Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Following the Example of Jesus to Endure

“Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you many not grow weary or lose heart.”

~Hebrews 12:3 (NRSV).

I recall The Passion of the Christ (2004) and those scenes where Jesus (played by James Caviezel) was flogged heinously prior to his execution on the cross. I saw that film in its premiere season no less than seven times — at that time I was journeying through my own Gethsemane experience.

The emotional pain played out in the flogging scene was felt by everyone who watched it, I’m sure.

But did Jesus not also endure many varieties of pain during his lifetime, particularly as he cast his compassionate eye over a wayward, disbelieving, mocking humanity?

Enduring in Our Weakness

When we focus on the verse above — perhaps stricken in our own calamitous tumults — we will see Jesus there, in our midst, suffering again as if for the first time... to give us this salvation life — and a way of thinking and feeling in power — to get us through these present difficulties.

A new thread of peaceable patience becomes us. We quietly reflect.

Perhaps we will see Jesus empathising with us, travelling with us, like no one else ever could or would.

Jesus — this very personal Jesus — endured so we too could have the exemplification of endurance, and this is not Stoic endurance. It is the endurance to rely in trust on God our Father.

It is endurance in our weakness; for the Spiritual strength of God is mandated to help.

It is power, but not from us. We’re gifted and graced with this cogent power.

We don’t need strength to endure. Instead, we embrace our weakness, honestly, before the foot of the cross. We embrace it like Jesus; with no reprehension.

That’s why it works. It’s employing the power capable of anything.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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