How could the Son of God suffer?


Christ, the Son of God, took flesh and blood, that he might obey and suffer as a man.

Jesus the Christ had a two-part mission to save his people from sin. He came to obey the law in our place and to suffer for our sins in our place. Way back in question 6, we learned that God is a spirit and does not have a body like humans do. That should make you wonder, “If the price for sin is death, how could the Son of God suffer and die for our sins? Don’t you need a body in order to die?”

John the apostle talks about what happened when Jesus came to earth to be our Christ. In these verses, John uses a special name for Jesus: the “Word” (that’s why the “W” is capitalized). It says, “In the beginning was the Word (that’s Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1-2)

Jesus, the Word, is the Son of God. He’s been around forever. Way back in the beginning, he was right there with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Like all three persons of the Trinity, the Son was a body-less spirit. But John 1:14 tells us, “The Word (remember, that’s Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Flesh means “meat and muscle.” This verse is telling us that the body-less Son of God came to our world as a real man in a flesh-and-bone human body. We have a fancy word for this: the “Incarnation.” It comes from the Latin word carne, which means “flesh.” Incarnation is a strange word for a wondrous thing: the God who made us took on flesh to live as one of us!

In a body just like ours, Jesus accomplished his mission to save us from our sins. He suffered in a human body as he obeyed God’s laws perfectly. Jesus was sinless, even through days when he didn’t have enough sleep or his stomach was empty or his head really ached. If you’ve ever been tired or hungry or sick, you know how hard it is to be good when you feel like being grumpy!

Jesus also suffered in a human body as he paid the death penalty our sins deserved. No longer a body-less spirit, Jesus had flesh that could be beaten and bruised. He had a back that could be whipped. He had hands and feet that could be nailed to a cross. And he had a heart that could stop beating and lungs that could stop breathing. In all those ways and more, Jesus suffered in a real human body to pay the price for our sins.


+ Jesus was just as human as you and I. What things did he and you have in common?

+ Jesus was also the Son of God. How did that make him different from us?


John 1:14; Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4; Phil 2:7, 8; Heb. 2:14, 17; 4:15

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