Archive for June, 2013

REFLECTION: The punishment that brought us peace

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

I came across this chapter a few days ago and it continues to intrigue me.  The chapter opens with the following scripture verse...”The punishment that brought us peace was upon him…by oppression and judgment he was taken away.”  Isaiah 53:5,8

The individual referred to in this passage is Jesus.   I always knew, in my heart and mind, that He took on sin so you and I can live in freedom and eternally, but my mind could never fathom what it involved.   Now, through the grace of God and by the literal artistic talent of James R. Lucas, I have begun to understand a minuscule more.  (I have intentionally highlighted the words of Jesus, in this fictional account, in red.)

“He felt His head moving uncontrollably, rolling forward and then snapping back.  The pain was unbelievable.  He couldn’t isolate where the agony came from – it was a pain in the whole being, ripping, at every part of His body.

How long have I been here?  He tried to remember, but the pain was too unrelenting and dominating.  Minutes, hours – it seemed like days, like years, like forever.  When will it end?  He wanted to scream but somehow held it in.”

…What are they saying?  He heard one man saying, “but He can’t save himself!”  The irony of the thought pierced Him.  I can save Myself.  I can.  Don’t you know that I can?  But if I do, what will happen to you?  “save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen one…  Let God rescue Him now if he wants Him.”  I am Christ.  That’s why I can’t come down.  That’s why My Father won’t rescue Me.”

Did you begin to cringe when you read the narrative?  It is fictional, but I do believe it has begun to assist you in appreciating what this God made man had endured.  Jesus was fully human and he felt every physical, emotional, and spiritual despair that man could experience.  And yet, because He was God, He fore knew what was to come and he agonized even more.  “…And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed.  ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done… And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.” Luke 22:41-44

As we agonize in our own despair, perhaps the Holy Spirit will begin to bring this account to mind.  And if we are open enough, perhaps He will begin to help us realize that Jesus is right beside us, waiting for us to exercise our free will and to invite Him into each situation. When this happens, may He help us grasp the fact that He totally understands what we are going through.

But wait, did you notice how Lucas expanded?  Had you ever pondered over what Jesus must have thought when the crowds mocked Him to save himself?  I didn’t.  Thankfully today, it has hit home.

“I can save Myself.  I can.  Don’t you know that I can?  But if I do, what will happen to you?  “…save Himself if He is the Christ of God, theChosen one…  Let God rescue Him now if he wants Him.”  I am Christ.  That’s why I can’t come down.  That’s why My Father won’t rescue Me.”

Jesus purposely remained on that cross, in spite of the mockery and ridicule, in spite of his ability to free Himself from all that agony…for you!  For me!

Can you imagine what our lives would be like if Jesus came down from that cross?  That reality hit me hard one Sunday when Msgr. Greg asked the congregation what we would do if archaeologists found the remains of Jesus’ in His tomb.  Grief, agony and hopelessness immediately surrounded me when that thought sank in.  Thank God that was just a hypothetical question!  Thank God Jesus chose to endure the agony on the cross and thank God that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead and He is alive and well today and for eternity.

“…’You the Christ?’  He heard shouted from His side… ‘Save Yourself and us!’ He heard the voice taunt.  He realized that it was the man on the cross next to Him.  I’m trying.  I’m trying to save you.  Can’t you see that’s what I’m trying to do?  Don’t you understand?  Doesn’t anybody understand?

‘Don’t you fear God…?’ He heard the man on His other side yelling in a tortured voice at the first man… ‘getting what our deeds deserved.  But this man has done nothing wrong.’

…This second man had been insulting Him through the whole ordeal.  There he was now, his body wrecked, his face twisted, the aura of death all around him.  But his eyes, his eyes!  He understands!  ‘Jesus,’ the man rasped, then began coughing, “Remember me…when You come…into Your Kingdom.’”

Was it by chance that two others were crucified with Jesus on the hill of Calvary?  Was it by chance that one continued to mock him to the very end while the eyes of the other began to open and he began to see what this God made Man had done for mankind?  I don’t think so.  Two nights ago, our Father had begun to help me grasp that this is what goes on on a daily basis.

As we continue on our journey towards eternity and as we face the havoc and mockery (our own cross) the devil has brought about into our world, when Jesus comes knocking on the door of your heart, with which crucified thief will you identify with?  May our Father open the spiritual eyes of all so, like the second thief, we may cry out and say, “Lord, Remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.”

God bless,

 

Melissa –June 8, 2013–8:08 a.m.

 

p.s. – The quotes were taken from Chapter 10 of Walking Through the Fire – Finding the Purpose of Pain in the Christian Life by James R. Lucas.

2) Who Am Iby Casting Crowns (link to song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTQTcasa2S8)

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart.

Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You’re

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I’m calling
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
And You’ve told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again.
Who am I, that the Voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me
not because of who I am
but because of what You done
not because of what I done
but because of who you are

I am the flower quickly fading
here today and gone tomorrow
a wave tossed in the ocean(ocean)
a vapor in the wind
still You hear me when I call You
Lord you catch me when I’m falling
and You told me who I am (I am)
I am Yours

not because of who I am
but because of what You done
not because of what I done
but because of who You are

I am the flower quickly fading
here today and gone tomorrow
a wave tossed in the ocean(ocean)
a vapor in the wind
still You hear me when I call You
Lord You catch me when I’m falling
and you told me who I am (I am)
I am yours, I am yours ,I am yours.

Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
‘Cause I am Yours
I am Yours