Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Day 25 of Lent :: Suffering Servant

Christ is to us just what his cross is. 

All that Christ was in heaven or 
on earth was put into what he did there . . .
Christ, I repeat, is to us just what his cross is. 

You do not understand Christ 
till you understand his cross.

(P. T. Forsyth)

Jesus came to bring redemption and forgiveness of sins? But, why did Jesus suffer? In the Old Testament, a lamb was offered as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus was the ultimate Lamb of God, slain for the sins of the whole world (see John 1:36, 1 Peter 1:19, Revelation 5:12, 13:8). Throughout the Old Testament, a lamb was never beaten or mistreated in any way. A quick cut to the throat, the blood flowed on the altar and forgiveness was acquired. So, why did Jesus suffer? Wouldn’t His blood have been enough?
The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews tell us that,

“We do not have a High Priest
who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses,
but was in all points tempted as we are,
yet without sin.”
(Hebrews 4:15)

Jesus offers more than forgiveness, He offers understanding. He knows what it’s like to be tempted every way. He experienced injustice and abuse. His friends betrayed Him. He was spit at, mocked, stripped naked, beaten, and raised on a stake as an act of humiliation before the masses. Jesus knows pain. He’s not aloof to human suffering, He’s been there. Why was Jesus beaten? To join us.  Why was He abused? To join us. Why did Jesus suffer? Because, we all in one way or another have suffered.

Reflection: After informing us that Jesus has experienced what we have, the writer of Hebrews encourages us to,

“Then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, 

so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us 
in our time of need.”

(Hebrews 4:16)

How does it make you feel that Jesus can sympathize with your own weakness, sin and suffering?

Of all the pains that lead to salvation this is the most pain, to see thy Love suffer.
How might any pain be more to me than to see Him that is all my life,
all my bliss, and all my joy suffer?

(Julian of Norwich)

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