Not only did Christ suffer in order to save us, but He also suffered in order to teach us. Suffering is an inescapable fact of life and often times it seems as if the righteous suffer more than the wicked. It seems as if life is unfair, why do believers suffer more afflictions? The world persecutes the righteous and God permits this suffering that we might draw closer to Him. In Christ's passion we are taught exactly how we are to suffer. When Christ was before the High Priest, he was questioned, beat, and spat upon, and yet He remained silent in action and word. It was only when Caiphas asked if He was the messiah did Christ reply, testifying to the truth. From this response Christ was spit upon, struck in the face, and mocked. He politely asked why He had been struck, asking if He had spoken evil, the tell Him what it was. Christ teaches us through this that we should remain silent in the face of our accusers except in proclaiming the truth of Christ. Trying to reason with the unreasonable will not bring about any fruit, remain silent in action and word.
When Christ was scourged He did not complain, or even plead His case. When the crown of thorns was placed upon Him and the soldiers mocked Him, He remained silent in action and word. He did not try and explain to them that He is God in the flesh, nor did He condemn them. Christ shows us that no matter how we are afflicted, by illness or persecution, that we are to remain silent in action and word. Bearing these afflictions with a contrite and humble heart is a greater testimony of Christ than any word or deed. When we are mocked for being Christian we do not judge nor hate, but again remain humbly silent in action and word.
When Christ embraced His cross and carried it to Golgotha, after being beaten, scourged, and mocked, could have easily given up had He chose to. Instead Christ carried on, despite the torment, pain, and the mockery. We too must embrace our cross, this means to accept our suffering, afflictions, and mockery. Carry our cross to golgotha (golgotha, the place of the skull, representing death) despite everything we may face, the humility we may encounter, and the seemingly unbearable weight of the cross.
On the cross, Christ had clearly gone through inexplicable torture and pain. Watching the children He created curse Him, drive nails into His flesh, and mock Him, yet He prayed for them all. He listened to a condemned man, the thief, and forgave him putting this thief before Himself. Even in His final moments He was concerned not for Himself, but for His mother, giving her to His apostle, St. John. When we have reached our threshold for pain and suffering, the only words we should speak are those of prayers. Especially for those who may be persecuting us, and above all forgive them. We also learn that we should put ourselves aside for others who may be in need, no matter what we may be dealing with, we should never be so selfish as to put ourselves above others. The same is said for when Christ, despite Him being near death, still had concern for His mother's well being.
How much love Christ has for us that He consistently put others before Himself, yet He is God incarnate! To remain silent and humble, to embrace your very suffering and death, to pray for those driving nails into your flesh, to put everyone before you, even though you have suffered tremendously and are on the verge of dying. Christ has taught us how to love through suffering. That suffering is not a condemnation, but a virtue. If we can follow the example of Christ and suffer patiently with a humble and contrite heart, then through this we might know Him and attain salvation.
And remember "He that endures to the end shall be saved." Mt. 10:22