Torture! Mockery! Pain! Distress! The extreme violence and mockery inflicted on Jesus in the movie ‘The Son of God’ was hard to watch. I want to avoid this variety of intense suffering as much as possible and hate to see anyone have to endure it. It is foreign to my life of ease and comfort. But it made me wonder, if Jesus suffered so deeply for me, what does it tell me of his loyalty to me?
The deepest expression of loyalty people have shown me is when they are willing to suffer with or for me. Friends and family have suffered with me through depression, relational stress, failures and financial setbacks. I have witnessed others bail family members out of debt or give ongoing care to those who have severe physical disabilities.
When I suffer, I ultimately want to know: How loyal and caring will God be to me? What lengths will he go to demonstrate it? Will he see me through?
It was certainly an adjustment to enter into first century Palestine. To be honest, I found the first part of the movie slow, the acting was dry and the scenery bland. But I can never make it through an accurate depiction of the mock trial, whipping and crucifixion of Jesus without feeling really sober and humble. I am not accustomed to seeing such brutality and violence inflicted on a human being.
As I watched Jesus suffer I saw his determination to carry out his sacrifice with a look of meaning and purpose in his eyes. He had a job to do, a most unwanted job. He asked God if it could be avoided because he knew the violence he would have to endure, but he deferred to God’s will.
He knew that I had no hope of mending my broken relationship with the environment, people and God. The consequences of my evil were too great. So with this in mind he resolutely set his face to suffer. Understanding he endured this torture and pain to pay for the consequences of my evil actions, I am totally convinced of his loyalty to me. It was a brutal, savage death and he endured it without resentment and brutality in return. Jesus went beyond passiveness towards his aggressors, he actually prayed for their forgiveness. If this is how he forgave his enemies there is hope for me.
If I ever wonder if God is loyal to me or cares, I go back in my thoughts to the violence and mockery Jesus suffered on my behalf. In the midst of my suffering I know that there is someone who really understands, shows depth of care for me and gives me hope. All of us will endure some form of suffering here on this earth because we live in a broken world. But we are not alone and without sympathy from our Creator. He endured suffering so that we would have the hope of new life in him forever. He promised those who put their faith in him that one day he would take them to paradise where there would be no more suffering.
Jesus endured not only the violence of men, but the wrath of God against sin. I cannot comprehend the anguish of a soul that would take humanity’s combined consequence for evil upon itself. Jesus endured both physical and psychological pain so that we could know of God’s loyalty to us.
I crave deliverance from suffering. I crave loyalty in the midst of suffering. I found both in Jesus