We cannot learn without pain.
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;~Hebrews 5:8
Many times we go through severe trials and testings that cause us deep distress. We may ask, “Why?” and, “Will this ever end?” We may grow weary at times of even life itself. It is at those most distressing moments in my walk with the Lord, that my eyes become riveted upon the sufferings of Christ, and I am once again amazed how the very suffering I am experiencing, is just a small sip of what Christ went through for us. And I am reminded:
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1Peter 2:21-24
Suffering is not easy to go through, otherwise, it would not be suffering. Sometimes we need to be reminded that Christ taught us very plainly:
In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
One of the most difficult forms of suffering a person will ever have to face is persecution from non-believers and even from close relations who may even call themselves a believer. I’ve been meditating on a certain scripture lately in relation to some of the trials I am dealing with:
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. Luke 6:22-23
Christ told us to “rejoice” when others treat us with disdain because of our stand we take for His names sake. I think he knew how difficult it was going to be in our humanity and so he wanted to drive it home- “Leap for JOY!” When I read this, I feel a little bewildered for I certainly do not feel like leaping for joy, but rather crying for sorrow of heart. Yet, the words are a balm for my sorrow. They encourage me that it is going to be okay, because I am living right. And when I am falsely accused, or called names, I remember that so was Christ. They could not find any fault or reason to keep Christ a prisoner, yet they condemned him to death. Christ went before us and goes before us in all our tribulations. He suffered first. He was accused of having a devil spirit:
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. Matthew 12:24
Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? John 8:48
They called him a deceiver:
And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. John 7:12
No matter what good Christ did, or what miracles he performed, they were not pleased. They sought to destroy him:
And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him. Mark 3:1-6
“The herodians” were not even believers in the Jews God. Herod the Great was responsible for the murder of thousands of little babies in an attempt to destroy Christ in infanthood. And Herod’s son, Herod Antipas, was responsible for beheading John the Babtist. The enemies of Christ will rally anyone they can find to destroy the Spirit of Christ which dwells in His people.
Their motive? They believe deep down inside, that by destroying the people of God, they can still the voice of conviction against their sins. Little do they understand that the seed that dies only multiplies.
In order to destroy Christ they had to lie about him and rally uncouth people to back them up. They had a mob mentality. And they were not content to just put him to death- but they chose the most brutal punishment they had in those days, reserved for the basest of criminals.
A sinner, who is not honest, who has no desire to be free from their sin, will never be a reasonable person to deal with. Unfortunately, these types of sinners many times are cloaked in religious garb. They have a church affiliation, claim to pray and be a child of God- yet the fruit of their lives is not of the Holy Spirit, but rather of the flesh. They are no different in their living than any other common sinner. These are they that turn the would-be repentant sinner away from the truth by their hypocritical living, and are filled with unreasonable madness at anyone that would dare to challenge their position before God.
Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ had to humble himself to go to the cross. If anyone had a sound defense against the onslaught of ridiculous accusations placed against him, it was Jesus. Yet, he humbled himself.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:3-8
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:1-4
Why did Christ suffer and endure such contradiction of sinners? Why? For their salvation. For my salvation. The truth of the matter is, Jesus Christ loved them, and he loved you and he loved even me, with a cross.
Christ loved us with a cross- inspite of all He had to endure because of our sins. Cannot I, by the grace of Almighty God, endure the little I must sip of the cup of Christ? Yes, Aristotle was right when he said, that we cannot learn without pain.
The great lesson of the hour? Love! -Love that transcends the agony of the cross.
The refrain from a popular choir sings:
He loved me with a cross
He loved me with a cross
In answer to the call of life
He loved me with a cross
Though I could not imagine what
Loving me would cost
Jesus went to Calvary
And he loved me with a cross
See the Youtube video: WERE YOU THERE WHEN THEY CRUCIFIED MY LORD
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