“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)
From The Christian Life in the Danger Zone
In a carefully crafted journey of faith life-script, there is room for adversity and the appearance of failures when they are designed to produce character growth and positive outcomes. No one is closer to this reality than Jesus Christ the Son of God.
In terms of the outward appearances of worldly conventional thinking, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is one of the most disappointing, colossal failures in human history. The crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth falls far outside of the narrowly optimistic, top-half, worldly successful expectations of the coming Son of David messiah for large numbers of Jews in Israel in the first century, and is still one of the main reasons why modern Jews reject Jesus as their messiah.
Yet the crucifixion is one of the greatest things God has ever done…maybe the greatest thing He has ever done. Jesus Christ the divine Son of God selflessly sacrifices His own life on a humble cross forever fixed on Calvary Hill, to redeem His lost and fallen people through the unexpected offering of Himself as the payment-in-full sacrifice for mankind’s sin. All the angelic host of heaven are watching with amazement and awe as they witness divine love in action in their revered Son of God Jesus hanging upon a lowly Roman cross of execution as the just and lawful punishment for mankind’s shortcomings. In that crucial moment of the most awful, humiliating, and degrading of earthly circumstances the justice, love, mercy, and grace of God are blended together in an unimaginable mixture of divine character. If we can grasp and understand the cross, then in the challenges of our own journeys of faith we can let go of the outward appearances of circumstances and trust God for the future beneficial outcome.
Jesus the Son of God sheds His life’s blood on the cross to rescue us from the penalty of rebellious sin…taking our place for wrongdoing that we rightly deserve. The resurrection of Jesus three days later demonstrates the power of God to turn the outward appearance of humiliating defeat into overcoming triumph for all those who place their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. The new birth in the Spirit sets our feet upon a path free from the condemnation for sin that we could never procure for ourselves.
In terms of the enormous width and breadth of the span of all possible human experience, the crucifixion of the God/man Jesus Christ is both the very worst and the very best at the same time. If Jesus had accepted the counterfeit offer from the devil to receive “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them” (Mt. 4:8), the narrowness of keeping up the outward appearances of worldly success solely at the positive top-half of human experience, would not have allowed Jesus to reach down so low through the rejection and humility of the cross, to grab ahold of and pull each of us out of the pit of darkness we had fallen into. This is one explanation for how and why Jesus can rescue the perishing in whatever strata of a lost condition we are found of God, because His understanding and empathy from personal lived-experience stretches from the absolute lowest to the absolute highest throughout the full range of abject worldly failure to heavenly triumph.
The apostle Paul epitomizes the width and the depth of the Christian walk of faith experience when he says: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).