Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Little Contemplation

44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. — Luke 22:44 (NASB95)
Contemplate the drops of blood, the blows in the face, the persistence of the whip, the crown of thorns, the derision and spitting. – Bonaventure, on understanding the crucifixion. "Faith in the Middle Ages," Christian History, no. 49.
It’s a mind-boggling thing to contemplate the suffering of Jesus. It’s something that can consume a person’s life. How much love must it have taken? Did Jesus really know what he was getting himself into? Was there fear behind his prayers in the garden of Gethsemane? What did Jesus expect to happen? Did he know the pain of the crucifixion? Why did he sweat so that it became like drops of blood? Really! What’s that all about?

Did it have something to do with the intensity of his prayers? Was the stress and agony of what he was about to face so great that it manifested itself in this startling way? Was it really the “weight of the world” on his shoulders? Why would a sinless man die for others? This way?

Did he really feel the sins of the world? If he did, how did he ever bear up under that burden to even get to the cross?

All that and more are worthy thoughts, but it’s just part of the kind of full contemplation needed. You see, all that Jesus went through was for me. You, too, of course! But contemplation is a very personal kind of thing. So I have to ask some different questions.

Do I have a clue as to why Jesus would do all this, endure all this, suffer this way for me? How much must he love me? How strong is the need for God’s mercy and grace to flow through him to me? What does this say about his desire for me to overcome Satan and sin? What does he really have in store for me?

Do I fully appreciate what God’s Son did for me? Is that even possible? How should I respond to these things? Would anything I do be enough?

Oh, and so far, I’ve just asked a few surface questions. And I haven’t even gotten to the empty tomb. Wow! I’m not even sure where to start. The more I think, the more fantastic it gets. Maybe the simplest statements are best. Jesus died and rose again. Contemplate that!