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Friday, April 14, 2017

Inspired by . . . the agony of His love

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isa 53:3-5)

Walking slowly through the events of John 19 hurts my heart. I want to read quickly - run to the empty tomb. Cling, like Mary to my Risen Savior.

But I believe there is always a purpose to suffering. A lesson woven through the trials of this life. A molding of our hearts to be like His. No matter how much it hurts. And, friend, it will never hurt us as much as it hurt Him.

Flogging, scourged, mocked, spit upon. The written word can seem benign until we dig deeper into its meaning.

The truth is when the soldiers placed the purple cloak around Jesus the flesh on His back had been stripped to the bone. Already close to death, the soldiers would have had to hold Him upright to receive the mocking they were about to give Him. The thorns that dug into His scalp were barely felt amidst the fire flaming from His back.

And yet, I wonder if the emotional pain He felt from the mockery, the betrayal of those He loved wasn't worse. I think it was. 

The hatred in the eyes of the crowd, His people, the people He healed, the people He came to save. The hatred in the eyes of the soldiers. This is what crushed our Lord.

The agony of the cross is love. The lesson of the cross is love. The command of the cross is love. [click to tweet]

In the garden when Judas betrayed Him, Jesus called him Friend.(Matt 26:50)  Does it surprise you that even then Jesus reaches out to Judas with love? It shouldn't. 
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2Pe 3:9)
Even Jesus' question to Judas in Luke 22:48 is a plea of grace.
That is the wonder of a grace that is amazing. It is the challenge to the redeemed heart from the heart of the Redeemer. ~Bill Crowder, The Path of His Passion
The fact that Jesus continued to love and have compassion for those who hated, rejected, mocked and reviled Him doesn't change the depth of His suffering. The rejection didn't hurt any less.

In truth, I believe His capacity for love made His suffering worse. Just as His purity made the slightest thought of being consumed by the sins of the world total agony for Him.

Yet He bore it all. Willingly.

For me. For you.

Because of His great love for us.

The cross is the action behind the words of Jesus that we so easily stumble over.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. [Jn 13:34]

I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you [Matt 5:44]
The power of the cross is the power of Christ in us. It enables us to obey, even where obedience may seem impossible. [click to tweet]

Like loving your enemy. The one who has betrayed you. Mocked you. Rejected you. Abused you.

As I sit at the foot of the cross and listen to my Lord and Savior, 
And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luk 23:34)
I realize the amazing gift of forgiveness isn't one I can keep just for myself. Just as the message of the cross is meant to be shared, I must also share the grace I have been given, while I was yet His enemy, to those who are yet my enemies.

For it is by grace, His grace, that they may be saved.


Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement,

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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June