|Vol. 14 No. 4 April 2012||
Our Lord suffered incomprehensible agony as He faced the cross. Luke 22:44 gives us a graphic word picture. “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Another vivid description appears in Hebrews 5:7-8, “[W]ho, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” The glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ followed His suffering.
In Matthew 26:42, He prayed, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Did we get that? Is that facing reality to the zenith? Jesus knew, understood and accepted what it meant to rest His will in the will of His Father!
The following passages reveal our Lord’s commitment to God’s purpose for sending Him into the world. Before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples in Luke 9:44, “Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.” Luke 9:51 says, “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” He said in John 12:27, “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I came to this hour.” Jesus realized He was the only way we would ever have the hope of eternal life!
One of the passages that tell us He accomplished God’s purpose is 1 Peter 2:23. “Who [Christ], when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes [wounds] you were healed.”
We live in a sin-cursed, fallen world. Be assured that something or somebody is going to bring unwanted and unexpected grief and travail to our little corner of the world. Physical disease, sickness, emotional brokenness, calamities, disasters and tragedies are everywhere! Our attempts to sidestep, bypass, evade or avoid such issues serve no worthwhile purpose for us or anybody else.
Sometimes we attempt to take the ostrich approach – there is no danger as long as we see no danger. This attitude stunts our spiritual growth resulting in spiritual deformity. We have to understand and accept that in some way, we will have to face various adversities and tribulations. They will come and continue to come in our lives and in the lives of those we love and know.
When we must face the perils of life, we must allow the supreme example of Jesus Christ and how He overcame to reinforce our thinking. How can we do that? He said we can and we must. Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Acts 27 is the account of 276 people being on board a ship, one of them being the apostle Paul. Paul was being taken to Caesar for a decision to be made about what would be done to him because of his continued preaching of the Gospel. Verses 14-15 read, “But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive [be driven].” According to verse 13, they thought they had obtained their purpose. They were soon to face their most perilous situation.
This tempestuous head wind was perhaps what would be referred to as a typhoon. There was no way to sail around this tempest. Paul and his companions had to sail through it to reach their destination. Some of them tried to escape, but the futility of those thoughts was made clear. Acts 27:31 reads, “Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, ‘Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.’”
Our reactions to the perils of life reveal the strength of our true relationship with God and Christ. The only question that remains to be answered when we face these perils, whatever they might be is – are we going through? We are spiritually perfected through the adverse experience if we will allow God to work His purpose for us in the situation. Spiritual growth and maturity take place and produce our ability to persevere and get us ready for the next hurdle. Romans 8:37 declares, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”