Twelfth and final in the COURAGE series
The sufferings of Christ have been recounted by many. Like the horror of abortion, we should look hard and see the cruel ripping of human flesh: bloody, painful, evil. With abortion we must look, for then we will protest and work to end it. But for Christ, the mutilations, torture and labored murder were to a purpose, and that is so hard for us to grasp and to embrace. What are we to protest? By his wounds we are healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
The Lord endured his crucifixion for he knew it would usher in an era of revolutionary grace. He did not seek it, but as a man of courage, he faced it and persevered. It is called his "passion" for he earnestly desired (Luke 12:50) to undergo the baptism poured upon him by the religious men seeking his death so that sinners might be born again. He could not send the Holy Spirit until he had himself undergone a conversion from death to life. These astounding concepts are at the core of Christianity.
As his time drew near, he resolutely set his face (Luke 9:51) to go to Jerusalem. Along the way he continued to teach, warn and exhort, heal and cast out demons. Most among us know the other details leading up to his crucifixion and his bravery in the overwhelming trial. He endured the cross, despising the shame (Heb 12:2), and throughout the ordeal, never lost his love, patience nor his wondrous humility.
Some say he lost his faith on the cross, questioning God, "Why hast Thou forsaken me?" No such thing. And if that were the case, how could we look to him for strength and help in our crises? If he doubted the Father when pressed beyond measure, how could we seek to imitate him? No, he was pointing the onlookers to Psalm 22, My God, my God, why has Thou forsaken me? This Psalm is a prophecy of Christ's suffering, hope, and deliverance. Even in his last words, immersed in pain, suffocating from crucifixion, he was teaching us Truth.
Christ is to us the greatest and best example of a man of courage. When your courage is dried up, look to him who proclaims, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Mat 28:17) …I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore… (Rev 1:18)