Jesus has suffered what you suffer. Jesus understands.
As we near the end of our weeks studying the lives of scripture’s unheralded women, it is fitting to pause at the centerpiece of the whole story of the Bible – the cross.
Oddly, of the men, only John is reported to have been at the cross. But “many women” were there. “There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee” (Matthew 27:55–56, ESV).
The women were willing to watch and weep.
There is value in looking long and deep at Jesus’ suffering because Paul highlights the virtue of “sharing” in Christ’s suffering (Philippians 3:10). Literally, Paul says, we have the “koinoina” (fellowship) of His sufferings.
Friend and musician Tommy Hicks was attending a professional golf tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina a few years ago. A large crowd had gathered to watch PGA great, Ernie Els, at the practice tee. Hopeful fans had been calling for Els’ autograph, but the champion was intent on his practice.
It all changed when Tommy called out.
“Mr. Els,” Tommy exclaimed, “You and I have something in common. My son has autism.”
Without another swing, Ernie Els handed his club to his caddie and came straight toward Tommy.
The two spoke and shared their stories. Ernie Els also has a son on the autism spectrum. Els has established a foundation for autism research.
A whole crowd of fans couldn’t get the great golfer’s attention. But one man who shared the fellowship of his sufferings moved Els instantly.
The fellowship of sufferings with Christ doesn’t mean that you have to experience everything that Christ suffered in order to identify with Him. It means that no matter what you suffer, Christ is instantly in fellowship with you at every point. And that’s the Gospel!