Slow of Heart
Originally scheduled for May 2
a question nobody wants to ask: “why was it necessary that Christ
suffered on the cross?” We acknowledge that he did suffer, died and
rose again. But the question of “why” is when we are more reluctant
to tackle. It sounds too, well, “theological.”
can gain some help in answering the question from a look at the
Greek in this passage. The word translated here as “necessary” can
also be translated in other ways.
It can be seen as
something which is essentially fitting. It puts the pieces of the
puzzle together; without it you have a string of facts and no
It can also be seen as
something divinely necessary. It is God’s order of things to happen
that includes suffering, and his plan is not perfect without it.
argument made here starts with one of the major reasons for the
suffering: it is prophesied in the Old Testament. All the prophets
testify to it; it is therefore divinely necessary to happen. We see
within it the reason for the cross: the Atonement. The entire Old
Testament shows over and over again that if sin is to be dealt with,
there must be sacrifice. That sacrifice has to be unblemished; we
have to sacrifice the best, not the worst.
must be judged; the law must be honored. The suffering of Christ was
necessary to manifest God’s justice. It is essentially fitting for
that reason. But there is one more reason that we may find. It is
essentially fitting that the one who suffered for us is now entitled
to be lord over us. The suffering of Christ on the cross fitted him
out to be our sovereign Lord over the church.
is pretty deep theology for a short communion meditation. What might
be more important to us today is what our reaction should be. Christ
tells these men that their reaction is wrong for two reasons:
They are foolish. They are
taking the most serious situation in human history and treating it
as if it were local gossip and story. They take the sacrifice too
They are “slow of heart.”
They may have been quick to receive the blessing of Christ in his
teaching and his miracles, but they are slow to commit to believing
what the prophets told them. There’s a difference between a
girlfriend and a wife — commitment.
as always, Christ stays with them to ensure their salvation. But
please notice the moment at which they recognize him for who he is.
It is when he breaks bread and gives it to them.
Communion is the physical reminder of the suffering of Christ on the
cross. We see in the bread his broken body; in the cup we see his
shed blood. The signs of our collective memory are in our hands.
They are meant to awaken our understanding. In these symbols we are
to see, once again, the suffering that Christ endured so that we
might have redemption. Think again on these things, and then partake
in a worthy manner.