I was one night just enjoying sitting in front of a fire outside – more like a roaring bonfire with at least eight-foot high flames. I have always liked fires, the safe ones that is. All the colors you see in the flames and then the swirling changing colors in the hot coals beneath the fire. As you watch the flames and the colors contained in them and the varying patterns in the waves and hues of color in the coals – it is not only relaxing but mesmerizing as well; to me it is anyway.
As I sat watching the fire relaxing for the first time in days I noticed a nail hanging in the fire. You see I had been burning junk lumber from a remodeling job in my home. As the fire was burning down, and the coals were glowing a very hot redish-orange, the nail had turned cherry red from the intense heat. Now at first I watched that nail simply to see what would happen – I was in fact thinking that given how hot the coals were; the nail at some point would bend – it did not.
As I’m watching all this happen, a new thought occurred to me, when Christ was upon the cross – He did not bend either.
I find it interesting Jesus was arrested in an olive grove, a garden really – Gethsemane by name. Perhaps not so interesting as sin began in a garden with the first Adam, so to the judgment of the One who freed us from sin began in a garden as well. So too, was Christ buried in a garden.
After the arrest of Christ He was abandoned by His disciples, questioned, mocked, harassed, beaten – basically tortured – forced to carry His own cross, and then crucified. Talk about the fire of affliction – the scourging of Christ was extremely brutal; skin flayed open, muscles exposed and torn, possibly cut open even to the internal organs. Yet Christ did not back away from His duty as the second Adam, the duty of obeying His Father – saving the people from their own sin, purchasing the salvation of mankind with His own blood.
Despite these horrific wounds, the terrible pain He must have been in, yet did Christ carry the instrument of His own death, the cross – how painful and humiliating that had to have been. Yet still – Jesus did not bend.
The Romans were experts at crucifixion – and they crucified Christ and left Him to die a painful and extremely humiliating, debasing death. Yet even though Jesus suffered extreme pain – was afflicted so deeply we cannot even begin to fathom – He still like the nail in the fire’s hot coals – did not bend.
As bad as this physical pain was – the worst was yet to come. Adam was the first man of sin – as Christ was the second Adam, He also was a man although without sin and much more than a man as He was still God. So this second ‘man’ bore the punishment in His body for our sins – Christ redeemed us through the sacrifice of His blood.
Our sin paid for by the very Son of God – and yet Christ did not bend, and despite the Romans best efforts – Jesus did not break.
Just as the nail in my fire was heated up so hot that it turned cherry red in color – Jesus was afflicted mind and body in the same way. The suffering of Christ was to put it lightly – extreme. And as the inner strength of the nail was sufficient for it not to bend –so too was the strength of Christ sufficient to see Him through the onerous task of purchasing our salvation.
Psalm 22:27-29 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.
1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Pencil drawing credit – Noel Cruz
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