Sunday, 30 June 2013

True Courage

I've been very busy (a new house, stomach flu, pregnancy, you know-- just life) and so haven't had much time to post, but I was very moved by a specific part of the sermon on Matthew 27:32-44 at our church this morning: 

"Here we see Jesus refusing to stop the pain and suffering that he is offering to God on our behalf. It is this strand in particular that should move our hearts to trust in Christ with our entire lives. In verse 34, he is offered wine mixed with gall. The practice of offering a pain suppressor to dying people is founded in the pages of the OT: "Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress." (Proverbs 31:6) So this was probably a narcotic to dull pain. But based on the verse that it fulfills from Psalm 69, it may have even been a poison to stop the pain permanently: "They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink." (Psalm 69:21) Regardless whether it was a narcotic or poison, Jesus refuses to take it. He will not give himself relief until the full price for our sins in paid-He has determined to pay the full price of every ransomed sinner."

I can't even begin to imagine the kind of courage and conviction Christ displayed. My pastor, Tim, went on to talk about how those mocking Christ also suggested he come down from the cross to prove he was the Son of God. Jesus could've easily come down, but he chose not to; he chose to hang there, shamed and discredited in the eyes of the watching world, because he had his eyes on a greater prize than vindication in the eyes of the world, and he had in his heart a greater love than the love of his own reputation. Christ endured his excruciating pain and the mocking barbs of his killers to save his people. To save a wretch like me!

What a different picture Christ presents of godly manhood than the media of the world-- where advertising and film present a version of "courage" that is full of aggression, swagger, self-aggrandisement, physical strength, and earthly rewards, Christ's courage was in just the opposite: meekness, silence, shame, physical torture, and eternal rewards. In light of the love and sacrifice of my Saviour, I pray that I can display this kind of humble courage myself, and teach my son that this is true manliness, not the picture the world presents.

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