He was… a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Isaiah 53:3
John Stott comments so helpfully on the sufferings of Jesus in a moving passage from his book called The Cross of Christ,
I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross… In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?
I have entered many Buddhist temples… and stood respectfully before the statue of the Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I have had to turn away.
And in my imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in Godforsaken darkness. That is the God for me!
Many people who endured the First World War felt that they could no longer believe in God, but Edward Shillito went a different way. The horrors of war convinced him that a suffering world needs a suffering Savior. He wrote a poem called Jesus of the Scars, and in these (paraphrased) lines, he is speaking of the world of religion with all its varieties…
The other gods were strong; but you were weak;
They rode, but you stumbled to a throne;
But to our wounds only can God’s wounds speak,
And not a god has wounds, but you alone.
The wounds of Christ are His credentials to a suffering world. And by God’s grace, He came through it, and by God’s help you will too.
Take a few moments and respond to the statement: “The wounds of Christ are His credentials to a suffering world.”