Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Refusing the Easy Way Out: Reflection on the Cross

Mark 15:22-24
22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull).23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh,(R) but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots(S) to see what each would get.

Jesus was about to suffer greater agony than anyone has or ever will suffer.  From the beginning He had perfect communion with the rest of the Trinity, He followed the law to its very heart, and on the cross He was going to experience complete separation and wrath for that which He was not guilty.  No one will ever understand this kind of pain, not even those who suffer in Hell.  Yet, Christ refused to even take a bit of wine mixed with myrrh to try and dull the pain.  I don't know that it would have worked considering the sort of suffering He was going to experience, but I know it would have been tempting.

Why did He refuse something that might have eased His pain?  To remain fully conscious for the ordeal? To suffer fully that righteous justice might be satisfied fully?  To give up His spirit rather than allowing it to slip away apart from His will?  Honestly, I'm not entirely sure.  What I am sure of is that facing this sort of pain for people in rebellion against Him is so baffling that it almost seems absurd.  It's the foolishness of the gospel: The King laying down His life for the least and the lost.

This last weekend I went to see The Avengers.  In one scene of the movie, two characters have a conversation about what it means to be a king.  One asks the other if he believes himself above the human race, and when the other responds that he does, the first responds in a rather profound way; that this mentality proved he was not fit to be a king.  The true King, the Lord of the Universe, is above us, yet He brings Himself low that He might draw us to Himself.

I want to reflect on that more, especially when someone is treating me unfairly or I'm going through some sort of "pain".  If the God Who created all things could become a suffering servant, how much more should I die to myself and show mercy and grace to others?

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