Open Bible: April 2002 

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To suffer of many things




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amour victorieux 
To suffer
of many things. 

"From that time (when Peter explicitly acknowledged that he was sent by God) Jesus was beginning to show to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests and scribes, to be killed and be raised again the third day" Mathew 16, 21).

Mathew, Mark (8, 31) and Luke (9, 22) reported this key sentence in their Gospel. More than a simple announcement of the close Pascal event, it represents a fundamental aspect of the life of Christ and his followers because "a disciple is not above his master"
"Suffer of many things" does it mean we must necessarily suffer? A certain Christian culture did not escape from this "dolorism" and had insisted on suffering as a mean to be saved.

In this part of the Gospel, Mathew speaks about the suffering of Jesus at a specific time and place, Jerusalem, the religious center of his country. It will be a relatively short moment of confrontation with the elders, the chief priests and the scribes who represent the main powers.

C'est la vie qui gagne  The power of the elders is in the family and in the organization of the society; also in the request of an unconditional agreement to centuries old wisdom written in laws and customs, this power is also based on a wealth accumulated through the years. In religion, the power of the chief priests is linked to the sacred concepts of existence and relationships to God; this power includes the privilege to exclude people.  

The power of the scribes resides in their knowledge and in their possibility to define what is true in the Holy Scriptures.
Jesus is "powerless"; he is not an elder, neither a member of the sacerdotal family nor a scholar devoted to the Scriptures. For the world of money, tradition, holiness and politics, his life of a Galilean prophet does not count much. The Gospel does not speak about how he had to struggle against his opponents and get rid of them but it says only "he had to suffer from them" How to suffer of many things? He did like a non-violent, in a silence full of dignity and with the conscience at rest like a free man.

Acting as non-violent, during his trial, he just pronounced a few essential words on his identity and his message. That did not prevent him to adequately recall their responsibility when they were offending him: the soldier who was slapping him, Pilate who was playing with his undisputed power.

All through the course of his passion one can notice how his conscience is peaceful; he is a free man. He is not there to obey any order coming from above but simply to faithfully practice "the beatitudes" The people who did not want a new order made of fraternity and equality cannot tolerate that.

The suffering of the elders, the chief priests and the scribes also will undoubtedly happen to the disciples of Jesus in all the times.  


There is not any more undisputable authority, neither fascinating sacred world, nor infallible knowledge for his disciples, it is so different from their unmovable attitude!

Testifying for the love of God, animated by God, the Christians are not ideologists in charge of promoting a religious system and of defending it with a sword like their opponent one as during the time of the crusades. Not using the weapons of this world, they respond to their offenders only by calm and committed statements or by their silence.
"Suffer of many things" like Jesus is a spiritual and intense spiritual experience, which places the Christians in a difficult position surrounded by pitfalls. They need perceptiveness and humility, gentleness and firmness; it is the opposite of a bitter or obtuse resistance, they do not despise their opponents. Like Jesus we have to be able to say " Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"

Il est Réssuscité  The experience of non-violence requires a sound knowledge of the obedience due to those having the power and a supreme freedom of conscience, whoever is, elder, hierarch or scribe, willing to impose his power on us. Peter and John said it clearly facing the Sanhedrin: " To obey God rather than man!" (Acts 4, 19). This can lead to the exclusion of the Crucified, symbolically dieing outside the wall of the Holy City. Dark night when only the faith in the resurrection is the only possible outcome.