Rom.15:1,3 – Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.”
At first glance it seems strange that Paul quoted this prophetic passage about the suffering of Christ from the Psalms. We all know that Christ bore our sin and our sicknesses in His body on the cross suffering in a way we never can. After looking carefully at Paul’s argument, it becomes clear what he is getting at. We are to identify with the suffering of Christ by bearing the weight of the struggles and trials other Christians are going through. Grabbing hold of someone who is struggling through sickness or facing death and carrying the load with them is what Paul is talking about. As we help someone through their struggles by bearing their weaknesses and troubles three things happen. The hurting brother or sister is helped, the Lord Jesus is glorified, and finally we are filled with joy. This is describing real ministry. Being used by the Lord in this way brings us into a sharing of the joy of the Lord. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on this passage.
“We must please our neighbor, for the good of his soul; not by serving his wicked will, and humoring him in a sinful way; if we thus seek to please men, we are not the servants of Christ. Christ’s whole life was a self-denying, self-displeasing life. And he is the most advanced Christian, who is the most conformed to Christ. Considering his spotless purity and holiness, nothing could be more contrary to him, than to be made sin and a curse for us, and to have the reproaches of God fall upon him; the just for the unjust. He bore the guilt of sin, and the curse for it; we are only called to bear a little of the trouble of it. He bore the presumptuous sins of the wicked; we are called only to bear the failings of the weak. And should not we be humble, self-denying, and ready to consider one another, who are members one of another? The great end in all our actions must be, that God may be glorified; nothing more forwards this, than the mutual love and kindness of those who profess religion.”
The Lord places all of us in strategic places to minister to hurting people. Jesus spoke of this in the gospels. He said when we have ministered to the least of these we have ministered to Him.