I'm preaching tomorrow on the third prediction in Mark of the 'total humiliation' of Christ.
The question I want to ask is why must the Son of Man suffer the most cruel, excruciating, humiliating, mocking, spitting, flogging & killing?
See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise - Mark 10:33-34.
Let me suggest a number of things, among others, which serve as reasonable explanations:
- To fulfill Scriptures - Jesus expounds the Old Testament in order to make this prediction.
- To fulfill prophecy - Jesus predicts the future accessible only to divinity.
- To expose sinfulness - when sinners bore their teeth it showed their natural, inner, hostility to God and His truth that dwells in graceless hearts.
- To declare sinlessness - tested to the limit, no taunt or trial spared, yet without complaint, blot or gripe: Jesus comes from the fire His spotless character proved.
- To reveal faith - buffeted by waves, storm-tossed in winds, He holds on to God's promise, His faith unshaken and firm.
- To actively obey - Jesus obeys fully all that God commands to supply a spotless robe to clothe those who believe.
- To passively endure - subject to God's will, well-pleasing to the Father, He suffers all our Hell to open gates of pearl.
I'm sure there's other reasons, but if we get a handle on Christ's septet of suffering, it will nourish us in sunshine, and give strength when gloom surrounds:
- To Shame - all these things were suffered in His office of sin-bearer: these healing strips are yours, this is what your guilt deserves.
- To Strengthen - the mind, heart & will of Christ are full of grace and faith to support you in the storms: how vital when His sufferings spill over into your life.
- To Subdue - when passing through a trial it is easy to complain: Jesus remind us to ask, when we see what we deserve, if called to suffer, why should saints complain?
- To Sanctify - God permits our trials to develop character, so if we should suffer for Christ, we are called to endure like Christ with a quiet, humble, countenance.
- To Supplicate - if all the grace we need is bound up in the heart of the glorified, exalted, Christ, then we need to fall to knees & cry for patient faith to stand.
- To Sing - if the Most High Son, in love, was prepared to suffer for you, is gratitude not the reason that many martyrs died in praise?
Happy and humble - when humiliated for Him - this is final proof of true, mature, Christ-like holiness!
Lord, in your mercy, forgive all our complaint in light of the loving, unsparing, beautiful consecration of Jesus Christ!
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