How Could God Love The World So Much, While Allowing Evil, Suffering And Death?
A mistake that is sometimes made concerning God is to believe that He is somehow unfamiliar with our difficulties. In truth, the Bible reveals that God made us in His Image and we are like Him. We have a heart that can be broken; God also has a heart that is often broken. When the Lord saw what was happening on the earth and the extreme suffering we were experiencing, it broke His heart. Before time began or the earth existed, Jesus offered Himself for us so that we might be rescued from our suffering. When Jesus died upon the cross for our sins, David wrote that His heart would break over His great love for us and the intense suffering He would experience for our sins.
The Messiah will be crucified, and die from a ruptured heart.
Old Testament Prediction:
Psalms 22:14 … My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me.”
New Testament Fulfillment:
John 19:34 “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”
Unparalleled Prophetic Detail:
From verses 13-17, Psalm 22 is clearly a description of a person being crucified. An amazing fact when we consider that David wrote this stunning description of the Messiah 1,000 years before Jesus was born and 600 years before the Persians invented this horrific method of execution.
By the time Jesus was condemned to die on the cross, the Romans had perfected what is described as the most painful method of death a man could experience. The word “crucifixion” originates from the word, excruciating, which means “agonizing or very embarrassing.” The agony of crucifixion is described as so intense and traumatic, that many a man would expire on the cross from the pain alone.
There are so many details in this 22nd Psalm that accurately describe the excruciating experience of the Messiah under crucifixion. It is certain that these words were written exclusively for Jesus, who fulfilled every verse of this execution narrative. This account is a vivid description of what the Messiah will endure, when He arrives at Jerusalem to fulfill His appointed place in human history.
It has been calculated that the odds of one person having the capacity to fulfill just eight of the 365 prophecies listed in this book, as greater than 1017. To give you an idea just how enormous this number is: Scientists who believe that the universe originated from a singularity estimate that, since the initial Big Bang, there have been 1017 seconds that have passed, or about 13.7 billion earth years.
The 22nd Psalm contains 17 predictions regarding the death of the Messiah. The probability that Jesus could fulfill just 17 of these prophecies, which are described in this book, is beyond any mathematical probability that He could have done so by accident. The fact that He fulfilled all 365 prophecies perfectly demands that we acknowledge Him as the intended subject of these predictions. The purpose of this book is to document the facts that support the fulfillment of all the Hebrew prophecies of the Messiah, accomplished by Jesus of Nazareth.
The Messiah’s Suffering Was More Than Physical
Jesus paid for our sins in both His body and His soul. Living as a perfect man in a fallen world, alone, was an incredibly difficult task for Jesus and caused Him unimaginable suffering. As righteous Lot was daily vexed in his soul by living in Sodom and Gomorrah, so also was Jesus deeply hurt by seeing the effect that sin had on human life. As He observed how sickness and death touched so many people, it grieved Jesus deeply in His soul. The Lord watched, as lives were shattered by hatred, greed, and a callous disregard for God in every part of their life. Jesus grieved, and He suffered as a result of living amongst us for 30 years.
As the day of Jesus’ crucifixion drew near, His heartbreak for mankind increased drastically. In Matthew 26:38, Jesus told His disciples:
Matthew 26:38 “…My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
All that Jesus asked of His friends was that they stay awake on the final night of His life, and pray with Him. These men who had vowed to die for their Lord were so weak in their flesh, that they could not fulfill this simple request. Jesus was left alone to bear the stress and anxiety of what He knew was ahead, in just a few hours. As the soldiers drew near to arrest Jesus, He would endure six illegal trials throughout the night and be brutally beaten and tortured. See the article: Six Illegal Trials.
It is safe to say that Jesus experienced more mental anguish and went through greater physical suffering than any human being has ever endured. The reason why this is true is that no human being has ever had to bear the entire horror and burden of every sin that has been committed by all human beings. As Jesus took the full weight of the sins of the world upon Himself, this was the source of His greatest suffering.
Consider This Mental image:
Take all of the sins you have committed throughout your life and place them into a container. Now combine the sins of every member of your family. Next, take all the horrible things everyone in your city has done throughout their lifetime, and add these to the container. Finally, pour in the horrors of all the vile and filthy sins that all people have committed during the entire history of the world.
All these horrifying, loathsome, and unimaginable transgressions were combined together into a single cup that Jesus would drink from, in order to redeem us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He (the Father) made Him (the Son) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
1 Peter 2:24 (Jesus) who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree…
This requirement that Jesus would become all of our sins was perhaps the greatest suffering He experienced. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked the Father if He would remove His need to drink from this cup of judgement. To take all of our sins would mean that Jesus could no longer have fellowship with the Father. It was this reality that terrified Jesus the most.
Luke 22:42-44 (Jesus) saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup (of sin) away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.… And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
There was no other way we could be set free from our sins and obtain eternal life, except that Jesus would drink from this cup and bear all of our debts upon the cross. The stress and anguish of this moment caused a physical manifestation of devastation in Jesus’ body, which very few human beings have ever experienced.
According to medical science, during a moment of tremendous stress, the sweat glands of a person may rupture and emit drops of blood through the skin. This condition is known as “Hematidrosis.” Jesus was under such intense pressure at the knowledge that He was about to bear the sins of the whole world, that He sweat great drops of blood.
This is a stunning example of the physical force that was upon Jesus while going to the cross on our behalf. Paul later used this example, when Jesus sweat blood, as encouragement for us when we are suffering distress in our own life.
No matter how great our suffering might be, regardless of the distress we might be under, very few of us will ever sweat drops of blood as a result of our suffering. Although Jesus was the Son of God, He learned obedience by the things He suffered for us.
Hebrews 12:2-4 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.”
The Horrible Consequences Of Crucifixion
Death by crucifixion was really death by suffocation. As the condemned person’s arms are outstretched to each side of the upper cross member, the lungs are compressed, causing great difficulty in breathing.
The only way the condemned may take a breath is by pushing down onto the wooden cross with their pierced feet, to relieve pressure on the upper arms. This allowed the lungs to decompress, permitting air to be taken into the lungs. The intense pain that would be experienced by pushing down on the two feet, which are nailed to the cross, would be unimaginable. With each lifting of the body, the torn and bleeding back of Jesus would scrape against the splintered wood of the cross, causing additional tearing and bleeding.
During the crucifixions of this day, many of the condemned were scourged before being placed on the cross. The purpose of the scourge was to exact a confession of guilt. If a confession of the crimes committed was made early, the criminal would receive fewer lashes from the scourge. In Jesus’ case, He had no crimes to confess because He was innocent of all charges to which He was accused. Paradoxically, because Jesus was innocent He endured greater suffering, as He was forced to take all 39 lashes. The torture of the scourge was so severe, that many men expired long before they made it to the cross.
This Prophecy From Psalm 22:14, Describes The Messiah’s Heart, Melting Like Wax Within Him
Finally, when dehydration and exhaustion ended the efforts of the crucified to raise their body up to breathe, the torture achieved its intended goal. Being deprived of oxygen, the heart begins to accelerate its rate to over 300 beats per minute, called “tachycardia.”
In one final massive failure, the heart bursts due to the stress placed upon it, and the crucified dies immediately.
The testimony of those who were present at the time Jesus was crucified describes a Roman soldier, who pierced Jesus’ side to ensure that He was dead. As the lance pierced Jesus’ flesh, blood and water came out from the wound.
John 19:34 “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”
Medical science describes the process of intense stress on the heart when under the suffering of crucifixion: The outer lining of the heart will often fill with fluid. As the heart races to try and carry the limited availability of oxygen to the lungs, the stress becomes so great that the heart ruptures. The presence of blood and water from the wound, as described by the Apostle John, is an indication that Jesus’ heart had ruptured due to “pericardial effusion.” Literally, Jesus’ heart melted within Him, and He died of a broken heart.
The horror of crucifixion is the topic of Psalm 22. Unquestionably, David was not describing anything he had personally experienced. He was never placed on a cross, nor had anyone in Israel ever heard of this brutal form of death before. The specific details written by David that graphically describe a man being pierced in his hands and feet, his ribs protruding due to his outstretched arms, and ruptured heart from the intense suffering of the cross, were written one thousand years before this horrific form of death was invented.
David’s description in Psalm 22 was clearly intended as a prophetic prediction for the coming Messiah.
As we compare the prophecies of Psalm 22 with the accounts of those who witnessed Jesus’ scourging and death, we find that all of the reports made concerning His final hours on the cross are identical to the descriptions David made in the four prophecies of Psalm 22:14-16.
These events are described, in vivid detail, by David ten centuries before Jesus’ death took place.
For a detailed medical account of what Jesus experienced while being crucified, see the chapter, Crucified.
The Preceding Is From The Book, “These Things Were Written,” By Robert Clifton Robinson. See It Here
1 The idea of being “heartbroken,” comes from the term “longsuffering.” In this description, we see that God has long endured—with great suffering—the difficulties that we experience during our lives. “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Psalms 86:15
2 Encyclopedia Britannica. “Encyclopedia Britannica Online: crucifixion”. Britannica.com. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
Crucifixion”. Mb-soft.com. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
3 Cooper HC: The agony of death by crucifixion. NY Med J 1883;38;150-153.
5 Retief FP, Cilliers L (December 2003). “The history and pathology of crucifixion”. South African Medical Journal 93 (12): 938–41. PMID 14750495
6 “Jesus would not have been as concerned with the physical pain of his death as with the spiritual desolation of bearing our sin and its judgment on the cross” Expositors Bible Commentary”.
7 Holoubek, JE; Holoubek AB (1996). “Blood, sweat and fear. “A classification of hematidrosis””. Journal of Medicine 27 (3–4): 115–33. PMID 8982961
8 Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
9 Please see the chapter “The Crucifixion of Jesus”
10 Please see the chapter on “The Crucifixion of Jesus.”
Categories: An all sufficient sacrifice, Dying for those who reject Him, Jesus Cross and Wisdom, Jesus is the Messiah, Robert Clifton Robinson, Sin and death, Suffering and Trials, The Compassion of Jesus, The Crucifixion of Jesus, The Sovereignty of God, The Suffering of Jesus, These Things Were Written