The Savior’s Sufferings in Life -- By: Robert P. Lightner

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 127:505 (Jan 1970)
Article: The Savior’s Sufferings in Life
Author: Robert P. Lightner

The Savior’s Sufferings in Life

Robert P. Lightner

[Robert P. Lightner, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary.]


Some are still engaged in the quest for the historical Jesus. Not all who are seeking to find the real Jesus agree on the necessity or the extent of historicity required to establish a system of Christian belief. The searchers do agree, though, that the gospel records do not give us an inerrant record of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Very naturally, therefore, those who still search for the one they refer to as the Jesus of history do not rely upon the gospel accounts for their information. As a result, there is little agreement among the searchers, since the search is really not dependent upon objective information but rather to a large extent upon the subjectivity of the one searching. To be sure the Jesus who is discovered bears little resemblance to the Jesus Christ of Scripture.

The Bible believer is of course vitally concerned with what the Scriptures actually teach in every area. The sufferings of Christ in life are an often neglected and distorted area of study. The truthfulness of the Scriptural accounts is not the issue with those who embrace the authority of the Bible. The question, rather, is one of meaning. What is the theological import of Christ’s life sufferings? That is the question!

All evangelical theologians are united in their agreement that Christ suffered in life. There is some disagreement, though, as to the purpose and the accomplishments of those sufferings. Did Christ’s sufferings in life provide substitution for sin, as did His sufferings in death on the cross? Before that question can be answered accurately, it will be necessary to establish the reality of His life sufferings.

The Reality of His Life Sufferings

Suffering because of His humanity. That the eternal Son of

God became incarnate in human flesh and possessed a true human body is an evident fact of Scripture. The Savior’s birth (Matt 1:18), normal human life and growth (Luke 2:52), and the human names ascribed to Him provide evidence that He possessed a truly human nature. Too, Scripture ascribes to Him a body of flesh (1 John 4:2), a human soul (John 12:27), and a human spirit (John 13:21).

The union of God with man of necessity involved suffering which is associated with humanity. The physical propertie...

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