n the previous discussion under the topic "Cloud of Witnesses" we have made appropriate references to the reproaches and afflictions, which our Lord went through.
We have seen the many times when Jeremiah (representing the fate of all the Old testament prophets), Peter, John, other apostles, Paul and Silas were whipped, and imprisoned, for committing no sin except doing all that were good. Stephen was stoned to death. James the son of Zebedee and John the Baptist were beheaded. Job was badly tortured. Joseph went through ordeals. He went to prison for refusing to have carnal enjoyment with his boss's wife.
It is unfortunate that most Christians of today have closed their eyes to this face of the Cross-, which signifies affliction, trial, temptation, ordeal, denial of self and pleasure. This face of the Cross, is no longer heard on many pulpits except the face that depicts deliverance from oppression, the face that depicts the power of Jesus to heal, cast out demons, work miracles and acquire properties in abundance in what is styled 'Prosperity for all Christians' and the face that depicts Jesus, as a super power.
But one comes before the other. And the Lord illustrated it this way: "----Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world will exchange it for eternal glory" (John 12:24).
The Lord endured the Cross- first, i.e. the shame, suffering, reproach, and agony before He was glorified. Except the Lord had borne the shame, pain and affliction of the Cross and lay His life on it, there would have been no deliverance from sin for us, nor from oppression, nor from fear, nor from sickness today. And that is why the Lord did not mince words but said it bluntly and clearly that whoever will come to Him must be prepared to have his share of the suffering, affliction and tribulation. Else, that fellow is not worthy of Him. Going by the footsteps of Jesus alone dignifies the Christian and at the same time glorifies the Father (Jesus) just like any child who takes after his earthly father.
Because of our spiritual pride, ignorance and misconception of who Christ is and what He stands for, our expectation would have been that, if Jesus even allowed Himself to be arrested, at the point of torturing Him, His captors would have found themselves being tortured, to show them His magnificent power. When they lifted their hands to slap and smite Him, they would have been slapping and smiting themselves. The executioners would have found it impossible to put Him on the cross-, talk less of crucifying Him. And after they have been frustrated, Jesus will jest at them and fly into heaven as they watch. To a lot of Christians today, only an act like this glorifies God. This same reasoning accounts for all kinds of teaching today where Christians think and imagine that as Christians, who are children of God, with God owing the world and its fullness (Psalm 24:1), only being wealthy, with possession of abundance of materials will glorify God. They cannot see nor imagine how God can be glorified by a humble living. Not taking into consideration that the Lord Himself came into the world through a family of humble background. Not taking into consideration His word that says: "My Kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36).
To be contd