Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:3
The verse at the top of this post came to mind during yesterday’s Good Friday service. So many of the things I fight for, cling to, and otherwise desire I see Jesus give up during his passion. So I took the invitation to consider him in his suffering hoping to learn from him.
When he needed his friends to pray with him, they fell asleep.
“Get up and pray,” he encouraged them.
When imminent suffering scared him, he prayed.
“Please take this cup of suffering from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”
When betrayed by a close friend he did not try to stop him with all kinds of arguments.
“My friend, go ahead and do what you came for.”
When abandoned, he faced what was coming with resolution.
“This is happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.”
When lied about in court, he remained silent.
No need to justify himself.
But he acknowledged the truth knowing its consequences.
“…you will see the Son of Man sitting at God’s right hand”
When his best friend denied ever knowing him, he prayed for him.
“But I have pleaded for you…that your strength should not fail. So when you have repented…”
When mocked, he did not return the insults.
He was quiet.
When beaten, he bled but did not lash out.
He accepted the lashes.
When unjustly sentenced to death, he carried his cross to a hill outside of town.
They called it Skull Hill.
When soldiers pierced his hands and feet and affixed him to that rugged piece of wood, he forgave them.
“Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.”
Even when his deep, heartfelt cry to God was misunderstood, he did not complain.
No. He merely died.
He had no sin in need of atonement.
But he was broken for it.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Where does Jesus’ example meet you?
For me, it’s in the tendency to get defensive, to fight when attacked, to argue when falsely (or even justly) accused. Jesus deserved better but did not need to defend himself. Ever wonder why?
I see two reasons for Jesus security in the Passion narratives. First, Jesus trusted his Father completely. His trust oozes as he prays “Father, you can do anything you want…” and when he instructs Peter, “I could ask for 1000 angels and the Father would send them.” My insecurity about myself betrays a lack of trust in God and the person he made me and is making me into.
Second, Jesus knew the Scriptures and understood from them that the Messiah had to suffer. He determined to do the Father’s will not his own and the Scriptures told him what God’s will was. He accepted what that meant for him. I take comfort from the fact that even Jesus didn’t want to do what God asked of him. It’s highly unlikely that God will ever ask me to suffer half as much. So what am I so afraid of? What are you so afraid of?
If you want the security Jesus demonstrates, you’ll have to get to know God. You’ll have to trust him. You’ll have to stop gripping what he calls you to lay down. It may not be your life. It may be a defining characteristic of your life like fear, worry, insecurity, or faithlessness. By losing your life, he promised you would find it.
Are you weary or losing heart this Resurrection Day? I admit sometime I am and I do. Consider him who endured such opposition…