The Lord's Suffering


The worksheets in this set of studies all focus on the suffering of Christ as seen in particular passages. Although there are, of course, many similarities, each passage has its own focus and emphasis, and no one passage covers everything. The directions for each study are at the bottom of the worksheet.


Matthew 16:21-23

This passage contains the first direct mention of the Lord's suffering. His rejection is associated with the beginning of the church (16:18), God's called-out assembly, rather than the millennial kingdom. Although the Lord's suffering was not what Peter expected (16:22-23), it was to serve as a model of unselfish living and dying for the church age disciples (16:24-26). The substitutionary aspect of the Lord's death for our sins is not directly mentioned, but Ephesians 5:25-27 shows that his suffering for the church involved love and had sanctification from sin as its goal.

A Few Key Questions
The worksheet above shows that many verses and passages can be described by answering a few key questions. 1.) What is it about? Often there is more than one subject. 2.) What is it not? This is describing the verse or passage using negatives. 3.) Who is it for? This involves both the original audience and those who read about it later. 4.) What is the purpose? This is often answered by phrases that begin with "to..." 5.) To what is the verse or passage closely linking? This primarily involves the context. 6.) What is it like or somewhat like? In answer to this, similar passages are included, but it can be even more helpful to compare the verse or passage to well-known physical objects or events in everyday life.

Like a Valley?
Matthew 16:2 and Peter's reaction to Jesus' prediction are much like a dark valley surrounded by foothills from which it is impossible to see a magnificent, high mountain in the distance. Although the prediction was negative in most ways, there was a happy ending, the resurrection. Sadly, Peter ignored that part and opposed the entire prediction. (Also see 26:31-35.) Like Peter, we too often are so focused on the negatives in our lives that we forget about the fact that the Lord is risen, alive, and at work.

Matthew 26:30-46

The Lord's prayerful struggle in the Garden of Gethsamane is the most emotionally intense manifestation of Jesus' passion. The only other text that is similar in this way is the "Why have you forsaken me?" cry from the cross (Matthew 27:46). Obviously the prayers in the Garden and this cry are closely related. They show that the Lord's suffering was not just physical and not just an example. His suffering for our sins was the greatest suffering of all time.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Isaiah's prophecies of the Suffering Servant are not, for the most part, controversial among Christians, but, of course, Jewish scholars argue that the Servant is the nation of Israel rather than an individual. The "we" and "us" references in chapter 53 seem to rule out their view. Moreover, the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-39 shows that the most natural reading of the passage is to take the Servant as a unique Individual.

Another theologically controversial aspect of the chapter is the meaning of "many" in 53:11. Does this mean that Christ only died for the elect rather than for everyone? The simplest explanation is that many in 53:11 and 52:15 contrasts with few rather than with all. The Lord was despised (53:3), but those who would be justified through his sacrifice were to be many rather than only a few.


The glory of the Lord Jesus was hidden from public view, including by the humble circumstances in which he was born and raised (53:1-2). In a way, this was lifelong suffering and is in line with Phil. 2:5-8. Of course, the suffering climaxed with the cross, however.

The final verse in chapter 53 and the following chapters show that reign of the Messiah over the nation of Israel and the world during the future kingdom are in view. So the Lord's suffering was in preparation for his reign, a key fact that many Christians fail to notice. The suffering is to be reversed or turned into glory and joy (Phil. 2:9-11). As Joseph was despised and rejected by his brothers but later reigned over them, so too the Lord Jesus shall reign over those who rejected him. This is a great paradox.

Click here to go to the ISAIAH Page.

1 Peter 2:21-25

The suffering of Christ was, of course, one time for all time as shown in 1 Peter 1:11, 2:24, 3:18, and Heb. 7:26-28. Yet in a way, it was also partly repetitive since the Lord was repeatedly reviled by his mockers. Yet each time Christ endured the abuse by looking past his revilers to the One who judges righteously (1 Pet. 2:23).

The Lord's suffering was not just exemplary since he truly bore our sins on the cross (2:24a, Isa. 53:4) as only he could do. However, Jesus also set an example for lowly servants and workers by enduring verbal and social abuse.

Nobody enjoys suffering. Yet, following the Lord's example in such is profitable because God hears the prayers of and helps believers who suffer unjustly (3:10-12). Though it is, of course, impossible to totally emulate the Lord's perfect example, God takes note of those who try with the Spirit's help to do so. For the righteous, there is a happy ending (2:25).

Click here to go to the First Peter Page.

MAKING YOUR OWN STUDIES -- with Describe-It-Yourself cards

You can make your own Descriptive Bible Studies using Describe-It-Yourself cards. All you need to do is: 1.) decide what passage(s) you wish to study, 2.) decide whom or what you wish to describe, and then 3.) use a DIY card set to help you describe what or whom you chose.

For More Information,
Click Here to Go to the
Descriptive Studies Page

There are Four Describe-It-Yourself Card Sets to choose from. Two sets, (A) and (B), are shorter to save time. In two sets, (A) and (M), all the cards have blank lines for extra thought stimulation. Over half of the cards in the Pro (P) set have blank lines as well. Beaginners may enjoy the simplicity of the Short List (B) set, but those with time for detailed studies may like the Mid List (M) or Pro List (P) sets. Yet, the best set for most users is Short List (A).

© 2022 Jon F. Mahar, Hakusan City, Japan, Alexander, Maine, U.S.A.