Thursday, February 1, 2007

He Knows Your Pain

Mark 15:16-20 16The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!" 19Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. NIV

At any point in time He could have ended the torment. He had done nothing worthy of the mockery He was receiving from these soldiers, nothing! Of course, when you think about it, much of the time mockery isn't earned. It is just something that is dished out by people with brutal, hateful hearts. If it is earned, it is earned by being a little different than what is considered "normal". By being a little too short, or too tall of too heavy. It could be that there is a physical deformity or a problem mentally. Maybe there is an ugly birthmark or that a person, by human standards, is not physically attractive.

My younger sister, Joy, was mocked because her face was covered with scars, the result of an attack of a dog. One cheek gone, nose and chin hanging by a piece of skin, teeth marks everywhere. This was in 1971. The doctors did everything they could to repair the damage, but still the face was covered with scars. "Scar face" and "Dog face" were names Joy heard all too frequently. I, too, have been on the receiving end of mockery on many occasions. Much as I hate to admit it, I have delivered mockery as well. Chances are, you can relate to either or both ends of the mockery spectrum.

The point is, you have a God who can relate to you. He doesn't just sit, high up in heaven, on His golden throne, uncaringly ruling with an iron scepter. He understands, not just because He is all knowing. Have you been abused? To you Jesus says; "I've been there too!" Have people torn you apart by words that cut like a knife? Jesus words to you; "I understand your pain!" Been picked on? His word to you; "May I show you My scars?" Isn't it amazing that God can relate to us?! His understanding comes from a "Been there, felt you pain" point of view.

There is, however, one glaring difference. At any point in time, He could have ended the pain with nothing more than a thought. Take today's passage for instance. With a mere thought from His mind Jesus, could have called legions of angels to vanquish those delivering the verbal and physical blows. It would have only taken one angel to send His tormentors scurrying for a rock to hide under. What would you have done with that kind of power at your disposal? I know what I would have done; I would have called for the angel! "Mock me will you, I'll show you what pain is all about!" My guess is, you would have done the same. Not Jesus! He silently took the blows. He knew the names of those who beat Him and He lifted those names to His Father's throne. Every piece of flesh ripped from His broken body by that "cat of nine tails" loudly proclaimed "I love you!" He hung from that cross, blood pouring from the nails in His hands and feet and the crown of thorns upon His head, face beaten so badly that He barely looked like a man, and said; "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." At any point in time He could have ended this barrage of pain and insults, but He chose not to.

In fact, let me carry this thought even a step farther, it wasn't just that He chose not to end it. No, He chose to let it begin. He came to earth knowing, in advance, everything that would happen to Him. He wasn't surprised by the hateful words. Not a single blow caught Him off guard. He knew, long before it ever happened, about the crown of thorns and nails in His hands and feet. With full knowledge of what was to come, Jesus chose to lay aside His royal robes and heavenly throne and descended from heaven to experience our pain. What's more, the Bible tells us He did it "For the joy set before Him". Perhaps right now you are wondering "Why, Why would anyone choose to experience that kind of pain?" The answer is a simple one; because He loves you! He went through it all because He loves you. Wait, there's more. If you put your faith and trust in Him, the day will come when He Himself will wipe away every tear on your face. He will do so with a grossly disfigured hand from a nail thrust through it. His scars will remain as an eternal testimony of His great love for you. Won't you reach out today and receive the life changing touch of the Masters hand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen! Well written.