Consider His Pain When You Suffer
By Bruce W. Robida
Most of us can recall a time when someone hurt us deeply. A cheating spouse resulting in divorce; property damaged or stolen by a neighbor or friend; a parent who had neglected or abandoned you; a family friend who molested or otherwise abused you. The list can go on and on as to the ways others can hurt us. These were all sins committed against you. Do you remember how you felt? Some things hurt so profoundly, that while the hurt may fade, the scars remain. Consider how much you suffered as a result of the actions of someone else. Some of your suffering was almost unbearable. No benefit came out of it. All of your suffering was in vain.
Consider Christ hanging on the cross. I have heard it said that crucifixion was the most excruciating death penalty ever devised by man. Nails through His hands or wrists and through His feet or ankles; a crown of thorns pressed into His head; marks all over His body from whips that tore through His skin. Already weak from the many beatings He endured and carrying His cross for much of the way, the weight of His body as He hung there pressed down on His chest leaving Him little room in His lungs to breath. And there He hung for about three hours, suffering at the hands of others.
On Good Friday in the Philippines and in other parts of the world, many people are voluntarily nailed to crosses, hoping that they will experience the suffering of Christ. The most they endure is about ten minutes and then they are taken off the cross, placed on a stretcher, and taken to a hospital where they will be treated and subsequently released, eventually fully recovering except for their scars. As noble as the gesture is, they fail to realize several important factors in Christ’s suffering and so do most people.
Christ no doubt suffered an excruciating, horrible death. Physically, there is no more painful way to die. But, He also suffered in two more ways that most people don’t consider, or maybe aren’t even aware of. Remember those sins committed against you that I mentioned earlier? You know how much they hurt you, now imagine that Christ carried the sins of the entire human race, from the first person to the last. Those same sins that others committed against you were also committed against Him, and for those hours He hung on the cross, He endured them all.
But, as if that wasn’t enough, His ultimate suffering came near the end when God, His Father, had left Him. We know this is true because Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46
Consider the word forsaken, in the original Hebrew language. According to Strong's Ref. # 1459. Romanized egkataleipo, pronounced eng-kat-al-i'-po, from GSN1722 and GSN2641; to leave behind in some place, i.e. (in a good sense) let remain over, or (in a bad sense) to desert: KJV--forsake, leave.
Those who think that they might suffer as Christ suffered, even for a little while, will never be able to do it. They might suffer physical pain and even emotional pain for a few moments, but nowhere near the magnitude of suffering that Christ endured. There is no point in even trying, and the only way they would suffer separation from God, is if they would be condemned to hell for all of eternity. But unlike our suffering as the result of sins committed against us by others, Christ’s death was not in vain. Nothing but good will and has already come of it. The good news is that on the third day, He rose from the grave just as He had said He would, and appeared in front of many witnesses. He suffered, died, was buried, resurrected, and now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He conquered death and hell so that we would not have to endure such misery.
Sadly, there are those who are determined to stand before God without an advocate. Their only defense will be that they were good; they never hurt anyone; they followed the Ten Commandments; and the list goes on. Christ will stand with those who have accepted Him, as advocate, defending us on the basis of His righteousness, not our own. There is no good deed that will get us into heaven. We are only to trust in Christ for our salvation. Accept Christ today. Believe in Him. Put all of your trust in Him. Have faith that He alone can save you. Live according to the truth that He teaches in His Word.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2CO 5:21
As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. 2CO 6:1-2
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