“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.
For I have delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” -1 Corinthians 15:1-4
I have noticed especially around March that there continues to be an incredible inadequacy in my being to think and speak of the sufferings of Christ. Many of us have seen the graphic movie The Passion of the Christ. Some of us have even read books on the detailed process of execution that entails the cross or maybe have even seen a documentary on the History Channel on the human beings experience as they are hung on the cross. Images that are so graphic they cause you to lose breath and turn away yet I know that the level of what I ought to feel spiritually in light of the knowledge that has been revealed to me through His word is immensely disproportionate.
I remember watching a number of years ago The Passion of the Christ during the scene when Jesus was being whipped, tears were flowing down my face, my vocal chords paralyzed, not a word out of my mouth even if I wanted to speak, my heart racing, there was numbness spreading throughout my body. I have never in my existence ever felt such an even set of heightened mix of emotions as I did that night. Anger, bitterness, joy, sorrow, gratitude, eagerness to repent, shamefulness, sympathy clamoring at my heart. I have no idea what it means to be fully debilitated where there is no physical conscious control over your body but that night at the movies was the closest for me. While most people turned away at the lashing of Jesus there was none of that for me.
I asked myself during the scene of lashing if would it be any different if it were Barrabas. At the time I said yes but not much. Decency for human life is being stripped completely regardless of who it is. Later that night I thought about it again and yes there is a difference between the beating of Jesus Christ and the beating and death of a sinner. There is an infinite difference! The difference being that Christ did not deserve humiliation and death as a human being in his sinless state and second as the divine and holy Son of God, which we cannot separate. Furthermore the degree of this display should hit even harder knowing that the punishment and wrath of God that was for man was diverted to His Son (Rom 8:32). I must say there is an immeasurable difference between sympathy and accomplishment or maybe to put it more accurately there is an immeasurable difference between sympathy and outright awe!
In other words I do not love, cherish, value, prize, relish, esteem, revere, take joy in the Gospel as I ought. I do understand that there are limits to our hearts while we are here on this earth. Our hearts are so stained with sin that sensitivity to his worth is limited apart from the grace of the Holy Spirit. It is often said by pastors what you cherish most you fear to lose most. It is a shameful and terrifying thing when it is not Jesus Christ.