With Suffering Comes Authority

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From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things…that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Matthew 16:21

When we are hurting, we are most comforted by one who understands our pain. One who has also suffered as we have, one who has walked a similar road. The broken heart is validated by that comforter who identifies intimately with its sorrow.

We follow a Savior who has known suffering. He has known its final, ultimate end: death. He has walked into its darkness and been engulfed by it. He has screamed why as he stared at the inevitable consequence of man’s sin. And although as God Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, for our sakes he earned it in the human theater of Calvary that we might know he knows our pain and can lead us to life beyond it.

The words of Matthew recorded in chapter 16, verse 21, precede Jesus’ famous exhortation to deny one’s self, take up one’s cross, and follow him. Suffering and following him are inextricable. They are wound and bound together in dark and bright strands of exquisite mystery and pain, beauty and victory.

Jesus demonstrated his full authority when he yielded to suffering and death. And in that great power he defeated them both when he rose on the third day from the tomb.

As we follow him, we are given authority to overcome suffering in our lives too. No power can keep us in the grave of sorrow when we follow hard after Jesus.

One day, we will sit across from another hurting one, and we will understand. And with the authority that came as we followed the Messiah through our own suffering, we will be able to offer comfort that transforms brokenness to wholeness, death to life.

About Audrey Frank

Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Her upcoming book, From Shame to Honor, is an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. You can also find Audrey at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

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