Monday, 21 March 2011

The Pains He Endured

My friend John Tuttlebee is a retired ECM missionary and is secretary of Limerick Baptist Church.  He has contributed the following reflection on the cross.
I have just been discharged from hospital after major lung surgery. After a long night I wake up, and feel the pain again.

My thoughts turn to Jesus as he died. He knew pain much worse than mine - the pain of the thorns on his head, the nails in his wrists and ankles, the thirst, and the slow suffocation that crucifixion brought.
Why was he there? Judas had betrayed him; the religious leaders had twisted the evidence; the Roman governor lacked the courage of his convictions.

But behind the human actors was a Divine plan : this had to happen “to fulfil the Scriptures”. Jesus was God’s Chosen Deliverer, come not to save the Jews from the Romans, but to deliver all mankind from the tyranny of sin. God’s Messiah must die in the place of the people He had made: people who could betray their friends, hunt down those they hated, and be unready to stand for right: people who treated one another like that because they had lost respect for their Creator.
In my pain I am making careful calculation – when is the next pain-killer due? Yet Jesus refused the drugged wine offered to dull his pain – he would endure the full punishment of our human rebellion. He faced the physical pain; but above all the spiritual pain of separation from His Father as he bore our sin.
'The pains that he endured, our salvation have procured' (C14th hymn).

Listen to St Paul:
While we were powerless to help ourselves Christ died for sinful people. In human experience it is a rare thing for one man to give his life for another, even if the latter be a good man. Yet the proof of God’s amazing love is this: it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us (Rom 5.6-8 J B Phillips translation).

I am so grateful to those who pointed me to passages like these in the New Testament, so that as a young man I turned from my own ways, thanked Christ for his sacrifice and gave my life to him.

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