May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” be appalled at their own shame. Psalm 40:15
The above verse came to mind as I meditated on the following words spoken to Jesus by those who passed by his crucifixion…
Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross! Mark 15: 29-30
and the following…
He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe. Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.” Mark 15:32
And one more…
Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down. Mark 15:36
It was part of God’s plan that Christ hang up on that cross. He had to go to the cross. There was no other way but up there.
This mornings devotion included Jesus words
But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” John 12:32
Who wants to be drawn
up to a cross of suffering? In my flesh I certainly don’t. It would take the power of God Himself working in the heart of a fallen sinful man to even consider doing something so horrifying.
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him… Phil 1:29
The above verses remind me of an experience I had a little over a year ago. I was going through a lot of testing including an MRI. This is the second one I’ve had, and I barely made it through the first one (I wasn’t a Christian at the time) by keeping my eyes closed and listening to music. I thought this one (now a Christian knowing Jesus was with me…”I can do all things,” right??? ) would be okay, even though I was a
whole lot little bit nervous.
I had no idea what was going to happen next.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:3
As I was being conveyed into the
beast MRI, I started to feel those pre-panicky feelings rise up and the above scripture immediately came to my mind. So, in obedience to God’s Word, I started to picture consider Jesus suffering for my sins on the cross.
I was immediately transported to the cross. As I was going into the MRI I was simultaneously hanging on the cross
with Christ. He permitted me to see through His eyes what He saw, and to feel what, as a human, he experienced.
But those who suffer … he speaks to them in their affliction. Job 36:15
It was so dark, and…dark…and the feelings of helplessness were almost overwhelming.
If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 2 Corinthians 5:13
The sense of those nails holding
His hands and feet firmly in place with no earthly escape. Only God could save him now. In my mind and body it was a sense of being completely trapped in the weakness of flesh at the hands of all men.
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Mark 15:34
I spent a few months being troubled by this experience until one day I was given the opportunity to discuss it with a fellow Christian. She gave me a whole new perspective. She sounded like it was such a blessing to have experienced this sharing in His suffering.
And in some not-of-this-world-way I agree…
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death… Phil 3:10
Jesus, like Paul…
I know a follower of Christ who was snatched away…I don’t know whether this happened to him physically or spiritually. Only God knows. I know that this person was snatched away…where he heard things that can’t be expressed in words, things that humans cannot put into words. I don’t know whether this happened to him physically or spiritually. Only God knows…therefore, to keep me from becoming conceited, I am forced to deal with a recurring problem. That problem, Satan’s messenger, torments me to keep me from being conceited… Therefore, I accept weakness, mistreatment, hardship, persecution, and difficulties suffered for Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:various
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that I am counted worthy of the fellowship of sharing in your sufferings, becoming like you in your death…
…and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:11
I thank you that I am able to share this privileged experience with others as an encouragement that, although being a Christian is not easy, it has rewards that no unbeliever can understand. Namely, that you draw men to you…even to your cross…and eternal life in you.
In answer to Paul’s cry, “Who will deliver me from this body of death”…the answer is that You, Jesus, always provide a way out! Praise God!
I stand in awe of you, Lord God Almighty; your death on a cross for my sins, and then your rising again! I have a new appreciation of just exactly what you suffered on my behalf. You are an amazing God, Jesus. In your mighty name, Amen.
Further reading: Psalm 22