The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
~ PSALM 118:6
Loved by the Lord of Life
Satan cannot reach you without passing through God.
Then what are we to make of the occasions Satan does reach us? How are we supposed to understand the violence listed in Hebrews 11? . . . Or, most supremely, how are we to understand the suffering of Jesus? Ropes. Whips. Thorns. Nails. These trademarked his final moments. Do you hear the whip slapping against his back, ripping sinew from bone?
In polite Roman society, the word cross was an obscenity, not to be uttered in conversation. Roman soldiers were exempt from crucifixion except in matters of treason. It was ugly and vile, harsh and degrading. And it was the manner by which Jesus chose to die. “He humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8 NIV).
A calmer death would have sufficed. A single drop of blood could have redeemed humankind. Shed his blood, silence his breath, still his pulse, but be quick about it. Plunge a sword into his heart. Take a dagger to his neck. Did the atonement for sin demand six hours of violence?
No, but his triumph over sadism did. Jesus once and for all displayed his authority over savagery. Evil may have her moments, but they will be brief. Satan unleashed his meanest demons on God’s Son. He tortured every nerve ending and inflicted every misery. Yet the master of death could not destroy the Lord of life. Heaven’s best took hell’s worst and turned it into hope.
Lord of all the earth and heavens, we stand in awe to think how you suffered to bring salvation to your children. Because of your suffering, our sins are forgiven. You triumphed over evil and freed us from its tyranny. Your death brings hope and healing to our everyday lives. This greatest act of love gives grand gifts to all who will receive them. Thank you, amen.
We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
~ 1 JOHN 3:2–3
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.
~ ISAIAH 53:11
Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.
~ PSALM 33:20–21