December 5, 2018 | by: 0 Comments|
Brothers & Sisters,
Too often we forget that Christ lived for us. We remember that he died for us and for our salvation. We remember that he was raised in victory over the grave for our justification. But we forget that he lived for us and what that means. It would be hard to put it better than Donald Macleod. He writes:
Once [Jesus’] public ministry commences, the pressures and privations are immediately obvious. They begin with the temptations in the desert, underling the fact that though Jesus was free from sin he was not free from temptation. On the contrary, he was tempted just like ourselves ‘in every way’ (Heb. 4:15). Behind the phraseology, sanitized by centuries of quotation, lies the harsh reality that Jesus was dogged and harassed by the Prince of Darkness throughout his life. But there were more mundane pressures as well, and they clearly took their toll, even of his physical appearance: so much so that he could be taken for a fifty-year-old (John 8:57) when he was scarcely thirty. He was poor beyond our imagining, owning only the clothes he stood in; homeless, without a pillow for his head; oppressed by crowds demanding a sign and plying him with endless questions; often exhausted, as when he lay dead to the world in the stern of a tiny fishing boat caught in the eye of a fearful storm (Mark 4:38). He was misunderstood by his family, who feared for his sanity; pursued by the sick and their desperate relatives; stalked by the Pharisees with their undisguised hostility and their sly coadjutors with their entrapping conundrums (Mark 12:13). His whole life followed a pattern of rejection: rejection in ‘his own country,’ Nazareth; rejection by the religious establishment; rejection by public opinion, always fickle; and rejection, at last by his disciples, who all forsook him and fled.
Add to these the sheer horror of life among sinners for one so morally and spiritually sensitive. We skip lightly over these words, ‘made his dwelling among us’ (John 1:14), forgetting that he had come ‘from highest bliss, down to such world as this’: a world where he was surrounded on all sides by the sights of misery and wickedness, the sounds of profanity and blaspheme, and the stench of poverty, death and corruption.
That had been the story so far. Pontius Pilate was the climax, not the commencement, of his suffering. It is tempting to surmise that because of Jesus’ inner strength he was able to rise easily above such pressures and continue on his way unruffled and serene. But Jesus’ endurance and courage were not those of the insensitive and unfeeling. The pressure hurt, and sometimes there were tears (John 11:35), sometimes anger (Mark 3:5), and sometimes an almost mortal sorrow (Mark 14:34). This is what undergirds the sympathy highlighted in Hebrews 4:15: Jesus was tested in every way, just as we are. [Donald Macleod, Christ Crucified: Understanding the Atonement (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2014),17-18.]
Remember that Jesus lived for you, and be thankful. Remember that he is your sufficient and sympathetic Savior.
Warmly in Christ,
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