The Suffering of (the) Christ…?

I have heard a claim for years and I am not sure how warranted it actually is. Here is the claim:

‘Jesus suffered more than any person that ever lived’

Christians use all kinds of sayings to depict this idea…but is it true?

I am not saying Jesus did not suffer – crucifixion and torture are both horrible ways to go. But did he suffer more than…well…let’s say other political prisoners crucified during his era? What makes his suffering worse if this is the case?

Also, suffered more than anyone that ever lived? I don’t know about everyone else but I have quite a few stories of people that have suffered a lot worse. For example, I read a story about a girl that was enslaved by her father for 28 years in a basement and forced to raise their 5 kids (all incest) without any real sunlight or freedom. By any and all accounts she was a prsioner of her father’s for that whole time – suffering massive mental trauma and a variety of health concerns (bore children without a doctor’s aide – 5 times). Then there are stories from World War II and some of the stuff those victims had to endure for months even years one end…just to end up dying of starvation.

In fact, most Christian will openly admit Jesus died within 6 hours of being on the cross from the torture prior…which amounts to about 7 or 8 hours of suffering in total. In comparison to many months even years of suffering that is like a very minut %.

I think the claim is over-exaggerated for the sake of telling a good story. I think the messiah suffered – from the stories – this is not the way I would choose to go out that’s for sure. The point the bible is making is the messiah suffered – a rather new concept for it’s day – and unheard of for the messiah (made no sense in the messianic ideology). The point is he did not suffer more than every single person ever – actually there is no scripture supporting this claim.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “The Suffering of (the) Christ…?

  1. i dunno about that claim. seems to be a bit of an overstatement and based on a particular atonement model… namely the penal substitution model where Christ takes on the sin and suffering of the world.. so in the model yeah, i can see why someone would say that.. but i have problems with that model.

  2. but i have problems with that model. (Luke)

    Why would you have problems with the model? What is wrong with the model?

    The point is he did not suffer more than every single person ever (SVS)

    But how are you so sure? Suppose Jesus did suffer for all of humanity for all time then he would have suffered the above mentioned tragedies during his suffering. His suffering becomes greater than all, because he suffers all the tragedies put together, not just the singular tragedies that you, or I, or others have suffered.

  3. “Suppose Jesus did suffer for all of humanity for all time then he would have suffered the above mentioned tragedies during his suffering” (Just1)

    That’s a supposition – we have to suppose this is true to believe it.

    The actual gospel stories mention nothing of the sort when they play out his death in each one. We see a man that suffer’s at the hands of the Roman guards and is crucified – and dies rather quickly (6 hours or so). I think that is suffering nonetheless – but I know of way worse cases than that. No matter how hard Mel Gibson tries – that death is bloody but no worse than others who suffered the same fate (even in his days).

    In the end he dies without God – feels that final seperation (as exclaimed in Mark). This is as human as anyone can ever wish to be – this man was verifiably human…and his suffering is like ours…and maybe that is the point.

  4. stupid computers – don’t push the tab button accidently, when you are making a comment. You can delete the previous post since I wasn’t really finished with it

  5. that death is bloody but no worse than others who suffered the same fate (even in his days).
    In the end he dies without God – feels that final seperation (as exclaimed in Mark). This is as human as anyone can ever wish to be – this man was verifiably human…and his suffering is like ours…and maybe that is the point. (SVS)

    Possibly, if we only look at Jesus’ suffering from our human understanding, As humans we can only know our own indiviudal suffering and speculate on the suffering of our fellow human beings, but we can’t truly know their suffering because it their suffering and not ours. Thus we do not know what Jesus truly suffered. It is quite possible that he suffered more than we can imagine, and could have suffered more than anyone else in the world.

    I’m not saying its true, just saying its possible.

    I figure, just because its not written in scripture that does not mean it didn’t happen. Jesus suffering more than anyone else, although not in scripture, still could have happened

  6. God kills God to appease God for a rule God made. (Luke)

    Oh, I thought you were talking about something else. I thought you were making a comment on the idea that Jesus suffered more than anyone person that ever lived and not about the penal substitution model.

    Even so, what is the problem with this. Logically I can see where the above statement does not make any sense, but isn’t this statement an oversimplification of a person’s beliefs. Some people, a lot actually, believe that God bore the sin and suffering of humanity on himself. It may seem illogical, but so what, there are a lot of illogical things that happen in life. Why should faith be any different.

  7. “Possibly, if we only look at Jesus’ suffering from our human understanding” (Just1)

    But isn’t that all we really have to look at it from? I think it makes more sense to look at it from a human perspective – forgoing the theological assumptions – because I think if he was human then his death is something we can look at it and find some hope in/comfort in…in our own sufferings at death.

    “Thus we do not know what Jesus truly suffered. It is quite possible that he suffered more than we can imagine, and could have suffered more than anyone else in the world.” (Just1)

    I agree – we cannot know…so can we relate? That is the better question.

    But why is his suffering more than most anyone else…I wonder if we suffer on behalf of others also sometimes? Maybe someone gives their life to save another’s for example.

    I know I know, God made him to be sin who was not sin – carried the sin of the world, etc. I mean, this makes his sacrifice more big – but why does it make the suffering more big? I mean, that’s a death Jesus might have actually looked at and more readily accepted (for all the people to ‘save’ them). Whereas someone suffering for themselves – well – they die alone and without the benefit of knowing for whom. And how can they relate to Jesus in the end…who knew the end and the future? And why did he cry out ‘God why have you forsaken me’ if this was the case?

    I think the sacrifice was greater – but was the suffering greater than everyone else? I wonder this sometimes when I watch a show and see the absolute brutality some people suffer through and then die…not sure why this comes to me in my thoughts – I guess I wonder if the claim is exaggerated?

  8. “Some people, a lot actually, believe that God bore the sin and suffering of humanity on himself.”

    it is an oversimplification yes… i think it has something to do with how i view God and the scriptures. for one who doesn’t buy into the Augustinian model, with the whole original sin thing, i logically can’t come to the penal substitution model. esp. if “God is love.”

    why?

    after all, many argue that it was because God so loved the world that Christ came to die while we were yet sinners. and through God’s love that’s why Christ died instead of us.

    i don’t think God would need to prove God’s love to us nor need to kill to prove the point. God is smarter than that… we on the other hand… aren’t. we are very much still children and politically invested in our institutions we think are natural and God given. this is why when God comes down, incarnates, we are immature enough to kill a messenger of good news, forgiveness, reconcilation and communal affirmation. God’s response is to come back and say “i forgive you.. you don’t know what you’re doing… so anyway, like i was saying before you nailed me to some wood…” and there’s no smite’n or judging. just love and forgiveness. if God is love and God doesn’t change (both biblical concepts) then it’s logically impossible to believe in penal substitution because it’s simply not in God’s nature.

  9. **i don’t think God would need to prove God’s love to us nor need to kill to prove the point**

    Why would God not need to prove his love for us?

    He didn’t kill, by the way, we killed Him. And He forgave us. Hmm, that’s how we see God’s love, isn’t it? It’s unfathomable.

    Jason, it was the uniqueness of the sufferer that makes all the difference in the suffering.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s