Dear Reader, the road to the cross is not for the faint of heart. Reflecting on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus is hard, but how can we come into a closer relationship with Him if we don’t dig a little deeper? Let us go on this difficult, but necessary, journey together.
Have you ever been tempted, Dear Reader? Offered an easy way out?
Recently in the news there have been multiple accounts of individuals taking advantage of trusting souls to pad their own pockets. The total thefts far exceeded decades of income for Tom and me.
What amazed me about the incidents was that they weren’t one time occurences. Money was pilfered over several years. It made me wonder two things: didn’t anyone notice money missing; and didn’t the larcenists ever have any warning bells go off in their heads, at least in the beginning?
I’ve never had massive financial resources or power within my grasp, but it doesn’t take a theologian to know temptation comes in all sizes. I didn’t learn anything new from these reports that I hadn’t already learned as a child.
Mama came from a family of seamstresses. They had reputations for creating and producing quality work. When Mama taught me to sew she taught me to never cut corners, and to do the job right the first time.
One time when I asked Mama about finishing off seams underneath, she said they were just as important as the part of the garment that showed. When I started to balk about being so careful on something nobody would notice, she had a resounding answer, “Whether anyone else knows or not, you’ll know if you take a shortcut.”
And there the soldiers offered him a mild painkiller, a drink of wine mixed with gall,[c]but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.
Matthew 27: 35 TPT
It doesn’t seem likely that the soldiers who had just scourged and humiliated Jesus would offer him something to numb the pain of the crucifixion. Maybe it was part of the crucifixion process intended to keep the condemned from thrashing about while they wrestled him onto the cross.
Either way, Jesus was tempted to take an easier way out of the ordeal that was quickly going from awful to excruciating…and He didn’t take it.
Forsaken by His followers, tried by hypocrites and foreigners, tortured and tormented by seasoned Roman soldiers, how did Jesus have the presence of mind to refuse the wine and gall?
Dear Reader, have you ever found yourself facing a cross and nowhere to turn? Have you questioned whether your actions even mattered? Has there been a time when the actions of others have driven you to the brink?
I’m so sorry, Dear Reader, but the Lord doesn’t promise to zap us out when things become unbearable. Nevertheless, He promises something better.
1 Israel, the Lord who created you says,
“Do not be afraid—I will save you.
I have called you by name—you are mine.
2 When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you.
When you pass through fire, you will not be burned;
the hard trials that come will not hurt you.
Isaiah 43: 1-2 GNT
Dear Reader, do you see that? The Lord promises to go through with us and be with us on the other side. Stuff happens! But God knows that. The Lord also knows His children are made in His own image, sterner stuff than anything the world can throw at us.
I wonder if Isaiah’s words whispered through the pain to Jesus, offering what no narcotic ever could: hope. The same hope against troubles, trials, and temptation that’s offered to us. Jesus paid the price of heaven so we could share in the hope that can only be found through our Heavenly Father.