Monday, November 14th, 2016
Suffering (Part 49)
So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His Head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' And they struck Him with their hands...
And He, bearing His Cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.
John 19:1-3, 17-18 (NKJV)
I've read about crucifixion's torture, furthered by public humiliation, compounded by the shame of nakedness, multiplied by the heckling of mockers and hammered home by utter helplessness. I am crushed in its consideration:*
That the King of kings volunteered Himself for the most despicable death of all. The only sinless Man Who ever lived took our punishments so we could walk free. Therein, God, Who will not abide with sin, became a Man to do exactly that: to cover His children's mistakes with Blood, to take away our guilty verdicts for...
Every small lie and exaggeration.
Every evil thought and selfish purpose.
Every dirty thing we did in hiding.
Every cold shoulder turned to a stranger.
Every blind eye turned away from the poor.
Every closed mouth that furthered injustice.
Every condemnation of outsiders.
Every day we neglected our Bibles.
Every hour we wasted in media.
Every instance we did not step forward.
Every moment we forgot our real Boss.
Every faithless, cowardly decision.
Every stupid choice we came to regret.
Every time we took something we don't own.
Every addiction and harmful habit.
Every effort to glorify ourselves.
Every magic show we let enchant us.
Every lust or lewd imagination.
Every grudge we bear without forgiveness.
Every mean word we decided to speak.
Every good word we neglected to speak.
Every complaint and back-biting remark.
Every curse over ourselves or others.
Every thing we made into an idol:
...Cherished toys, hobbies and certificates;
...Cherished bank accounts and prized possessions;
...Cherished closets overloaded with clothes;
...Cherished homes overloaded with trifles.
Every pursuit for popularity.
Every step we took along with the crowd.
Every rote prayer from disconnected hearts.
Every proud stance and condescending glance.
Every holier than thou attitude.
Every failure to honor our parents.
Every past, present and future mistake.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: If you start to get full of yourself, put your face on the floor in remorse, because you've not lived one sinless day. Picture Jesus hanging on the Cross to properly tenderize your heart. Picture a hammer in your own hand, because your sins were nailed to Him, too.
Once done, thank Him again and again. Neither your suffering nor my own can equal His sacrifice for us, and our gratitude brings Him pleasure. Even more, our joy is His desire. It awaits like a morning sunrise--in colors we haven't imagined.
'For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay' (Habakkuk 2:3).
To Be Continued...
* My before-Christ self, old Carey, is hard to kill. She still tries to rise from the grave where she was put. To get my trials, mistakes and priorities in proper perspective, I consider The Cross. Nothing crushes Old Carey better than that.
* Reportedly, Isis is crucifying Christians today. http://www.christianpost.com/news/isis-crucifies-11-christian-missionaries-147317/
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Suffering series.