Wednesday, September 21, 2011


    The New Testament starkly understates the physical suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ experienced during His trial and crucifixion.  Less than 20 verses actually chronicle the matter, which amounts percentage wise to far less than 1% of the Gospel record (the Old Testament actually contains more graphic depictions of our Lord's suffering, although again, limited in number and stark description).
     This seems counter-intuitive.  Wouldn't details of our Savior's physical agony lead to more love, devotion and appreciation in our hearts and minds?  Perhaps, to some degree.  Again, the Bible does give us some account of Christ's suffering.  However, Scripture omits overt gore and graphic detail of this most terrible time in our Lord's redemptive work on our behalf.  By implication, therefore, we must conclude that growing love for the Lord Jesus must far more result from other spiritual realities and truths.
    It does.  Again, "understated" best describes the work of God whereby the love of God is most revealed in us and by us.  Our Heavenly Father assiduously avoids the sensationalistic and titillating as He conforms us to the image of Christ.  We live most of our lives in the quiet and mundane shadows of existence wherein we fulfill our daily responsibilities, relate to our world, and face the blessings and challenges of life in a fallen world wherein the glory of God is nevertheless always at hand (Isaiah 6:3).  Relatively speaking, few big, noisy things happen in our lives, and we often discover that their aftermath leaves less beneficial imprint in our walk with God than we would have expected.
     "The just shall live by faith" declares both Old Testament and New.  Such a life necessitates a predominately quiet and unobtrusive working of the Holy Spirit whereby the hearts of the redeemed more and more discover the perfectly trustworthy Heart of the Redeemer.  Such personal growth in grace largely happens in the intensely personal and private relating that strong relationships always require.  Vivid and overt things do sometimes happen in our experience of the Lord Jesus.  This is not the norm, however, nor should it be.  As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, "We are saved by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope" (Romans 8:24).
    Our Heavenly Father could have chosen to graphically describe the horrors of His Son's sufferings administered by God and man.  Or perhaps He couldn't have.  Perhaps such description would have clouded the real issues of truth and faith, distracting us from the deeper work of Heart to heart that genuinely reveals Christ to us and within us.  Whatever the case, God's way and Word are perfect, and His largely discreet working in our hearts will one day lead to the open display of so great a salvation and so great a Savior...
"Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
(Matthew 13:43)

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