Feel God’s Pleasure.

December 25.

Christ was born on this day, according to experts. But the precise day doesn’t matter, does it? Like almost all Christians, you invest time in decorating, social engaging and attending church to honor Him and spread Christmas cheer. Primarily, it’s family time, as are other occasions that bring together loved ones. You want to think that Christ remains at the center of your mind during the Christmas season. But that notion isn’t true, is it? Away from church worship and from other spiritual symbols, He is not in the forefront of your conscious thought. And even when He is, the thought is fleeting, elusive, shrouded in mystery. The Church doesn’t help. Church rituals and church clerics routinely present Christ as a 24-7 Teacher, tending His flock during a 3-year ministry. You never meet Christ the person. Common sense screams at you that He slept, awakened, attended to His personal needs, sustained his energy with meals; and most of all engaged in conversation that had nothing to do with preaching, healing or counseling. In His goings and comings, was He opposed to “passing the time of day?” Likely not. On the way to the fish market, did He pass an acquaintance and say, “Hey, Caleb, nice to see you. Heard you brought in a big catch yesterday.” When He sat with one or more of His disciples, did they talk about their jobs, about women, about sports, about the Roman bullies?” Did the Lord say, “Man, I can’t help you with the ladies; I can’t understand them myself.” Christ was young, certainly by today’s standards. You can’t believe He spent his waking hours shuffling about like an old man, as depicted in film. You can’t imagine He didn’t run, didn’t swim,  didn’t exert Himself physically in many other ways; plus have a few laughs among close friends. But in His final days, according to Biblical accounts, He did exhibit His humanity — His sorrow and fear — of crucifixion — and as a human being, why not? Nails through the ankles and somewhere in the vicinity of the wrists and eventual suffocation was a common, sadistic execution, expressly reserved for slave or anyone else not Roman. Christ gave Himself up to the governing powers. He didn’t sail off to another land, change His appearance, lay low and give His ministry a rest. No, He stood fast, condemned by his own Pharisee chums — the Jewish High Command who ran the show and hated Him. They “found” false witnesses, fabricated false charges and essentially railroaded Him to Governor Pilate’s courthouse (Luke 23:1,2).* Jesus offered no defense, made no accusations and made no denials. He told His followers to stand down and basically instructed them to “love your enemies.” Who does that? Who does that? For sure, not Donald Trump — a man shunned and often betrayed by his own party, accused of inciting insurrection and all manner of false crimes. Unlike Christ Jesus, however, Donald wants to nail the bad guys. Still, bear in mind that Pilate crucified Jesus, not the Jews — who didn’t crucify anyone. They in fact chose stoning as their default mode of capital punishment. Over 2000 years removed from the savagery of Christ’s crucifixion, it’s easy to pass it off as myth. And it’s even easier to assume that if Christ was divine — if He indeed was the Son of God — He would be superhuman, empowered supernaturally to mentally and physically endure His torment. The brutal truth is He suffered beyond comprehension, as any mortal would. He suffered willingly. Suffering was His final lesson. He had to die. He chose to die. For you. Therefore, on this day, on any day, please exercise your deepest imagination and put yourself in His place. Give Him a full, uninterrupted hour of your time to feel his suffering and do your level best — to live a life worthy of it  — and in doing so, feel God’s pleasure.

A Worthy Life: Eric Liddell (1902-1945) was a missionary and Olympic Gold Medalist. His sister always felt he let running interfere with his singular devotion to God. Liddell was alleged* to have said to her: “Jennie, I believe God made me for a purpose . . . and he made me fast . . . and when I run, I feel his pleasure. **

* The ADL and  other organizations argue that the Jews were in no way complicit in the crucifixion of Jesus. Opinions on this issue vary widely and should all be taken into consideration.

** Most likely, Liddle’s movie dialogue wasn’t real, but his devotion was. No one questioned that he ran for God.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *