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His Pain, Your Gain

We have so theologized the passion and death of this sacred man that we no longer see the slow unraveling of his tissue, the spread of gangrene, his raging thirst. —Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

The images in the movie “The Passion of the Christ” stunned us all. After decades of dissecting the meaning of the cross, some of us had become desensitized to the fact that the crucifixion was all too real that day in Jerusalem: Real whips, real nails, scarlet blood, steaming sweat, bitter tears—real suffering.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

The writers of the Gospels don’t go into the gory details of the cross. They described His mode of torture and execution as quite a matter of fact. (Historians and Hollywood have willingly filled in the graphic descriptions.) Prior to the cross, Jesus knew the normal demands and limitations of the human body. We don’t have an indication that He got sick, but He may have. We do see plenty of hunger, thirst, and physically tired. He definitely understands physical suffering; He certainly sympathizes with our physical suffering.

The important thing is that Jesus is here, and Jesus cares. And did something about it. Because of the suffering that He endured through His death on the cross, we can know a peace that surpasses all comprehension, joy in spite of our circumstances, and intimacy with Him through that shared experience.

Lord Jesus, Isaiah predicted that You would carry my sorrows and take up my infirmities. So I leave them with You now. Thank You for the peace that was bought through Your punishment and the healing that I can know through Your wounds. I claim that now through faith in You! Amen.

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