Be Still Know
1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”
Yesterday, I reflected upon how I had spoken to the Pioneer Theology Forum on two perspectives of the cross of Christ. Having looked at the empty cross, I want to address the cross still occupied by Jesus. Peter in his letter to encourage the churches in a time of persecution speaks of how as Christians, we are to ‘rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings’ (ESV UK). Suffering, much as we seek to flee and avoid it, is at the centre of life’s experience.
Christians are no more immune to suffering than anyone else. When we consider the risen Christ, who now stands before his Father interceding on our behalf, we can reflect upon the wounds his risen body still carries; wounds to hands, feet and to his side. These wounds speak of the reality of his faithful journey in the service of the Father in realising the plan for the salvation of humanity. We too will encounter suffering. There is something of God in the reality of that suffering, yet this diminishes its reality not one jot.
In considering Jesus hanging on the cross, we are to recall the fact that suffering remains within the earth. While sin has truly been dealt with, hence an empty cross, each one of us is subject to the flesh which seeks to deceive us and drag us away from following Christ. The rebellious flesh consistently reminds us of the ongoing battle Christ waged on our behalf for the freedom to live sanctified and safe under his rule.
QUESTION: Ask God’s forgiveness for the patterns that you have established that give free reign to the flesh, and where the Lordship of Christ is dethroned.
PRAYER: Father, forgive me, for I know what I have done. Lead me again on to the paths of righteousness.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright C 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc, Wheaton, Illinois 60189 USA. All rights reserved.