The Crucified Creator
"All things were made by him;
and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John
"All things" were made by Him, Jesus, " and
yet—according to Scripture—"Jesus wept" (John
11:35). The Creator wept? Even more so,
Jesus was "despised and
them. rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and
acquainted with grief" (Isa.
53:3). The Creator, a man of sorrows, despised and
rejected? And He once cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou
forsaken me?" (Matt.
How could these things be? It's because Jesus,
our Creator, was also our Redeemer, and as such He was the Crucified
God—the Creator who took on humanity and in that humanity suffered
through a life of privation and toil that ended with Him hung on a
Thus, our Creator, the One in whom "we live,
and move, and have our being" (Acts
17:28), suffered in humanity in ways that none of
us ever could. We can experience only our own griefs, our own sorrows;
at the Cross He bore "our griefs, and carried our sorrows" (Isa.
53:4)—all of them. It's the most amazing act in all
With that background (that of the crucified God
looming over us like the desert sky) we will for the next few months
seek to better comprehend the incomprehensible-our own suffering, the
sufferings of Christians, of those who have committed their lives to
Christ. We're making no claims to have all the answers or even many;
we're claiming only that "God is love" (1
John 4:8) and that although these things happen,
we can trust God despite them and, indeed, grow in grace through them,
no matter how painful the process.
This quarter we will study the Word of God and
see how other flesh and blood, though radiated in faith, nevertheless
faced despair, betrayal, disappointment, loss, injustice, and abuse
(sound like anything you can relate to?). How did they cope? What did
What can their examples teach us?
As we look at these people, their experiences,
their struggles, and their trials of faith (which might be much like
our own), we must always see them contrasted against the background of
the Cross. We must always remember that no matter what anyone faces,
Jesus Christ, our Creator and Redeemer, went through much worse.
Our God is a suffering God. Even Albert Camus,
hardly a Christian, understood some of the implications of the Cross
and the sufferings of God there: "The night on Golgotha is so important
in the history of man only because, in its shadow, the divinity
abandoned its traditional privileges and drank to the last drop,
despair included, the agony of death."—Albert Camus, The
Rebel (New York: Vintage International, 1991), p. 33. Or, as
Ellen White expressed it, "The cross is a revelation to our dull senses
of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart
of God."—Ellen G. White, Education, p. 263.
Our lessons are not a theodicy, the
justification of God in the face of evil. Instead, as we've said,
they're an attempt to help us work through the inevitable suffering we
all face here in a world where sin is as easy as breathing. What we
will try to show is that pain, suffering, and loss don't mean that God
has abandoned us; they mean only that, even as believers, we share now
in the common lot of a fallen race. The difference is that for us,
through Jesus and the hope He offers, meaning and purpose can be found
in what seems meaningless and purposeless and that somehow, even if we
can't imagine how, we can trust the promise that "all things work
together for good to those who love God" (Rom.
8:28, NKJV)—the God who, though He made all things,
suffered all things, too (and that's why we love Him).
Gavin Anthony, this quarter's principal
contributor, grew up in Sri Lanka as a missionary kid. He worked as a
pastor in England and was conference president in Iceland when he
authored these lessons.
(all lessons may not be posted)
School Study Helps
Jerry Giardina of
Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl, prepares a series of helps
to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes all related
scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New King James
Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission.
The study helps are
provided in three wordprocessing versions Wordperfect;
RTF for our
MAC friends (this is now a zip file); and HTML
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