“The people stood watching, and even the leaders kept scoffing: ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One!’ The soldiers also mocked Him. They came offering Him sour wine and said, ‘If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!’ An inscription was above Him: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: ‘Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!’ But the other answered, rebuking him: ‘Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!’ And He said to him, ‘I assure you: Today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:35-43
From the outside looking in, sanctification is not a beautiful sight. As Christ hung on the tree, the extent to which Christ was going through to make the world right before God escaped them. In His humiliation and shame, the purification process was being fulfilled. Through the shame and disgrace surrounding them, one thief recognized the sanctifying act Christ was doing for His sins and received eternal life with God. The joy He must have shared with Christ for the duration of his life here on earth must have been ever so sweet even in the midst of the pain and suffering. As followers of Christ, we too must be willing to join Christ in His disgrace.
“Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the gate, so that He might sanctify the people by His own blood. Let us then go to Him outside the camp, bearing His disgrace. For we do not have an enduring city here; instead we seek the one to come. Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name.” Hebrews 13:12-15
I read the book, Insanity of God by Nik Ripkin, a little over two years ago. It is well worth the read and multiple things stood out to me during my reading. In the midst of the many stories and testimonies shared, the common denominator among all those in the middle of persecution was this—you only take into persecution what you already have.
Christ went to the cross with nothing but His Father. We too must go outside the camp, bearing Christ’s disgrace with nothing but Him!! It will be the Word of God we have hidden in our hearts and the praise from our lips that bring us the joy of sanctification during the trying times we have ahead.
Lord, fix our eyes on eternal glory. May praise be proclaimed from our lips as we confess Jesus Christ as Lord. May our goal be to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, even unto death so His name will be proclaimed to the nations.
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