Sharing in His Sufferings 2
Sharing in His Sufferings 2
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2—NIV)
Sometimes we hear people talk about the "beautiful Jesus." Anyone who follows Jesus in sincere discipleship will soon find out that our salvation is far from being beautiful. It is rugged, difficult at times, demanding all the patience and courage we can bring to the conflict. So it was with our Lord.
God may bring us down until there is nothing in our appearance that is desirable to people.
We may build a beautiful church and hope people will be impressed with how wonderful everything looks. It is well to have a clean, attractive building; but in other countries today Christians are being raped and sold into slavery. It is not unusual for saints to leave bloody footprints in the snow.
We are far too soft in America. I think the coming days will show us that God is not interested in our being beautiful and wonderful. We may be brought down to horrible circumstances. But, historically speaking, this is part of the normal Christian life.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3—NIV)
Would we be popular? Christ was despised by people. This is part of the sufferings of Christ which we are to experience—being made despicable in the eyes of the people around us.
We are not being persecuted very much in America. Maybe we will some day. Then we will have a clearer understanding of how Christ and the Apostles lived on the earth.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4—NIV)
As I said before, we are not called upon to make an atonement for sin. But as we serve God we may be required to fill up that which is lacking of the sufferings of Christ.
Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. (Colossians 1:24—NIV)
We hear of a young minister who is all excited because he believes that God has called him to found a church in a certain area. It is one of the highest of all honors when the Lord God of Heaven commissions us to start a church.
But you can be sure that before the church is firmly established our young minister will suffer the pangs of spiritual birth. This always is necessary if Satan is to be overthrown and a place made ready for God's feet.
It reminds me of the five young missionaries who were speared by Wadoni tribesmen in Equador during the 1950s. Their death opened the way for salvation to come to these Indians. But what a price was paid by the wives of the young men! It is always so when God sends us against the kingdom of Hell.
The sufferings of Christ must be fulfilled for the sake of His Body.
No, it is not a beautiful sight to see the bodies of five fine young men floating in a river. "Strange ashes," indeed!
To be continued. Sharing in His Sufferings 3