Jesus Christ, Our Burden Bearer
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In the midst of excruciating pain, Jesus of Nazareth willingly hung to wooden posts. Below Him, onlookers mocked, while others wept. What a gruesome sight it must have been for those faithful few as they watched the Messiah ("anointed king") die.
We can't presume to truly understand what went through Christ's mind as he hung dying. His spoken words as recorded in the Bible do, however, give believers a glimpse.
Let This Pass from Me
Jesus' conversation with God while praying in the Garden in Gethsemane shows His reluctance, and strength as He does the will of the Father.
"Abba, Father," he cried out, "everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine."(NLT)
In complete obedience, Jesus committed himself to suffering. As rusty nails held Jesus' warped body to the Cross between two criminals, the Son of God cried out.
Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them; they don't know what they're doing."(The Message)
The Father Turned His Face Away
Jesus' greatest pain was not physical. He did not scream in agony thinking only of His pain in the natural. The Son of God took on the sins of every human being present and future, yours and mine included. The darkness of that sin blocked grace, even God, His Father, couldn't look at Him.
He personally carried our sins in his body on the Cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. 1 Peter 2:24a (NLT)
Before His death, Jesus faced the sins of us all, even the murderers, adulterers, thieves, liars, religious hypocrites and unbelievers. He felt the weight of the brutality during the Crusades and the atrocities Hitler committed against God's Chosen People. On the Cross, He saw the pain in the Sudan caused by ruthless fighters and the mercilessness human traffickers inflict on their slaves. He also saw the child being beaten by his intoxicated father, the young girl cutting herself and the teen bullied into wanting to end his life. He saw the depth of our evil, was filled with compassion and held His arms wide open allowing His body to be broken.
In that moment, Jesus became the atonement for mankind. No longer do we have to work for grace or forgiveness or spiritual fulfillment. Through Jesus' death and resurrection, life is given freely to us. He hung on the Cross with unmentionable sins and rose again blameless.
The Good News
Jesus' death was temporary. Three days after He was crucified, Jesus woke up.
Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now, He is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne.b (NLT)
Nothing has changed God's heart about sin. It still grieves Him. The difference now is that we, as sinners, are able to go to God even in our sin because of His Son's sacrifice. When we come before Him now, God does not see our sin. If we accept Jesus, we are forgiven, period.
And the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. I John 1:7b (NIV)
That's the best news I've ever heard.
Thank God for His forgiveness and extend it to someone else. Replace the pain we see in our world with joy and compassion, grace and mercy.
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