Suffering Before Glory
Jesus will often speak about His upcoming death (Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; Mark 8:31; 9:31-32; 10:32-34; Luke 9:21-22, 43-45; 18:31-33). Jesus especially talked with His disciples about His death the closer it drew. One impressive section where Jesus discusses the impact of His death is John 12:23-33. Jesus will speak about His soul being troubled by His upcoming death yet He is also aware of the fact His death was necessary to carry out the Father’s purpose (John 12:27). Jesus recognizes His death is the means by which the Father and He will be glorified (John 12:23, 28). Glory would come to the Father and to Jesus by means of Jesus’ suffering upon the cross. Jesus teaches His example of suffering and laying down His life is an example His disciples must be willing to follow (John 12:25-26). Just as Jesus’ suffering preceded and led to Him being glorified our suffering will precede and lead to our glorification. These concepts are not taught only in John 12 but in other places throughout Scripture. Let’s take a look at some other passages which teach the principle of suffering before glory.
- Romans 8:17 - “And if children, then heirs - heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (NKJV). As children of God, we are heirs and yet in order to be glorified with Christ we must also suffer with Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 4:17 - “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (NKJV). The suffering the people of God undergo in this life is momentary in contrast to the eternal reward we stand to receive. The suffering the people of God undergo in this life is light compared to the weight of glory we stand to receive. Let us recognize light, momentary affliction is said in this passage to be, “working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (NKJV). Suffering according to this passage precedes us receiving the eternal glory we are seeking after.
- 1 Peter 1:6-7 - “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (NKJV). Christians undergo trials and yet such trials can help to refine or prove the quality of our faith. If our faith is what it ought to be, we receive praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ although we had to suffer beforehand to receive it.
- 1 Peter 5:10 - “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (NKJV). Here God is said to perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you after we have suffered a while. All of us might want to be perfected, established, strengthened, and settled. In order to receive these things though we often must first suffer for a while.
When we are suffering, it might help us to remember the example of Jesus. When we are suffering, it might help to think we are getting to have a small sharing in what Jesus underwent (Philippians 3:10). When we are suffering, it might be helpful to remember suffering is the path Jesus walked to receive glory and the path we must walk in order to receive glory from God as well.