Consider what hostility our Lord endured so that we, His children, would not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:3). Isaiah 53:7 says our Lord was “oppressed” and “afflicted”. Brute and savage hands mishandled him. They treated him harshly. But Jesus never returned evil for evil, or insult for insult. Instead, he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. (I Peter 2:23).
I say that I want to know Jesus and the power of his resurrection. What Christian doesn’t? The more relevant question is, “Do I want to become like him in his death, too?”
If, as according to 2 Corinthians 2:5, his sufferings are mine in abundance, why do I recoil at the slightest infraction against my person? When reason and truth prove unsuccessful in my personal conflicts, I like to assert my “rights” but really now, what rights do I have? According to the Bible, none. I am wholly at the disposal of Jesus Christ.
In light of this, why is it ok for the Son of God to be poured out as a drink offering and to be crushed for my iniquity, but I should get a pass? Didn’t Jesus say in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” ? And, why is it ok for the Apostle Paul to “suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal” (2 Timothy 2:9), but I can’t handle a relational strain that isn’t even related to the preaching of the Gospel?
I can’t help but think of my own pathetic self when I read Jeremiah 12:5, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?”
Colossians 1:24 says, “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” While the work of Jesus was finished at Calvary, let us remember that the world is not finished persecuting his body. There is suffering that remains for the sake of the Church.
If we would preach a crucified Christ to a lost and dying world, we must be able to say with Paul, “join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8).
If I am honest, I am very, very far from this place. Yet, by faith, I do believe that “what is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)