14. What did the terrible crucifixion do for us in our suffering?
Jesus, the son of God, made possible an intimacy with God that was not possible until His son paved that Way. They/we now have an ability to make a close relationship to the Father as had never been possible with a nation. The curtain in the Temple had made a division between God and the people, and now, broken down, revealed a God who needed not the national obedience, but the obedience of each individual who would approach Him. No one previously could touch the representing articles of God, such as the ark, no one had seen God face to face and because of His seeming remoteness there, they did not hold Him in any intimacy, until He sent His son, Jesus. Jesus came to heal and raise and give hope again. Jesus’ own response to his suffering was one of fear and trembling and crying and tears and pleading with God. After this, the despair of others fades significantly, Job’s despair, the anguish like in Lamentations, the pleading like the prophets for the nation’s goodness and healing. But then he said, “Thy will be done”. So the son provided a new way of holding things together, resolving the sinner’s alienation, restoring the fallen and reconciling the intimate Godly relationship again. It was Jesus Christ the son of God, the suffering servant, the forsaken one, the crucified one who understood the struggles of everyman, who provided this new way, and when he rose from the tomb where they had laid him, on the third day, their faith was made whole and they believed. Indeed to this day, to that son we make witness, as well, with celebrations of his birth, his death and his resurrection. And then the wonderful promise that this stricken and risen Lord made, was that he would return to fulfill all righteousness and be a king at last.
The trials and torments go on, for millennia, and still saints live under the promise of his return. That he has not yet returned, feeds the disappointment, the same long apparent silence of God, the same Face seemingly hidden from those who love Him. But hope over rides the feelings we have of abandonment with the questions that the world is unfair, that evil thrives and is not quenched, and so much goodness is expunged. God might have promised to put everything under the feet of Jesus, “Yet we do not see everything subject to him”, Hebrews 2. Do we, as well, really believe that good triumphing over evil will ever happen? We do in hope.
If Jesus had not suffered, but rather used his power to disable his enemies, he could not be now one of us, and would have failed in his mission to be one with us, to redeem us. Somehow, someway God needed to provide a means by which we can return to the purity we were at the Creation, before the freewill He had given us led us to The Fall. We too can now identify intimately with God through the sufferings of His son. Not only does God know about our pain, but because we now know God intimately, He shares in our pain. God has a concern with His love for us for He hates the evil that we do, but in His mercy He forgives us.
God loved His people and wanted them to strive for goodness, but the evil that reigned within their hearts which produced the deeds that quenched His love for them, disappointed Him,. So He sent His son to soak up the evil like a sponge when the stab is made, or when the spear is thrown in the heart. So we now know that evil can be absorbed by those who love Him and evil can be transformed into good ness and love. Asking for blessings on the evil one might just turn away the evil.
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Forty days the risen Lord had walked the earth, glowing in his resurrected self and able now to convince some of the deniers and the doubters. Surely now was the time to overcome the Romans and bring in the longed for Kingdom? But one day he rose in the air and was never seen again on the earth.
Only then did they understand that he had come not only to show them, and future believers, how to deal with injustice, but to show us all what God is like. He gave us all instructions in how to grow a church full of believers as a new dwelling place for God, where he is head, and where every heart breathes in faith about him. Is that enough for us?
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