The last few chapters of Matthew spell out how God put His Son to death. We are reminded how He was mocked, tortured, and hung on that Roman tree of torture.
The cross doesn’t symbolise anything to me but torture. People not being allowed to wear it as a pendant or earrings just doesn’t matter, for crying out loud! The story of the true cross is so dreadful, some people still can’t take it. One commenter says it’s a sick, twisted story. Made up, even. I suppose that if we are angry enough, we could all think like that.
I’ll tell you the truth. I’ve been so angry lately over various issues that I even talked about this very subject in prayer. How God put His Own Son through torture so that we could be saved. I’ll be honest with you. That made me angry. You know what? It’s MY FAULT.
If no one else ever needed redemption apart from me, the whole process would have been my fault, and that act would have been done at the very same time it happened, and it would have lasted until I was eventually born and lived long enough for God Almighty to take me by the scruff of my ugly neck and spiritually condemn me, before giving me the gift of freedom. (Salvation).
Without Jesus Christ doing what He did, I would remain damned. Damned now, and damned forevermore. That’s what putting Him through what God ordered Him to go through did for me. It pulled me from the fires of damnation into the redeeming life that has set me free from eternal agony and an eternity without Him. Without worship. Without His compassion. Living like that forever, after I died.
Look at life around us. It’s dreadful in so many ways. Paul calls all of it a light affliction! Look at the current war in Syria, or the torture of people in North Korea, or look back in history and read about wars; holocausts. (There was more than one of those, people)! Apartheid in South Africa, for instance. The ongoing way people are treated in North Korea. I’m serious. Black slaves, and the lie that apparently, slavery no longer exists. Try telling that to someone looking for amnesty, and the way they are treated; ending up in slave labour, having to give all their documents away so they no longer have anything to call their own. The sex trade, and so on, and so on. No slavery? That’s the biggest lie still told today.
Look at China, and their work ethic. Our disabled wouldn’t get away with doing absolutely nothing if we lived over there. And yet, if we believe in Christ, all of it is a light affliction.
Our troubles down here affect our flesh. It’s evil when people are left to starve to death, or be left without a secure roof over their heads. It’s evil when healthcare is denied, for whatever excuse exists. It’s evil when babies are left dumped somewhere in the hope that they are found before they die.
It’s evil that people dump tiny animals, like puppies; kittens, or whatever else, and actually leave them to die. Not all are found in time. The fluffy stories you hear, or see on YouTube are the lucky ones. The videos make you feel better. You wouldn’t want to see the film I once saw, and how mainly cattle were treated before they got to your plate. I’m afraid we don’t get to see everything. If we did, I think we’d all go raving mad. So we’re spared most of the horror.
Light affliction. Well, when you link it all up with the weight of eternity, Paul is correct. For one thing, eternity, by its very definition, never ends. Anyone suffering in eternity never has any rest. Only those who have received Christ get rest. Their rest lasts forever and they are promised sin will be banished, forever.
We need to read these things in Scripture. We need to remind ourselves that if the Lord had not died, we wouldn’t have Christianity to believe in. For we wouldn’t have the living Christ of God on our side.
That’s huge. So tell people who come at you with the sick, twisted logic they make up. If God allows their ears and eyes to be opened, then that is the biggest act of mercy I can envisage. If He doesn’t, that’s the most frightening thing for the poor souls I can ever imagine.