Jesus and Suffering

Brian, over at the Blog Prophet, asks why it is that Jesus gets a free pass when we talk about all the bad guys being wiped out in the OT. Jesus comes under no judgment for any of that OT business. Was He not in the godhead then? Was He a conscientious objector?

Marcionism was an early church heresy that said that the OT god is not the NT god, to deal with the discrepancies between the testaments. That is heresy. Jesus was in the beginning with God and was God.

Here is the main shift in who suffers between the OT and the NT. In the OT the guys that got killed were the sinners; in the NT the guys who get killed are the good guys.

When Israel sinned they got wiped out. The ground opened up, snakes went through, people were stoned, etc. Evil nations were wiped out by Israel because they were evil and Israel was God’s chosen people.

When God makes people suffer in the OT He does it for sin.

In the NT suffering is more often than not a sign that you are righteous. All that live godly will suffer persecution. So the disciples (except John who wasted away in prison) were killed, Stephen, Paul, John the Baptist, all of em were killed. And, of course, Jesus Himself suffers and dies (this fact gets Him “off the hook” for allowing others to suffer).

Apparently God realized that killing bad guys was not an effective strategy, because, like, when do you stop? So He switched things up, now He takes out the good guys. Precious to the Lord is the death of His saints.

Not sure if we are aware of this or not, but people keep right on dying. It’s kind of what happens. Sometimes it’s a direct result of our choices, sometimes it seems rather arbitrary.

Either way, God is the one in charge of the living and the dead. He always has been and always will be. I may not understand all that He does but I trust it is righteous, just and good.

7 thoughts on “Jesus and Suffering”

  1. Perhaps you’re being facetious, but do you mean to say that something God was doing in the OT wasn’t effective? And that God changed between the OT and NT?

    Surely there’s a deeper connection between the 2 testaments than that.

  2. I am not saying that God changed at all, not sure where you got that from. That was the point I was refuting.

  3. “Apparently God realized that killing bad guys was not an effective strategy, because, like, when do you stop? So He switched things up, now He takes out the good guys.”

  4. In reading the OT we see God pouring out His blessing on Israel, like a Father who desires to give good gifts to his children. But the Israelites were constantly turning their hearts from trusting God, to trusting in themselves and their blessings. The OT has much more of a prosperity message for God’s people than the NT. Just because God’s method has changed (new covenant) on how He now blesses His children, doesn’t mean His character has changed. Also I believe Jeff was being a little tongue in cheek with the statement you were referring to.

    Blessings

  5. Oh, the tongue-in-cheekness went over my head!

    I still don’t understand: if God’s method changes, there’s a reason for it. If I’m doing something, and then I change my method, it means what I was doing first wasn’t working. Did God fail at something during OT times?

  6. I was being a tad tongue in cheek. Sorry for the unclarity.

    God does not change, but the way he deals with people does. he doesn’t always send floods, open up the ground and swallow people, sentence the child born to adultery to death, etc. This does not mean God changes, it means he deals with people differently.

    There is somewhat of a shift from before the cross to after, but much less than most people make it seem. God is the same in that sinners will be punished and repentant believers will be rewarded. This is always his way, his time table is different. I don’t know why. It is part of the unsearchable wisdom of God. God did not fail. If he changes what he does, it is not because of a fault with him.

  7. The problem is probably with us. To us it seems that God has changed, which means we are most likely overlooking the longsuffering, grace, and goodness of God in the Old Testament, and overlooking the amount of judgment that has taken place in the last 2000 years.

    According to the New Testament, we are even more guilty than those in the Old Testament, if we neglect the greater light of the gospel. Therefore we should expect to see greater judgments from the time of the cross.

    Just a brief survey of the last 2000 years seems to indicate that this is probably so. Consider the bloodbath of the French Revolution, the huge amount of lives lost in the two world wars, the decimation caused by the Black Plague, the desolating influence of Genghis Kahn, the wars between Europe and the Mohammedan nations…to mention only a few. And that’s not counting the Seven Last Plagues yet to come, which will practically depopulate the earth.

    Maybe we are partly blinded because we live in countries that hoard much of the wealth of the world, at the expense of the poorer nations. There is a tendency to mistake this prosperity as a sign of “God’s blessing and approval,” when in fact, it too will have a day of reckoning.

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