Sermon: The Three-Fold Suffering of Christ


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Purpose: To get us to see fully what Jesus experienced that we might live through the forgiveness of sins

The Three-Fold Suffering of Christ

Was the physical torture of the cross the only thing that Jesus suffered?

Matthew 27.1–50

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • March 6, In the year of our Lord, 2016

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Kevin Michael – Songs on the crucifixion; “He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels;” “Night with Ebon Pinon”


  1. What would it be like
    1. to be tortured to death
    2. with everyone you love,
      1. even God,
      2. forsaking you?
  2. This happened to our Teacher Jesus Christ.


  1. The Physical Pain of the Crucifixion
    1. A Roman crucifixion made a man suffer as long as possible,
      1. suspending him between life and death.
      2. In America, we execute humanely.
        1. Not the cruel Romans.
        2. Jesus died after six hours.
        3. Most men lasted three to six days!
          1. What we see today will show why He died earlier.
          2. Also, John 10 shows that Jesus died when He wanted to die.
    2. Moreover, Jesus suffered just before the execution.
      1. Luke 22 shows Jesus in a physically draining prayer,

        44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22.44).
      2. Afterwards, He endured six trials during the night,
        1. depriving Him of food and sleep.
        2. At the trials, He endured pain.
          1. Mark 14 shows the Jews beating the Lamb Jesus,

            65 Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands (Mark 14.65).
          2. Matthew 27 shows the Romans
            1. beating the harmless Jesus,

              30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head (Matt 27.30).
            2. Striking Him on the head with a reed
              1. hurt because of what verse 29 shows,

                29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matt 27.29).
              2. The reed drove the crown of thorns into His head, but
                1. the crown would bounce back up, because
                2. the thorns would be going in every direction.
            3. Verse 26 shows another thing the Romans did,

              26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified (Matt 27.26).

              1. They stripped Him, exposing His backside,
              2. bent His body over a post, tightening the skin, and
              3. a soldier whipped His back
                1. with a device of several strands of leather
                2. with sharp objects tied to the ends.
    3. John 19 reveals that the Romans humiliated Jesus more,
      1. making Him carry His own cross,
      2. which would not have felt good on His scourged backside,

        17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha (John 19.17).

        1. Imagine carrying your own instrument of crucifixion.
        2. Then the executioner takes it from you and executes you with it!
    4. Then they crucified Him.
      1. Mark 15, typical of the other three gospel accounts,
        1. leaves out the gory details, because
        2. a first century audience knew the horrors already.

          24 And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. 25 Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him (Mark 15.24–25).
      2. They laid Him on the cross, and
        1. drove spikes through His hands and His feet.
        2. They raised Him up and dropped the cross into a hole.
      3. They left Him hanging there from the nails.
        1. Imagine the weight of His body pulling at the nails in His hands,
        2. pressing down on the nails in His feet.
          1. In time, this made breathing difficult,
            1. so He pushed on His feet
            2. —with nails in them!—
            3. to relieve the pressure on His upper body.
          2. This explains why the Jews asked Pilate
            1. to break the legs of the three men,
            2. since the Sabbath was the next day.
              1. They would die from both the pain of two broken legs and
              2. from asphyxiation.
                1. However, the soldiers did not need to break His legs.
                2. He had already died.
        3. Jesus experienced the ravages of dehydration,

          28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” (John 19.28).

          1. He lost fluid in prayer,
          2. He lost blood during
            1. the beatings,
            2. the scourging and
            3. the crucifixion.
    5. Then, He died.
      1. John 19 records the deed that shook the Earth and veiled the sun,

        30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit (John 19.30).
      2. He found freedom from pain.
    6. We can endure almost anything with the support of family and friends.
      1. What if few of those family and friends are present?
      2. What if the others decided not to be there?
  2. The Emotional Pain of the Crucifixion
    1. Everyone rejected Him.
      1. John 1 makes a sad commentary on the world,

        10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him (John 1.10).
      2. Verse 11 adds another dimension to His emotional rejection,

        11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him (John 1.11).

        1. The world and Israel should have known Him,
        2. instead the world and Israel conspired together to kill Him (Psa 2).
      3. Isaiah 53 shows that this rejection hurt Jesus deeply,

        3 He is despised and rejected by men,
        A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
        And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
        He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
        (Isa 53.3).

        1. When the Jews and the Romans spit in His face (Matt 27.30, 67),
        2. they showed their rejection of Him.
    2. His disciples forsook Him.
      1. Matthew 26 moves us from the world and Israel to His disciples.

        56 “But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled (Matt 26.56).
      2. Where were those whom He healed?
      3. Where were those whom He set free from sin?
      4. Where were those who claimed to love Him most?
    3. One disciple betrayed Him.
      1. Luke 22 presents the worse betrayal in history,

        48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22.48).
      2. Pretending friendship although the worse enemy.
    4. One disciple denied Him.
      1. Luke 22 has the sad story of Peter’s denial,
        1. only a few hours after he promised his undying loyalty,

          54 Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. 55 Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.” 57 But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” 58 And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59 Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed (Luke 22.54–60).
      2. One denial is sinful, but we understand a momentary slip up.
        1. But three,
        2. with an hour after the second one for him to think?
    5. People mocked Him
      1. by taking Him who is the Life to a place of death (Matt 27.33–34);
      2. by stripping Him naked (Matt 27.35);
      3. by sitting down and staring at Him (Matt 27.36);
      4. by writing over Him,

        37 …THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS (Matt 27.37), because

        1. He did not appear kingly;
      5. by crucifying Him between two robbers,
        1. as though He was the epitome of a criminal (Matt 27.38);
      6. by wagging their heads at Him and
        1. reproaching Him (Matt 27.39–44).
    6. Yet, Jesus experienced a pain worse than bodily pain and emotional pain, for
      1. He never cried out about these two, but
      2. did the third one.
  3. The Spiritual Pain of the Crucifixion
    1. Matthew 26 shows
      1. that the mere anticipation almost killed Jesus!

        36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me” (Matt 26.36–38).
      2. Something bothered Him who controlled every situation.
        1. Anticipating an Arterial Blood Gas puncture made me faint.
        2. My dad had it done, and
          1. he experienced excruciating pain.
          2. I told that to the man who would do the test, and
            1. he said a nerve runs along the artery, and
            2. when you hit it,
              1. it puts people through the roof, but
              2. he assured me he would try to miss it. He did.
    2. Continue with Jesus, as we read Matthew 26 and hear His prayer
      1. for the passing away of the crucifixion,

        39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” 40 Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, “What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words (Matt 26.39–44).
      2. What moved Him to ask three times for the removal of the cross?
    3. We now turn to the next chapter, Matthew 27,
      1. to discover the spiritual pain of the crucifixion,

        46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt 27.46).
      2. Sin separates us from God (Isa 59.1–2), because
        1. He cannot look on sin (Hab 1.13).
        2. Second Corinthians 5 makes this astounding declaration of Jesus,

          21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2Co 5.21).

          1. Jesus experienced on the cross what we will experience,
          2. if we remain in sin.
            1. Jesus experienced separation from God and
            2. it tore Jesus up!
    4. The pain of separation from His Father vexed Jesus more than
      1. the physical pain and
      2. the emotional pain.
        1. He never cried in agony over the pain of the nails.
        2. He never cried in agony over those who forsook Him.
    5. The Son of God experienced the fullness of the wrath of God,
      1. physically,
      2. emotionally, and
      3. spiritually for us!
    6. Isaiah 53 helps us to see the spiritual suffering of Him who never sinned,

      10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
      He has put Him to grief.
      When You make His soul an offering for sin,
      He shall see His seed,
      He shall prolong His days,
      And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
      11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
      By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
      For He shall bear their iniquities.
      12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
      And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
      Because He poured out His soul unto death,
      And He was numbered with the transgressors,
      And He bore the sin of many,
      And made intercession for the transgressors
      (Isa 53.10–12).

        1. No one volunteered to die with Him,
          1. to back up their promises of loyalty, or
          2. to show their appreciation for what He had done for them.
        2. Surely, God would be with Jesus!
          1. Then we hear those haunting words,

            “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”


  1. You do not have to be separated from God!
  2. Do you know what to do?
    1. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?
    2. Are you ready to change your life?
    3. Are you ready to be baptized, and
      1. commit yourself to Jesus fully
      2. for the rest of your life?
        1. If so, then what are you doing sitting there?
        2. Get up, come forward, as we all stand and sing.