As I'm beginning this post, it is the eve of Good Friday, also known as Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday. Earlier this evening, in the crisp, cool spring air, I was staring at the full moon, in awe of its beauty and placement. It was hanging so low in the night sky with almost a deep yellow tint to it. It was so large I felt as if I could just reach out my hand and touch the moon itself. I could clearly see the many indentations of craters caused by numerous meteor strikes throughout the thousands of years of its existance. And then I began to wonder...
Was this similar to the night my Christ Jesus passionately endured fear, pain, heartache, loneliness (the list goes on) prior to His arrest, during His mock trial, the flogging, the crucufixion, and ultimately His resurrection? The overwhelming emotions He must have endured when He was in the garden that night agonizing and praying to His father over what He knew was soon to take place over the next twelve hours. Was there a chill in the air that night, like there is tonight, as he pleaded with God the Father for "this cup to be taken from Him"(Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42)? Was there a full moon that night to give Him a dim light while waiting in prayer to be betrayed by one of His own disciples? Or was it a night as black as sin itself in the world that He would soon die to cleanse? To die for MY sins?!
We know the word passion to be defined as any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, often in regards to love or hate. It can also be used as a descriptive word toward an object of such fondness or desire... i.e. many people are known to be passionate of their work or hobby. However, the word patiendo (Latin past participle of passio) goes a step beyond passion in its definition to mean suffering. Can you imagine having such great passion for someone, or something, that you would purposefully suffer for that love? And then there is sustinuit (Latin) - sustained - to endure without giving way or yielding. Suffering sustained...endured, yielded too, bore the weight of, submitted.
THIS IS WHAT JESUS DID FOR ME!!! But why? Who am I that He gives so much for me? David posed the same question in Psalm 8:4, "what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?"
I was recently part of a wonderful women's Bible Study group called 'Faithful, Abundant, True: 3 Lives Going Deeper Still'. During one of the study nights we were reminded that "we serve a God who does way past your way past" (quote by Priscilla Shirer). In other words, we do not have the capacity to even begin to understand all that He can and WILL do for us - for me - His children. The POWER that He IS, not only has, but IS does not even register in our feable minds. He is our limitless power source if we accept Him. His love is limitless. His grace and mercy are limitless. Ephesians 3:20 tells us that He is able to do far more abundantly, exceedingly, infinitely, immeasureably, above & beyond, fulsomely, lavishly, extraordinarily, superlatively, surpassingly, (do you get the point?)..........than we could ever ask or think.
He does way past our way past!
But again I ask, but why? What have I done that I am so special in His eyes?
The Lord answers my question through His Word in Ephesians 4:4-10 (NLT)...
4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
So the answer?... I did NOTHING to earn, deserve, win, buy, or work for this passionate suffering Jesus endured/sustained so long ago in those twelve hours! Was it a night like this? Cold enough you can see your breath? The night dimly lit by the moon? It was this night that Judas - no, that I, a sinner -selfishly betrayed my Savior?
From Great Love (a magno amore) that is way past our way past, Jesus did not yield to sin. He did not yield to Satan. Jesus did not yield to the pain. He sustained it all to give us freedom from our sins. He submitted Himself through that night of false accusations. He surrendered Himself to the flogging and beating...for me and for you. He willingly gave Himself to the pain and the shame of the cross for me - for you. He surrendered to Death....for me and for you!
but Rejoice!! HE IS RISEN!!
Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16: 1-13; Luke 24:1-49; John 20: 1-26
28 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
Patiendo sustinuit...a magno amore!!! Suffering sustained...a great love!!!
Gaudete, quia Jesus orta est! Rejoice, for Jesus is risen!
But for some of us, you may be having a difficult time rejoicing...
You may have lost your job and are now wondering how you will support your family
You can not keep up with the daily and monthly expenses
A family member, or friend, may have died recently and that pain and emptiness is still strong
A beloved pet may have died
You may have recently found out you have cancer
A friendship may have fallen apart
You are struggling daily/weekly with depression, hoping no one notices
You want a 'vacation' from your life
You are suffering from your own pain, how can you be expected to rejoice?
God does way past our way past!
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
The trick to gain the perseverance, character and hope the scripture refers too starts with possessing faith. Ask Jesus for His comfort and help. It may not come immediately, but it will come. We need to make sure we do not let our human-self get in the way of His divine help and answers though. He will go above and beyond for us. He has already done immeasureably more than we can fathom, and He will still give us more. God does way past our way past! He is our magno amore, and we are His!!
Hebrews 12:1-4 (ESV)
Since I began this post, it is now Good Friday...almost noon. Christ is hanging on the cross for me...sufficating, trying desperately to take His next breath. He is weak from blood-loss. The pain is excruciating, beyond our comprehension. And yet He remains passionately suffering and enduring it all for me because He is the ONLY ONE who can - perfect and sinless! He is my Creator, Savior, Messiah! He is my Father! He is my Friend!12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Do Not Grow Weary3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
And my mind wanders to the thought that every time I sin, I place Him - my friend - back on that cross... again and again and again and again and again....
May I learn through His example to have such passion for another... patiendo sustinuit. May I put the Word to practice when I am reminded of Philippians 2:1-8...
May you find Joy and magno amore in this season of your life and beyond.
Imitating Christ’s Humility2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
All is Grace, Terri xo
(videos used in this post are from YouTube uploads of Passion of the Christ and in no way are meant to be copywrite infringement)