Christ's suffering: of what nature and when did they start?


We all believe that the Christ was fully human and that he suffered at His Passion.

Moreover, we believe that His suffering were of exceptional nature - absolutely incomprehensible, as he was suffering for all our sins.

My first question is, what was the nature of His sufferings? Were they physical, spiritual and supernatural at the same time?

Another, the more important question, is when did they start? Was it in Gethsemane?


Christ suffered every time someone rejected Him and when He was tempted by the devil.

As far as the Passion, it probably started when Judas left to betray Him. In Gethsemane, it was probably all 3, and also on the cross.


Cardinal John Henry Newman wrote of Christ’s suffering with an essay that is quite good, that could help answer some of your questions. This is at


He had a rather hard life, ya know: Human Dad dying when He was about 12; having to absorb His mother’s grief; knowing what kind of (hideous) young death awaited Him. And st His moment of greatest anxiety, all His friends were asleep!

We don’t know when His suffering began, but I am sure it was not near the end.



Some people actually even believe that the folks at Nazareth knew that Joseph was not Jesus’ real father: they considered Him a mamzer, a bastard son. (This to them explains why the people at Nazareth called Him “son of Mary,” rather than “son of Joseph,” and why Jesus’ audience in John (8:41) protested that they were not “born of fornication.” In fact, this could explain all those later Jewish accusations of Jesus being actually the son of a Roman soldier.) If that’s true, maybe that’s another hardship Jesus had to face.


When Jesus was here on earth, as a man, he did suffer terribly at the crucifixion, but when you look at the big picture, this only lasted about a week at the maximum.

On the other hand, I watched my grandmother suffer for decades with a terrible bone disease, strong pain meds literally did nothing. I also know a few other people who have had very serious problems, they suffer every minute of every day, and this goes on for years and years.


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