Why Jesus Didn’t Exempt Himself from Suffering | by Liz Petruzzi

Silhouette of person on knees praying, depicting Jesus

Jesus wept. –John 11:35

God of the Universe.
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
The Great I AM.

These are just a few of the words used to describe God.

Yet, even in all His glory, God didn’t exempt Himself from suffering.

In the person of Jesus, God became man.

Humble, lowly, vulnerable.

Jesus Christ knew how it felt to be…

Rejected.
Betrayed.
Scared.
Ridiculed.
Humiliated.
Abused.

Jesus experienced both love and loss during his time on earth. He was rejected by his own brothers and betrayed by his closest friends.

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Jesus was God in flesh, yet He chose to associate with the lowest of the low—shepherds, women, the disabled, the uneducated, tax collectors, and lepers.

And then He willingly embraced the worst of all human experiences—death upon a cross.

Not an easy death.
Not a pain free death.

Was not a “didn’t know what was coming, hit by a truck” death. A brutal death. Something He didn’t want to experience.

Luke 22:42-43 says, Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” An angel from Heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

Although Jesus never stopped being God, He allowed Himself to experience human suffering. Why?

Silhouette of person sitting on rock praying

We find the answer to this question in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

There are many reasons God’s love is difficult to comprehend.

But the fact that He willingly signed up to experience the depth of human depravity astounds me.

Why would He do that?

Jesus Christ did not just bridge the gap to redeem us but also to relate to us on a human level.

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To show us how deeply God loves us.

When I’m going through a difficult, painful season, the people who are a support and comfort are those who take my hand and walk with me through the storm because they know.

They understand my pain and struggle because they have been through something themselves.

There is comfort with one who understands and can relate to my pain.

Jesus understands and relates too!

When I’m frightened, almost panicked by my situation, my circumstances.

Desperate for God to help me, to rescue me.

Jesus empathizes.

I will paraphrase Jesus’ prayer in the garden before his death: “Father, I don’t want to do this thing. Please, please, let there be another way. I’m scared. Please find another way.” Then He says, “But I trust You, even though I don’t totally understand and I’m afraid, not my will, but Yours be done.”

In that moment, Jesus never stopped being God, but He allowed Himself to experience human emotion, human frailty, human suffering, and distress.

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So we would know, when we go through garden moments, that Jesus understands our pain.

Silhouette of woman with flower

My garden moment happened in a surgeon’s office.

My son, Joey, has multiple disabilities.

When he was twenty-one, I noticed he was having difficulty seeing, so I called the doctor’s office thinking his glasses prescription needed adjusting.

At our appointment a few days later, we were shocked to discover his retina had detached.

We quickly scheduled surgery with one of the top retina surgeons in the country.

After faithfully following the many post operative requirements, we were grateful to learn his retina reattached.

The surgery was successful.

But then we heard the words that ushered us into the garden, “Everything looks great – the retina is attached, the optic nerve looks good but he has no vision. I’m sorry.”

As months went by, the vision in his seeing eye diminished as well; he eventually became legally blind.

The reality was painful to accept.

Although Jesus never stopped being God, He allowed Himself to experience human suffering. Why? Why would He willingly endure the worst of all human experiences—death upon a cross? Suffering | Painful Loss | Grief and Mourning | Trials and Tribulations | Christian Encouragement

It’s night and I’m in the garden.

There’s God and me and silence.

I don’t understand why God didn’t restore Joey’s sight.

“Father take this cup. Restore his sight. Please, please, please don’t let him be blind.”

My heart can’t say, “not my will but yours be done.”

Instead, my heart whispers, “If it’s not Your will, then please change your mind.”

Jesus understands.

I can bring it all to Him because He understands.

He can guide me through the storm because He’s been through the storm.

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He understands my suffering, my anxiety, my feelings of abandonment.

I can trust Him in the silence, in my storm, in my doubt and unbelief—I can trust Him with hard things.

I can trust Him because He is trustworthy.

And so can you.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.”


Liz Petruzzi is a beach, dog and coffee lover who believes God’s love is for everyone – but doesn’t have all the answers.

“Throughout the Bible, we see confused people trusting God. They endured hardships, death, loss – look at poor Job. Their suffering and circumstances were always part of a bigger story they didn’t always understand.”

Liz writes about life and faith on her blog, lizpetruzzi.com and loves to connect with people who wrestle with both.


Sarah Koontz

About Sarah Koontz

  Sarah Koontz invites Christians of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of 30 chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life. Follow Sarah on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Read Sarah's full Bio Here.

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