I went to church today. The sermon was on suffering. At one point, the priest turned and gestured to Jesus hanging from the cross, the ultimate in human suffering, he implied. Well.
I’m sure it must have been challenging, being the son of God and all, but I don’t think hanging from the cross depicts the ultimate in human suffering. Sure, you slowly suffocate, your ribs break. I’ll bet having a nail go through your hand isn’t fun, and hanging by that hand excruciating. I suppose after a few days of starvation, one starts to feel pretty bad. And all the while being taunted by your enemies must have been a challenge.
But Jesus didn’t have to do this for 20 years straight. He knew he was going to die, and the suffering would end. He didn’t have a lifetime of progressively worsening disease to deal with. He didn’t have pieces cut out of him, one organ at a time. He got to break bread and drink wine until the end. It isn’t written in the bible, but I doubt he had chronic diarrhea. He probably had worms.
This is one reason I’m not a Christian. Because I’m just not that impressed when they say Jesus died for me. I mean, that was very kind of him. But if he had lived to a ripe old age, suffered from some horrible disease the entire time – and touching his own sleeve didn’t work – then I would be more in awe of his sacrifice.
Jesus died to save my soul from eternal suffering. What do you do when the hell is now?