In Grief, How God Draws Near to Sutherland Springs
John Piper

John Piper

Mass murder is why Jesus came into the world the way he did. What kind of Savior do we need when our hearts are shredded by brutal loss?

We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize . . . but one who in every respect has been tested as we are. (Hebrews 4:15)

We need a suffering Savior. We need a Savior who has tasted the cup of horror we are being forced to drink.

And that is how he came. He knew what this world needed. Not a comedian. Not a sports hero. Not a movie star. Not a political genius. Not a doctor. Not even a pastor. The world needed what no mere man could be.

The world needed a suffering Sovereign. Mere suffering would not do. Mere sovereignty would not do. The one is not strong enough to save; the other is not weak enough to sympathize.

So he came as who he was: the compassionate King. The crushed Conqueror. The lamb-like Lion. The suffering Sovereign.

Now he comes to Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Perfected through suffering. (Hebrews 2:10)

Hated by the proud. (John 7:7)

Demonized by the strong. (Matthew 9:34)

Willingly poor. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3)

Planning to be crushed. (Isaiah 53:5)

Despised and rejected. (Isaiah 53:3)

Ready to be wounded. (Isaiah 53:5)

Submissive like a lamb led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7)

Enduring anguish. (Isaiah 53:11)

Poured out in death. (Isaiah 53:12)

Risen to help. (Romans 14:7–9)

The God who draws near to Sutherland Springs is the suffering, sympathetic God-man, Jesus Christ. No one else can feel what he has felt. No one else can love like he can love. No one else can heal like he can heal. No one else can save like he can save.


JohnPiper” (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Reading the Bible Supernaturally. This article first appeared on

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