"I want to suffer"

As I was preparing my lesson for youth group this week I was really moved by the section of Mark that I was preparing. In Mark 2:17 Jesus tells us that those who are healthy do not need a doctor but those who are sick do. He then explains that he came, not to call the righteous, but the sinners.

This statement from Christ hit me in two different ways. First, I personally identify with the outcasts of society, if only a little. Being a Christian my whole life, there have been times when I become painfully aware that I am not part of the rest of society. I never went to a high school party; I’ve never smoked, chewed, or randomly fooled around with someone I barely knew and because of that I don’t fit in. There have been times where I’ve been proud of my innocence and times that I’ve been ashamed. There have been times where I’ve been made fun of for being a prude or a Bible thumper and I’ve honestly lost people that I thought were friends because of what I believed about God. It brings me comfort to know that Jesus came for those that don’t fit in, that his heart was for the “least of these”.

The second way that this passage hit me is seeing Jesus passion as a physician for the sick. As I read through William Barclay’s commentary on the book of Mark, the thought of Jesus as a physician really moved me. Jesus came to the poor and broken. He lived his life on the edge for the outcasts of society and he intentionally pissed off the Pharisees (Mark 2:6-12) so that they would kill him so that he could give his life for the outsider.

I’m reminded of a friend of mine who was going through Bible College around the same time that I was and I remember a conversation where he looked me in the eye and said, “Andrew, I want to suffer”. I’ll never forget it because it struck me right between the eyes. My concept of the American dream was challenged and found wanting. He explained that he wanted to live his life in a country where he had to pray in order to survive every day. He wanted to reach those that the evangelical world had written off and actually hated. He wanted to spend nights on the streets in dangerous parts of town getting robed by men armed with scissor blades in order to reach “the least of these” with the gospel.

My friend’s passion for the “sick” mirrored Jesus passion identically. Christ’s goal was to suffer. He came to the earth in order to die and reconcile the world to the father. He looked down at a fallen world and said “I want to suffer for them”. As a pastor, living in America, where my faith isn’t challenged on a day to day basis it’s easy to become complacent and comfortable. It’s also easy to get relaxed inside my own little group of friends and my youth group. But Christ calls us to reach out to the lost and the broken, the outcast of society. As Christians we need to remember not to get comfortable like the Pharisees in Mark 2 and ostracize the rest of the world from us. We need to remember that Christ came to seek and save the lost and he commissioned us to do the same. It’s time to step outside our comfort zones and reach out to a dying world.

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3 thoughts on “"I want to suffer"

  1. Good thoughts Andrew. I think you touch on something that the church in America has largely forgotten because of our prosperity and the prosperity gospel. As Christians we are called to take up our cross and follow Him. Now to us a cross is a nice peice of jewerly but to a first century Jew it was a symbol of death. And to follow Jesus ment to go into some very dark places.May the church awake from her slumber and see the world is sick and in need of a physician, The great physician.Btw, the only thing you missed out on by growing up Christian is a lot pain and suffering. All those things may seem glamorous but it's only a facade that mask an ugly reality. And they only want you to suffer with them. But we are to suffer for righteousness.. So keep up the good fight.

  2. Agreed. I did all those things you said you missed out on… believe me… it was fun for a time.. then when the fun wore off (didn't take long) it was all a nightmare. People like you gave me a desire to want more and God used you and others to show me how. So don't ever feel like you missed out because what you did was truly remarkable.

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