Friday, December 05, 2008

Christ’s Sorrow

Christ’s Sorrow

The lesson asks the question, “Have you ever been so overcome with sorrow that you felt you would not survive?” I would have to answer that I know of I have never been so overcome with sorrow that I felt I would not survive. I am pretty sure that in the midst of it I may have felt that way. But, after that I cannot recall it. How about you?

Two things come out of this. One, it is as pregnant women delivering. In the moment it is painful. After labor they forget. Let us read John 16:21

John 16:21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

Two, in reality, objectively, no sorrow we go through will ever be so much we cannot survive. God will not let us go through what we cannot handle. This is what Paul states in 1 Corinthians 10:13

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

So we could safely say that Christ was allowed to go as far as He did, because He could bear it. Not, necessarily because He was God, but because He surrendered Himself completely to the will of His Father. This is not to say that if we surrender ourselves completely to the will of the Father we could do what He did, in terms of being sin-bearers.
Sister White says it best,

“Man has not been made a sin-bearer, and he will never know the horror of the curse of sin which the Saviour bore. No sorrow can bear any comparison with the sorrow of Him upon whom the wrath of God fell with overwhelming force. Human nature can endure but a limited amount of test and trial. The finite can only endure the finite measure, and human nature succumbs; but the nature of Christ had a greater capacity for suffering; for the human existed in the divine nature, and created a capacity for suffering to endure that which resulted from the sins of a lost world. The agony which Christ endured, broadens, deepens, and gives a more extended conception of the character of sin, and the character of the retribution which God will bring upon those who continue in sin. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ to the repenting, believing sinner.”—Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1103.

Many claim that others suffer more than Christ, because He did not suffer as long as others. There is a problem with this thinking. They typically are talking about Christ’s physical suffering. Christ physical suffering was bad, but has noting to do with our salvation. Christ torment started in Gethsemane - at least it was evident by then - before the physical torture to which the devil put Him through. To say that this physical torture has anything to do with our salvation is to say that the devil had a role in our salvation, which we know is not true. When the Father “spared not His own Son” (Romans 8:32) and made Him a curse for us, He poured His cup of wrath without mercy on Christ (Galatians 3:13; Revelation 14:10). This meant a complete separation between Christ and the Father. Goodbye to life forever. This is what caused the sorrow of Christ, and what eventually killed Him.

While physically we could suffer longer than Christ, even to the point where we think or feel that we cannot survive, it will never be more that what Christ ever suffered. And, this is good news. While this does not mean that we will never suffer or bear any sorrow. To think this goes against scripture. Matthew 5:10 and John 15:20 is two examples,

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

It does mean that Christ enables us to bear any sorrow because He bore His and ours on the Cross. Are we not grateful to Him?