A SUFFERING AND TRIUMPHANT GOD Sayings from the Cross, Part II
Dr. Valson Abraham
Because Jesus Christ is both divine and human, His final words on the cross reveal not only the work and character of God but also God’s intention for us in a broken world.
“I thirst.” The One who comforted grieving hearts, healed the sick, raised the dead and fed the hungry now experiences suffering Himself. In this sinful world, no one is immune from suffering, not even God as He voluntarily absorbs our suffering humanity in His own person. Like Jesus, we are called to help those who suffer, but we should also expect to suffer in this world ourselves. Not only does God take on our suffering, but He shows us what we must expect ourselves.
“It is finished.” Jesus completed the work for which He came to earth. Although He was only 33 years old, He said and did everything necessary to accomplish His mission. Suffering and death did not prevent His earthly purpose but became a tool in its fulfillment. In this sense, the enemies of Jesus, both earthly and spiritual, utterly failed to neutralize Him.
How many of us complete the work for which God made us? Death is the enemy of the person without God. Earthly life seems so absurdly short because we seem to accomplish and say so little of permanent significance. Within a century after we are gone, most of us are totally forgotten by succeeding generations.
How to overcome this final absurdity is the ultimate question of all persons, whether they are prince or peasant. Only God has the answer to this ultimate question, and He carried it in an earthly body subject to suffering and death.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” I know of people who curse in their last moment of life, or scream in terror as death overtakes them. But Jesus ends His earthly life with complete trust in His Father’s ability to vindicate His life, suffering and death.
Jesus died a physical wreck on a Friday afternoon, His earthly body bloodied by thorns, whips, nails and spears, His spirit seared by the mocking men who slandered His holy and sinless name and life. But on Sunday morning, Jesus rises from the grave in glory, demonstrating His final authority over pain, suffering and death.
Jesus tells us, “Whosoever believes in me shall not perish but have eternal life.”
“Trust me,” Jesus says. “What I accomplished from Good Friday to Easter Sunday can become yours as well as you trust me.” Trust Jesus to save you from your sin and condemnation and to give you peace with God. Trust Jesus to use your suffering as a tool to accomplish His purpose in your life. Trust Jesus to lead you out of Satan’s lies and into His truth and light. Trust Jesus to help you accomplish the purpose for which God created you. Trust Jesus to help you safely enter death’s door into glory.
Long before you take your last earthly breath, you can experience the resurrection power of God in this life, just as Jesus did. As Paul says: “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11)
Each of us who trusts Jesus Christ has already received that resurrection power of God through the Holy Spirit. Let each of us begin today to trust Him to work through us to do great and mighty things. This is our privilege as a result of the suffering, completed and obedient work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
As we live from day to day, let us remember this wonderful news, and let us take the Good News to all in India who thirst for the righteousness of God and the answer to life’s sufferings.
Father God, you sent your Son to die that I might live, not only in heaven, but here and now. Help me to fully accept your grace to abide in you as you already abide in me, to experience your transforming power, and to ask for great and mighty things, including the pouring out of your grace throughout all of India and beyond. In Jesus’ Name.