The first revolves around the translation of the Greek word πάσχω (paschō) - which most sectarian versions have decided to translate to "suffering."
However, the word doesn't necessarily invoke suffering. It can also invoke a positive result. Just consider how Thayer's lexicon portrays this word:
"to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo
- 1 - in a good sense, to be well off, in good case
2 - in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight"
As such, we find that the word also indicates the possibility of a positive outcome. A better translation would thus be "ordeal."
Certainly, if Jesus was only speaking of being persecuted on the cross, that would be one thing. But Jesus is also referring to other elements of the experience - his leaving his body and returning to God in the spiritual realm - a positive outcome.
The reality is that what is often considered by materialists as negative is considered by someone devoted to God as a positive outcome.
Death is a good example. Those who are identifying with the temporary physical body - those who are attached to the forms and names of the physical world - will dread the death of their physical body.
But those who understand our true nature as spirit will see their body differently. They will understand that when their body dies, they continue to live. They leave the physical body behind.
Jesus clarified this:
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." (Matt. 10:28)Now if Jesus identified himself as the physical body - and taught others to identify themselves as their physical bodies - then why is he teaching his followers not to be afraid of those who will kill the body?
Jesus was facing this very prospect. At the Passover dinner (AKA the "Last Supper") he is understanding that the next day he will face persecution by the Romans and the Jewish chief priests.
If we accept that Jesus practiced what he preached, then certainly he was not afraid of what will happen to his physical body. Because he knew they will not harm his soul - his spiritual self.
And this is what happened, according to the Gospels, which describe what took place at the time of death of his physical body:
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. (Matt. 27:50)
With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)Not only did Jesus' soul or spirit (spirit-person) leave his physical body. Jesus also committed himself (spirit-person) to the Supreme Being:
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)These verses clearly indicate that Jesus left his physical body at the time of death. His spirit-person was headed back to the spiritual realm to return to the side of the Supreme Being.
So what about his resurrection? It is obvious from multiple verses that Jesus did not appear in the same physical body - but in an angel-like form. This is why Jesus was not immediately recognized by Mary and the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them.
Jesus' sacrifice and reappearance were all done for and by the will of the Supreme Being. Jesus also indicates this in second part of the verse above:
"Because I tell you, I will not eat again until it is completed by the authority of God."What does this mean?
Most translations translate the last part of this verse to "fulfilled in the kingdom of God."
Such a translation would be inappropriate because it assumes the "kingdom of God" is somehow unfulfilled. As if the "kingdom of God" is not perfect. Such a notion would indicate that God is not perfect - which He is.
Yet the translation to "kingdom" would also be inappropriate here. The Greek word translated to "kingdom" is βασιλεία (basileia), which in this context does not refer to a place or location. It means, according to the lexicon:
"royal power, kingship, dominion, rule - not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom."
Rather, what Jesus is speaking of here is God's authority. His dominion. Not some physical location.
And the Greek word ἐν (en) can also mean "by" as well as "in."
Thus we can see that Jesus is not speaking of the kingdom of God becoming fulfilled - as if God's kingdom is not already perfect. Jesus is speaking of what is going to happen to him being God's will. That what will happen to him is part of his service to God. He is accepting God's authority or dominion and understanding that the ordeal that will take place is God's will.
So why will Jesus not eat again until "it is completed"? Because Jesus is using food in a double entendre. Jesus is speaking of his eating spiritual food after the ordeal.
We see this analogous use of food in other statements by Jesus:
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work." (John 4:34)Let's consider this carefully. The physical body needs food to survive, right? Yet we find that Jesus says elsewhere:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear." (Luke 12:22)So if we shouldn't worry about our body, or what we will feed the body, we must consider the food that feeds the spirit-person. The spirit-person that leaves the body at the time of death. What is the food for our spirit-person? The spirit-person doesn't need to eat physical food. The spirit-person is not made of matter - but spirit. So what is the food for our spirit-person?
Jesus is defining this above. The food that feeds the spirit-person within is love for God. It is loving service to the Supreme Being - the Source of love. This is what feeds our spirit-person. This is why Jesus also said:
"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing." (John 6:63)We can see all around us that each of us (spirit-persons) need love. We are constantly seeking to love and be loved. Our bodies may be getting plenty of food and water - and may be pampered in other physical ways. But without love, we shrivel up inside.
For this reason, people strive to have loving relationships. A single person will strive to find a soul mate. And married people will strive to have children. These are attempts to feed the spirit-person in the form of loving relationships.
The problem with these strategies, however, is that these loving relationships end up becoming problematic. Marriages can either end up in divorce or forced separation at the time of death. And children grow up and eventually die as well. So these relationships based upon the physical body are more or less temporary. (A loving relationship that has a spiritual component will indeed continue.)
The biggest problem with these loving relationships is they are not completely fulfilling, because they are not directed towards our eternal Soul Mate - the Supreme Being. A loving relationship with the Supreme Being is completely fulfilling.
This is the bottom line, and the reason for Jesus' most important instruction:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)