Jesus and Suffering TASK 1 Write the Title, ‘Jesus and Suffering’ then copy the following paragraph: Christians believe that no one can escape suffering as it is a part of life. Suffering and evil came to this earth because of the choices of the first humans Adam and Eve, which was known as the ‘Fall’. Since that time no-one has escaped the suffering caused by natural and moral evil. Jesus Suffering for People In the Old Testament of the Bible there is mention of a Messiah who was to come to free the Jews from their enemies. This person was prophesied about was called the ‘Suffering Servant’ who would come to earth to suffer for people’s sins. For example, in Isaiah chapter 53 in the Old Testament it says: ‘……… he endured the suffering that should have been ours.’ and ‘The Lord says, It was my will that he should suffer; his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness’. Christians believe that Jesus suffered on the for people to make them right with God. TASK 2 Draw the following diagram to explain the Christian view on suffering and evil. THE FALL THE JEWISH LAW JESUS’ DEATH TASK 3 Write 5 sentences on the sufferings of Jesus at the end of his life. Jesus Suffering with People Christians also believe that Jesus suffers with people and cares for all they are going through on this earth. They believe that that suffering is part of human existence, but when they die and go to be with God there will be no more suffering. Revelation 21:4 states, ‘ He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more grief or crying or pain’ TASK 4 Read the story of the ‘Long Silence’ and answer questions that follow. The Long Silence At the end of time, billions of people were scattered on the vast plain before God's Throne. Some shrank back from the brilliant light before them. But many other groups talked heatedly, not cringing with shame, but with belligerence. "Can God judge us? How can He know about suffering?", snapped a pert brunette. She ripped open a sleeve to reveal a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp. "We endured terror ... beating ... torture ... death!" In another group a Negro boy lowered his collar. "What about this?" he demanded, showing an ugly rope burn. "Lynched, for no crime but being black." In another crowd there was a pregnant schoolgirl with sullen eyes: "Why should I suffer?" she murmured. "It wasn't my fault." Far out across the plain were thousands of such groups. Each had a complaint against God for all the evil end suffering He had permitted in His world. How lucky God was to live in Heaven, where all was sweetness and light, where there was no weeping end fear, no hunger or hatred, no sickness or sorrow. What did God know of all that human-kind had been forced to endure in this world? After all, they said, God leads a rather sheltered sort of life. So each of these groups sent forth a leader, especially chosen because they had suffered the most. A Jew, a Negro, a person from Hiroshima, a horribly deformed arthritic, a thalidomide child, an AIDS victim. In the centre of the vast plain, these leaders consulted with each other. At last they were ready to present their case, item by item, leader by leader, to God. Before God could be qualified to be their Judge, He must endure what they had endured. Their decision was that God should be sentenced to live on earth as a human being, as a man. Let him be born of the most despised race, a Jew, in poverty-stricken conditions. Let the legitimacy of his birth be doubted. As a child, let him be forced to flee as a refugee, and live several years in a foreign country. Then give him a work to do, and an ideal to uphold that is so difficult that even his own family will think him out of his mind when he tries to do it. Let him be betrayed by his closest colleague, into the hands of those who hate him. Let him face false charges, be tried by a prejudiced Jury, and convicted by a cowardly judge. At the last, let him see what it means to be terribly, terribly alone - forsaken of all his friends. Let him be tortured. Then let him die. Let him die the most excruciating, end humiliating death possible, before a taunting, reviling crowd. As each leader announced his portion of the sentence, loud murmurs of approval went up from the whole assembled throng. When the last leader had finished pronouncing his part of God's sentence, there was a long silence. No-one uttered another word. Nobody moved. For suddenly, everybody knew that God had already served His sentence. 1 Give examples of at least 4 of the complaints that people in the story made against God. 2 What do you think is the worst type of suffering that people could go through? 3 Do you think that they are right to blame God for their suffering? Give your reasons. 4 Why do you think that the story is called, ‘The Long Silence’? 5 Do you think everyone has responsibility to care about the suffering of other people?