From a teaching my friend gave me on CD from her pastor:
Jesus’ life was tough, by any measure. When He was born, His own king wanted to kill Him. When He began His ministry, His family called Him a nut case. His countrymen scoffed at Him. His closest friends ended up denying they even knew Him. He was God in the flesh and yet people called Him a blasphemer. He came to heal the hurting, but was despised by the very people He had helped.
He came to save men from death, but was put to death by the very men He came to save. I mean, when you consider whatever hurts you’ve gone through in your life; when you struggle with the injustice of having loved well, and yet having received in return being taken advantage of, ridiculed, scoffed, hurt, maybe even down right abused, before you panic, before you run, before you strike out in anger, or recoil in fear, fix your eyes on Jesus…
How do you learn to love like Jesus loved? How do you keep from loosing heart and growing weary in the face of your opposition? Whatever cross you’ve had to endure. You fix your eyes on Him and not on your hurt.
What will you see when you do that? Well you will see that Jesus, God’s only Son, out of obedience to the Father and love for you and me, emptied Himself. He willingly did it. And He became a man in order to save man. But even that gracious act of selflessness, seemed to have gone unrewarded. Cause He was laughed at. Mocked. Ridiculed. Misunderstood. Painfully scorned. And even in those final hours when God the Father could have done something, He didn’t… help His Son. Just think of Jesus in the garden praying. A disciple fell asleep. Another became a traitor. A huge mob appears out of nowhere, dragging Him off to Pilate’s courtroom… He stood before them naked, His blood mixed with their spit, streaming down His face. And then came Calvary…
You see Him there? Hebrews 12 said, “Picture Him there…” so, so do you see Him there? Hanging from that tree? And here’s my point: As you watch Him there, you need to call to mind the deepest disappointment of your life. The greatest hurt that has been perpetrated against you. Whatever the deepest loss you’ve ever had. Call it to mind. Maybe you staked everything on what you thought was the right thing… the recovery from cancer, the birth of a healthy baby, the renewal of your marriage… But it seems as though everything has turned out wrong. The cancer killed in spite of your prayers. The baby was born with a complication. You got served divorce papers. He went out on you… I’m just sayin’ think of Calvary in those terms…
See everybody surrounding the cross that day they wanted a miracle too. Including the women who followed Jesus all the way to the cross. The disciples who huddled in the shadows. Even one of the thieves wanted a miracle. The spectators in the crowd that day shouted, “Come down from cross… and, and, we’ll believe you then!” But there was no rescue, there was no miracle. Only a shout of agony that rumbled across the heavens… as Jesus, His body wracked with pain said, “Why have you forsaken Me?!” It seemed in the moment that the Father had turned His back, and that the crowds got their wish. That the religious leaders won the day. And the gravest injustice ever perpetrated in our world, was perpetrated. Cause in that moment everything that was wrong about our world seemed to triumph over the ONLY thing about our world that was good. It seemed such a tragedy in fact, that the Bible says, nature itself convulsed… remember the ground shook like and earthquake. Tombs cracked open. The solar system shuddered. The sun hid. The sky went black in mid day, and yet, please listen to Jesus’ response to all that mess, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” We’re talking more than a slap in the face. More than a stolen t-shirt. Jesus was nailed to a cross, and yet even then His love shone through.
And remember the charges brought against Jesus, unlike the charges brought against you and I, were false….
So show Him your wound. Just make sure you notice His.
Betsy Tenboom was right, “If you want to love like Jesus loved, don’t look at your own wounds only, you look to Jesus.”
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps…” 1 Peter 2:21