Thus all the true followers of Jesus will truly share with him in doing works far greater than those which he performed at his first advent.

But even now, and in order that we may demonstrate the spirit by which we are controlled, God gives us the opportunity, as ministers of the Word, to do all we can toward the opening of spiritually blind eyes and unstopping spiritually deaf ears. We also now have use of the Word of reconciliation to cleanse away the leprosy of sin. Those dead in trespasses and sins may even now, by accepting the Gospel message as proclaimed by the last members of the body of Christ, be awakened to righteousness, and have their mortal bodies quickened by the Spirit to serve the living God.

And now, even as in the days of Jesus, those who zealously lay down their lives in thus seeking to bless their fellow men will not be held in high esteem by the people of our time. But it is far better that the servant of God have the reproaches of the world heaped upon him because of doing good, than to have to confess that, having been called out of darkness into the glorious light of the Gospel of Christ, he had done nothing about it, so far as proclaiming the message to others was concerned.

It would also be tragic for a Christian, in order to avoid the ill will of the world, to refrain from faithfulness in proclaiming the glad tidings of the kingdom. There is no other proper course for followers of the Master to take than to emulate his example of faithfulness. Jesus was consumed by the zeal of his Father’s house, a zeal for doing good, for manifesting the same spirit of divine love which had prompted the Father to send him into the world, that the world through him might have life. For us not to be governed by this viewpoint would manifest a lack of the Holy Spirit, that divine energy by which the faithful followers of the Master are conformed more and more into his image.

The Apostle Peter, through his association with the Master, observing the unselfishness of his life of sacrifice, and the wisdom of his methods, learned well the lesson of love which leads to the laying down of life for others. Peter expressed himself on the subject, saying, “What glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, yet take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.”—I Pet. 2:20-22

The importance of sharing in his sufferings was highlighted by Jesus when he instituted the symbols of the memorial.

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |