The Cross and the Suffering Savior
The first part of this section talks about Jesus carrying the cross to Golgotha. It references the passage of scripture in Luke that talks about the man Simon who was stopped and asked to carry the cross the rest of the way for Jesus.
I have to say this book was a very different type of book than I’m use to reading. But when I came across the authors reference to Hebrews 12:1-3 I stopped. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…” “who for the joy before him endured the cross..” “so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Those 3 sections of that scripture really stood out to me.
Every single ounce of pain that Jesus endured he did for us. Jesus was fully human yet fully God. Something very hard for us to wrap our minds around. In his humanity Jesus endured horrible pain. I believe he endured that pain for a reason. I believe everytime one of us experiencse pain in life Jesus is gently whispering to us…”I know pain…I endured pain for you…” He endured that horrible pain because he wants us to know …he understands. I believe that Jesus being fully God thought of each and every one of us as he endured that pain.
As the author of Hebrews states, Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. No matter where life takes us our Savior tell us, stay focused on me. Don’t look at your problems look at me. When life is good and everything is going right, look at me, I gave you that. When life is horrible look at me, I’ll carry you through.
The passage in Hebrews says that Jesus endured the pain of the cross because of the joy set before him. Most of us I think read that and think, his joy was to be with his father in heaven. Which I believe partially to be true. But I don’t think that’s the only joy that passage is referring to. I believe Jesus endured that pain because one day because of his sacrifice he will be with each and every one of us for eternity. I believe he saw that joy that was set before him. He knew that he had to ‘endure’ for us. He loved us that much. He knew one day he would be in heaven with each and every one of us for eternity.
Notice how the author of Hebrews cautions us. If we don’t fix our eyes on Jesus we will grow weary and lose heart. Life is rough sometimes, heck, often times. But we must fix our eyes on Jesus. I believe the author of Hebrews cautioned us for a reason. It’s not easy to always fix our eyes on Jesus, especially in the storm. Peter showed us that. When the storm hit, he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink into the water he was just walking on a minute ago. How many of us have experienced that? I can admit myself to being right in the midst of my ‘miracle’ and bam..the enemy strikes, the storm hits and I take my eyes of Jesus…and what happens…I start sinking…I begin to grow weary..I lose heart.
We must….FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS.
The next section goes on to discuss a legend that says that the wood that the cross was made of came from the Tree of Knowledge. I honestly skimmed briefly through this. The author explains that although the story is fabricated, the power of the cross has drawn in many tall tales over time.
The chapter goes on to talk about the ‘Shepherds Cross’ which I found very interesting. The author comments on how as a child she was filled with images of Jesus gently holding a sheep, or many depictions of Jesus in serene settings. I always found that interesting myself, that so much of what Jesus is often depicted as in artwork is so contrary to the true Jesus.
The shepherds cross was one that was used with brute force to ward off attackers. The shepherd forcefully defended any of his sheep who were in trouble from attackers.
Jesus may have been loving and compassionate, but Jesus was no passive, quiet, and meek Savior. He was a warrior. He casts out demons and threw fits in the temple.
In Exodus 15 after the Israelites cross the Red Sea, they proclaim “Yahweh is a warrior.”
And if you think when Jesus comes back to take us home it’s going to be all happy go lucky, rainbows in the sky you have another thing coming. In Revelations 19 it says that Jesus will return mounted on a steed of war, with his robe dipped in blood, armed for battle.
Personally I get so charged up reading this. I don’t know about you but knowing the power of my Savior just brings chills down my spine.
The section goes on to discuss Jesus as a man of sorrows. The earliest scripture reference to this we find in Isaiah 53. The author describe numerous passages of scripture that all point to the humanity of Jesus. Something I think all of us should find incredibly refreshing. Jesus experienced every single type of hurt, pain or emotion you and I have ever experienced. In Matthew 27 Jesus even asked God, “ Why have you forsaken me.”
Life can be tough, and many times we may wonder where God is. He sometimes seems so far away. Well as the Hebrew author stated …do not grow weary of lose heart. Simply cry out to Jesus . Because even Jesus knew what it felt like to have God seem so far away.
Although this book was very different from what I would normally read, I enjoyed it. I pray that as we all go through the trials and battles in life we can remember the pain that Jesus endured on the cross. And as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:17, Our light and momentary troubles are nothing compared to the eternal glory that awaits us.
Thanks for catching me up to speed, Sean. I am finding this read very interesting. The part about the Shepherd's cross stands out. We get a picture in our minds of how we think things should be…Jesus breaks down our human expectations. Nice post.
I love the image of the shepherd using the staff to fight of attacking animals. This is the kind of background that really helps me to understand who Jesus is as our Great Shepherd. So I agree with you Laura! I appreciate Sean's perspective on what the book shared in this part…
i have not heard it said before that when Jesus was crucified, his back was toward jerusalem and his face toward the west.
when i was reading and came to the part that said that simon was coming back from gardening and was carring a bundle of lopped branches, i was stopped there for a time. my mind considering what else that could be saying. i wondered if those branches were from a pruning, and if simon was taking them home to burn them. not that it implies that at all. it is just that my mind went there.
i really like to think that simon's heart was touched by grace as he shouldered the cross of Christ.
the part about the outlook of christians changing their outlook about shouldering the cross was interesting. how the face of the carrier changed over time, starting with an eagerness to reach a destination. and about the crosses that we bear today will fade and crumble in the light of heaven's glory.
i agree with sean about how “let us fix our eyes upon Jesus…” stood-out in this reading.
more really cool words came along with “let us fix our eyes on Jesus” …
“GREAT CLOUDS of witnesses” isn't that cool? “surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses”. talk about a picture!
and THROW OFF EVERYTHING! woah! how clear is that? not just take off but, THROW OFF !
“let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…”
then RUN ! not walk or mosey… “let us RUN with perseverance…
“let us fix out eyes on Jesus…”
CONSIDER HIM … “…consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” SO THAT YOU WILL NOT…GROW WEARY…OR LOSE HEART…
I appreciate all of your comments here Nancy! These are great reflections, and I'm finding that this study is really prompting me to think in different ways about the cross, and our wonderful Savior!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!