From the sixth hour
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.í
Meditating on the sufferings of our Lord lies at the very heart of my faith. Yet I ask, is there an exercise more difficult for the Christian? It seems to me at least that I can concentrate on anything under the sun without any real difficulty, yet when it comes to focussing my mind on the Cross their seems to be an innumerable host seeking my attention.
The reason I am writing this today is because my soul is in danger of going into what I call Ďrobotí mode. A state where all the proper terminology is used but never put into practice. I can write something that I know people would love to read while at the same time living a lie.
You see, my relationship with Jesus is a personal one. Gossip about other's relationships won't do. I need to get my relationship with Jesus back on track. Strangely, there is no doubt in my mind that when I am in acute pain my mind centres more easily on the Cross than it does when things are going well with me. Pain adds fervency and urgency to my petitions.
It is at the foot of the Cross that I receive strength. It is as I view my Beloved Saviour dying for my sins that I catch a glimpse of the enormity of the sacrifice that was made for me. After all, who can grasp God becoming man with all that that entails? And why did God have to become man?
Did the Living One actually become the Dead One? Did they actually carry the God-man from the Cross to the Sepulchre as a corpse? Did the fullness of the Godhead dwell in Him then?
How did the darkness come about?
And then I wondered today about the darkness from the sixth to the ninth hour. What would it have been like to have no light at midday? Did they realise that they were putting to death the Light of the world?
Did Satan imagine for one minute that he had the victory over the Lamb of God? Did the darkness come up from the depths of Hell seeking to take Christ captive? Did nature veil itself as its Creator was put to death?
I am writing down the questions that are coming into my own mind as I consider Jesus and His sufferings. I try and imagine myself being there. I even have the answers to my questions.
They may not be the correct answers but they'll be adequate for me until I find out differently. And I very much hope that these thoughts may help to stimulate your soul, too, into making a fervent attempt at meeting face to face with Jesus today.
He died for me! A saying that trips so easily off my tongue - but what does it actually mean?
My sins deserve Godís wrath. Of that I have no doubt. I myself deserve to be lost in Hell for all eternity. But that's not the way it's going to be. A Substitute has taken my place and suffered in my place.
His name is Jesus. Beautiful, wonderful Jesus.
Godís fury was poured upon Christ when it should have been aimed at me. The sword of justice should have pierced my soul. Even His physical death was nothing compared to suffering Hell for me. (The theologians tell us that He suffered an eternal death intensively but not extensively.) But what on earth does that mean?
Were His sufferings less than we would have experienced had we gone to Hell? No!
That is one question I am prepared to answer. Did He truly suffer an eternal death on the cross? If He did and He is alive today, is there still a part of Christ that is still suffering that eternal death? How could a human being cope with such agony of soul in such a short space of time?
Did He really love me that much? Did He suffer these deaths for me? Why? Why me?
What was He really like to live with? Was He the perfect son to Mary and Joseph? Was He ever naughty as a child? Did He have sleepless nights while teething? Did He suffer from the mumps or from nappy rash? Was He really a baby? Did he ever run home to His mother after falling and skinning his knees?
Just how intelligent was He? Did He study the scriptures all day long? Would we find His company boring? When did He realise that He was put on earth to die for me? Was He frightened of death?
Did He ever have an accident? What kind of carpenter was He? When He cut a piece of wood, was it perfect? What did He feel when He heard cursing and swearing as He walked the streets? Did He rebuke?
ĎFor the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross.í What was that joy? Did He think of me as He was nailed to that tree? Was His joy the saving of millions from a lost eternity? Was His joy saving me from a lost eternity?
Does He really even know me? Does He really care about me as an individual or does He merely care about the church as a whole?
As you provide your own answers to these questions you will discover a God who became man, Who gave Himself without reservation for you and I!
Could He have done any more for us? Was what He did do enough? Is God truly satisfied with his sacrifice? If He is, then where does that leave us? Are we therefore truly cleansed without spot or wrinkle? Are we perfect in Godís sight?
Should we fear His judgement and wrath? Should we enjoy the liberty of being a child of God? Does legalism have a tendency to hold us back from rejoicing as we should? What does Jesus think of us now when we doubt the efficacy of His work?
It is one thing to believe that He died for my sins before I was converted, but what now? I have now been sinning against light for years on end. Does He still love me?
Is the same sacrifice enough for todayís transgressions? Am I wanting or needing another sacrifice for todayís sins? Is Godís way not good enough for me? Is my pride stopping me from believing that I am as clean today as I was when first I believed? Does sinning against Him now alter Godís plan of salvation? Is something more required now? I am either righteous in the sight of God or filthy - which is it?
What does He think when I murmur against Him? What does He think when I wonder if my sins are truly forgiven? What does He think when I wonder if I have ever been saved?
Do I break his heart over and over again? Am I going to continue to allow my feelings to determine my daily walk with God or am I going to make every effort possible to do for Christ what He did for me? He gave Himself for me, shall I not do likewise for Him in the short time that remains?
The more that we get to know this Jesus on the Cross, the closer a Friend He becomes. He can be relied upon for everything. He is ever willing to help us no matter what difficulty we may be in. He is our forever Friend. Lots of questions and I pray that your soul will be edified as you answer them for yourself.
May you find Him to be the answer to all your questions today. He is my Best Friend and I do want him to be yours also.
Author: Iain Mackenzie Edited by: Pastor Al Moak