Mark tells us that at this time Jesus “began to teach the that the Son of Man must suffer many things.” This was certainly a new lesson for mankind to learn. Before this, man had been taught that a “Son of Man” should never suffer – that those who were elevated should be exempt from suffering and pain. This was a thought that was deeply rooted in the hearts of Jews and Gentiles. The Gentile bowed down before overwhelming strength – such strength that would never bow down to another. The Jew honored those men who were favored with fortune’s smile. These were those, sons of the morning, that were thought to be the nearest and dearest to God.
Christianity, however, began to paint a completely opposite and novel idea on the canvass of man’s conscience. Christianity came and taught that the true test of a man’s height of a man was his capacity, not his inability, to feel. “The Son of Man must suffer many things…” It wasn’t a “might” or a “maybe,” it was an absolute certainty. Suffering is seen in the fact that He is the Son of Man – that He is on the mountain’s height. If He were not so elevated He would have been protected. The very position of His person placed Him in the center of sin’s crucible. Don’t forget that this was the very source of Jesus’ time of tempting in the wilderness. The Devil came and said, “If you really are the Son of Man then you ought to enjoy yourself. You ought never have a want for bread. You should never experience the fear of falling. You should never worry over the world’s kingdom or lack their glory. You should live decadently, walk daringly and rule despotically.” Christ turned all of this on its head. He taught that it was for the very reason that He is the Son of Man that He was certain to suffer – to personally experience the world’s hunger for bread, fear of falling or the burden of being bound down by the tyrants of the world. Even though He stands at the top, He serves as a picture of the principle for those who are climbing after Him.
There is indeed a suffering that only the good can know. There is a fire that is stoked for the man of God, a lion’s den that is reserved for the holy. Not every eye can shed tears over Jerusalem – that is a supernatural and spiritual gift from God alone. The rough crowd around Christ’s cross said, “Let God rescue Him if He delights in Him!” – if He is so good then why does He suffer so? The truth is that if He had not been so good He wouldn’t have suffered as much. It was His purity that brought His pain; His tenderness that caused His tears; His selflessness that brought His sorrow; His righteousness that caused His restlessness; His kindness that cost Him His kin; His crown that caused His cross. He didn’t even have a place to lay His head – because He was the Son of Man.
Learn the lesson that Christ began to teach, that His pain can cure all other pain. There is no remedy in the world like the one whereby His sorrow overcomes all. There is nothing other than His unselfish grief that can remove my selfish care. Joy doesn’t have the ability; concern would corrupt it in a matter of moments. Beauty doesn’t have the desire; the dust of this life would dim it in a day. Fame doesn’t have the strength; the worn heart would surely wither over night. Wealth doesn’t have the wherewithal; the power of personal toil would rip it from my soul. However, if there were a way that I could receive Heaven’s remedy, then I would be healed. He can give it.
What a tremendous thought! To know that when He gives a new care, the old one dies. When He shares His weight, the old one is lifted. When He gives His cross, I am crowned. Listen closely to the wails of the weary and yours will become silent. Lift the load of the poor and yours will be lightened. Carry the weight of the weak and yours will be removed. Listen to the sighs of the sick and yours will suddenly cease. Share in the task of those who toil and yours will be tearless. Touch the hand of the leper and yours will be healed. Help the feet of the lame and yours will rise up and run. Catch those who fall into temptation and be caught yourself. May the Son of Man’s pain be a panacea for every pain in your life.