Originally scheduled for September 22
It is a
truism that communion is a memorial to Christ. For the most part we
prefer to remember the resurrection of Christ above all else. This,
of course, cannot be brought out without mentioning the fact that
Christ died for us. But it is a fairly uncommon thing in communion
meditations to recall that Christ suffered for us — greatly.
acknowledge that the death of Christ performed the atonement which
washes away our sin. If you look into it a little further, you will
see that this atonement is in accordance with the Old Testament law,
which dealt with animal sacrifices. Interestingly, the animal
sacrifices involved very little suffering on the part of the animal.
Indeed, cruelty to animals was something specifically condemned in
the Old Testament law. So why then were things arranged so that
Christ would suffer so much on the cross before his death and
simplest explanation is that this was Christ’s obedience to God the
Father. On more than one occasion he stated that he had come to do
his Father’s will, and this was the will of the Father.
also consider the vicarious nature of the atonement. He suffered for
us as we should suffer. Think about it: we shoot horses, but we
imprison people. Those of us who’ve done prison ministry no that
being imprisoned is a form of suffering and can be quite cruel.
also an element of humility in this. This was not a death with
dignity; it was more like a legal lynch mob. It shows us that in the
manner of his death there is nothing beneath Christ’s dignity.
perhaps the greatest reason for this is that Christ is our
intercessor. To be an intercessor requires that you know what the
other person is going through. Here’s how I put it in one
devotional, many years ago:
Have you ever been down to the point where the government had to get
someone else to carry your load? A welfare case? Simon
of Cyrene carried the cross for Him. He knows how you feel.
Have you ever been down to the point where those around you can
think of nothing more to say than, “Buddy, I’ll buy you a drink?”
They offered Jesus drugged wine. He knows how you feel.
Have you ever been to the point where the world takes away even your
clothes? Have you had to watch total strangers pick through
what used to be your clothes? Bankruptcy and the last garage
sale, perhaps? They gambled for His clothes. He knows
how you feel.
Have you ever been in trouble with the law? To the point where
the criminals around you gave you a hard time about it? They
crucified him between two thieves, and even they insulted Him.
He knows how you feel.
Have you ever been the victim of the insults of the mob? Just
those looking on, laughing at you and calling you names? “Come
down from the cross,” they called to Him. He knows how you
Have you ever had the “righteous” people insult you, calling you
names and letting the world know just how rotten they think you are?
Even the religious leaders insulted Him on the cross. He knows
how you feel.
He knows how you feel, for it all happened to Him. Even though
He had lived the sinless life, deserving none of this, that’s how
they treated Him. So when you feel the world coming down on
top of you, whether you deserve it or not, remember: He knows
how you feel.
Take your troubles to Him. Go to Him in prayer and tell Him
how it is within the depths of your soul. There is nothing you
can say that He does not understand, for He is human just like us.
There is nothing He cannot comprehend, for He is God. There is
nothing He cannot forgive, for He went to the cross for you, that
you might be forgiven. There is no hurt too deep for the
Christ, by whose wounds you are healed. Love, in its purest
form, awaits you. He knows how you feel.
is. Christ did not die a swift, painless death but a long, tortured
one. He did this out of his great love for us. He is now our perfect
intercessor — He knows how you feel.