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Making Sense Of Suffering


"17 As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, 18 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up."

Good Morning my beloved, 
We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is such a tremendous honor to come together with you today for the study God's Word, I am grateful that you allow me that great privilege. God has been great in continuing to bless your efforts in reaching the lost and the deceived. We recently were able to send much needed Bibles to people and places as never before imagined, bringing more people to Christ. I thank God for those of you who have been so moved by His Spirit to support us in the ministry, whether by sharing the ministry website, and social media platforms with your family and friends, or financially. I humbly ask you will continue to join us in praying, and ask God to continue to bless this ministry in reaching the lost, the broken and the hopeless. May He continue to bless our growth together with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, as we faithfully lead others to Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.  
This is very crucial portion of Scripture. Anyone who knows anything about the Christian faith, knows that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important Christian truth. That is why rejecters of the truth, deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ was no accident. It didn't come as a surprise, it didn't come as a shock to Him, but rather part of God's divine plan of Salvation. Christ knew every single detail, He knew why He sent to earth. In fact, His first recorded words, found in Luke chapter 2, were "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?" And His last recorded words, found in John chapter 19, just before His death were, "It is finished."
Many Christians are so fixated on the birth of Christ, and that is indeed important, but it was the suffering, the crucifixion and resurrection that is the exclamation mark of the Christian faith. Jesus has already predicted His death a few times, in fact, explicitly so. The Messiah would suffer and die to ransom others before being exalted in glory. He wanted the disciples to understand this. They were looking for a lion, when what they needed was a lamb. He is trying to prepare His disciples for what will soon happen. It is becoming clear that this is the beginning of the end of Jesus’ mission in coming to earth, and His life. The horror of all of this must have been very terrifying for them. However, Jesus knows that this is necessary in order to save His people, and with unflinching determination, He walks right into it. He will be betrayed, He will be condemned, He will be punished, and He will be crucified. Then, Jesus says that He will rise on the third day. 

Let us pray
Heavenly Father,

Father, we thank You for Your Word. Help us to understand the sufferings of Christ and the glory which is to follow. Thank You for reminding us that being part of the family carries with it responsibilities, opportunities and suffering. That His life is our life, and His death is our death.Help us to overcome self-centeredness by looking for ways to help and care for others, following the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Let us not retreat when the mockery, the pain, and the persecution comes upon us like an avalanche, threatening to overcome us. May we willingly endure it for your glory and for Christ's sake.
In Jesus' name we ask and pray
Today's Message: Making Sense Of Suffering 
The Bible has much to say about suffering, especially for those who believe in Jesus Christ. Because the world hates Jesus, they hate those who follow Him. In John 15:18, Jesus says "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you." And in Matthew 10:24, He says "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master." For most Christians, suffering is unfamiliar. They've been taught that surely, God wants to bless us and live comfortable lives. Many see persecution as a form of punishment for having done something wrong. Because of false teaching, many today still don’t understand that suffering is part of being a Christian.  How should we respond when we suffer? We Rejoice!
In 1 Peter 4, Peter tells us "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation."
In Philippians 4, Paul tells us "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!" 
In Luke 10 Jesus says "..rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.
Obviously, we don't rejoice because of our suffering, we rejoice in spite of our suffering because the Lord is near us and we belong to His kingdom. COVID-19 has been defining moment for most churches, I believe it has been a sign that hard times are ahead for the global church. Suffering separates the righteous from the religious, the overcomers from those who seek the only benefits of the Kingdom, the wheat from the chaff. When suffering becomes the norm rather than the exception, superficial believers are not going to stick around. Aggression toward the people of God is already rising, increasing persecution. Only the faithful will bear whatever the world throws at us, while we await our Savior, until then , we suffer and rejoice. I believe any suffering we endure here pales in comparison to that! Therefore, let us be faithful to Christ even unto death.
Open your Bibles, if you would, to the twentieth chapter in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew chapter twenty, verses seventeen through nineteen. I invite you to follow along with me as I read these verses to you. Let us open our hearts and minds, to see what the Spirit of God has to say to each of us today. Matthew 20:17-19. Due to taking some personal time off to spend with my family, after today's message, we'll pick up our study of the gospel of Matthew after the first of the year. 
"As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.
Even though Jesus gives a little bit more information about how it will happen, the disciples cannot fully understand the horrific nature of what Jesus is predicting. Even in the midst of this horrifying prediction, something very human begins to happen in the hearts of the disciples. We'll look at that next time.
Let's look at verse 17 through the beginning of verse 18. "As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem." The word "Behold," indicates an element of shock or surprise. "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem," even though you may not understand it, there’s a conviction in His statement. No doubt, the disciples knew that that’s where the Roman seat was. In Mark's parallel account, he says the disciples  "were amazed, and those who followed were fearful." They knew the hostility of the chief priests, the scribes and Pharisees have towards Him. And here's Jesus moving toward them, unable to understand the situation, they were completely baffled.
It’s really easy even today, for us to fail to understand what God is doing. We would do well to learn when we can’t make sense out of what’s happening, to expect the unexpected. It’s helpful to remember that character is built through stress not success. If you're serious about following Christ, you will face huge challenges and difficulty. I believe the modern church has really done a disservice by promising that the Christian life will be trouble-free and by promoting ministry as always be fun and easy. The reality is, if you're going to follow Christ, it will cost you! Few are willing to pay that price, when things become difficult, many find themselves wanting to pull back from serving God.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."
Next, I'd like you to notice He says, "going up to Jerusalem," that because Jerusalem is over 5,000 feet above sea level, so it’s a very steep ascent. So, when the Bible says "go up to Jerusalem," you really do go up. It doesn't make any difference from which direction you approach Jerusalem, it was always up hill. Now that He has the disciples alone,He makes a very important statement to them.
Look at the end of verse 18, which says, "And the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death."  In Luke chapter 18, he writes "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished." So, Jesus had to go to Jerusalem, because it is the fulfillment of God's prophetic plan. Jesus' crucifixion was no accident, it was not the result of a good ministry gone bad. 
In Old Testament, and you will find passage, after passage predicting Jesus Christ’s life, death. In fact, Daniel chapter 9 predicted the precise date that Jesus, the Messiah, would be "cut off."  Psalms 2 says "Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!" In Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, and Zechariah 11 and 12, there is a description of all the details of our Lord’s death on the cross. Leviticus 17 says the Messiah’s blood will be spilled for atonement. Psalms 31 says He will cry out "Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth." There is no deviation in God's plan at all, Jesus' going to Jerusalem is right on schedule, setting everything in motion. Scripture demands that the Messiah will die for the sins of the world, it has to happen. Blood sacrifice is the only way to deal with sin and separation from God. 
By the way, God’s temple was in Jerusalem, so people were going there to celebrate the feast days and to worship, which included bringing their offerings to God. Jesus is going to offer Himself for the sins of the world. Jesus made many predictions of His pending suffering, death, and resurrection, but the three main ones are here in Matthew chapter 20.
Let's at verse 18 again with verse 19, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up."
The chief priests were in a position to pull off a mock trial, and condemn Him to death. Because the Romans had removed their power to kill Him, they had to hand Him over to the Gentiles, who had the right to crucify Him. John writes, "He came unto His own and His own received Him not." Jesus is describing in great detail, exactly what was going to happen to Him. Though our Lord couldn’t have spelled it out any clearer, the Twelve still didn’t understand this prediction, the Messiah dying just didn’t fit into their program. Because we're seeing this from over 2000 years later, we understand the significance of this, Jesus went there deliberately to die for you and for me. That is really something to think about, isn't it?
John 13 says "Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end."
In I Peter 4, Peter writes "Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right." 
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writes "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." 
Even today, many Jewish people can see is the glory, they don’t understand the suffering. They haven’t got a clue what to do with  Psalm 22, Isaiah 53 and Zechariah. If you cannot understand the suffering, you cannot understand Christ, there is no glory without suffering. Anyone with a minimal understanding of the New Testament can easily debunk the false gospel being taught today, that suggests that becoming a Christian is the mark of the end of suffering. In the last year alone, thousands more Christians were killed for their faith than the year before. 
By the way, not all suffering is Christian suffering, some people suffer as a natural consequence of their bad choices. This is not suffering for Christ. Only suffering that comes from of obedience to Christ is suffering for Christ. In Romans 12, Paul says "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Every aspect of "present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God,"includes personal suffering. It has been that way from the very beginning.
Only God knows the future, only God knows history before it occurs. Who else but God could give all these incredible details; betrayal, condemnation to death ,crucified, and on the third day, rise again. He is God in human flesh. The word "betrayed" is not actually used here, it is implied by Jesus using the term "will hand Him over." It was a betrayal when Judas handed Him over. He was "delivered to the chief priests and scribes," and handed "over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him." Son of Man was His favorite expression, occurs 81 times in the Greek four canonical gospels and appears in the Torah over a 100 times, it occurs here in Matthew 32 times. It’s a term that describes His humiliation that incorporates His exaltation from out of that humility. 
He was rejected by His own people, He was betrayed by a friend, the disciples all forsook Him and fled and to add to that, He was rejected by God. God did not spare His only Son but delivered Him to the curse of a law that we had broken. The Hebrew says in Psalm 22, "My God, my God, why have You abandoned me; why so far from delivering me and from my anguished roaring?"
We often think of Christ's suffering on the cross, the crown of thorns, the nails in His hands and feet, but there was suffering in knowing that He hadn’t done anything wrong, He also suffered in the anticipation of all of this. In Matthew 26:39, "And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." Then, there was the suffering of humiliation. Luke 23 records, "And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate." And, He suffered in silence on the cross, for sin that He never committed. But I believe it was the suffering of the soul that killed Him.
In Closing..
Jesus could see all the treachery, the hypocrisy, the calamity, the mockery, the shame, and the pain coming toward Him. In Matthew 23:37, He said "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling."
Christ's suffering was not the end, God would never leave His soul in the grave. On the third day, He would rise up and walk out of that grave, and is alive today and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. Next time, we'll look at how the disciples reacted. 
The purpose of this message, is not so that you will have more information about  Jesus Christ, but so that you might know Him and understand the suffering He endured for you, that you might seek the forgiveness and salvation He offers to you today. I pray that you will.
May it be so..
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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