Notes: Did Jesus Suffer for Mankind?

The Light (Pakistan), 16th April 1922 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 9, p. 1)

Writing on the suffering of Jesus and his cruci­fixion our esteemed contemporary, the Epiphany, in its issue of 11th March [1922], says:

“He suffered without recrimination,  without resentment and without parade; willingly for the truth’s sake, and as we Christians believe for the sake of all mankind.”

And, again, in the same article, it observes:

“But we would draw attention to the fact that Jesus never sought to suffer. Suffering was not to Him a method by which he sought to gain advantage over His enemies or extort a boon from them. It was an incident in His chosen path of righteousness.”

We can hardly harmonise this view with the cardinal principle of Christianity. If the crucifixion was simply an incident, which would have been possibly avoided, where is the justification for the new dispensation of atonement?

The Christian theory is that God sent His only son to be crucified with a view to save humanity from the curse of sin. This shows that it was a pre-determined thing, and as such Jesus should have known all about it. He was the first person to grasp it fully that his crucifixion meant salvation to man­kind. Humanity could have been saved but with his blood alone, and yet we are told that

“he never sought to suffer,”

which, in other words, means he never sought to save humanity. But we are also told that

“he suffered for the sake of all mankind.”

It is indeed a riddle to us.

The most important point, however, in this connection is that Jesus in his teachings never pointed out that he was the Saviour of the world and that mere lip belief in his blood would save humanity. On the contrary, he always laid stress on actions. Read his sermon on the mount and you will be impressed with one great thought that the author of such a beautiful discourse, which has laid down the golden principle that we have to work out our own salvation, can never dream of the easy-going doctrines of crucifixion and atonement.