(Post by: Madie Hobbs) Blogmas Day Two

Throughout this year, the Lord has truly been using sorrow and suffering to shape me.

Half of me wishes this was not so, for no matter how many times I tell myself I will get through the suffering, it makes it hardly more bearable. The other half of me is thankful for the sorrow and suffering. These two emotions often have been the most potent and powerful in my life, and no matter how much I may like to deny it, it is the way the Lord can most often get my attention.

I have frequently wondered why this is and have asked God to show me His reasons (as if I could ever comprehend them completely), and I think He is finally beginning to interpret some of His divine plan to me.

Something the Lord has shown me this year is that a true Christian is built through suffering. Most often, through suffering for others. He has shown me that suffering is the cornerstone of our faith, and we need to stop expecting Christianity to be quite so easy.

To expect, and live out, a soft Christianity is actually to rob the gospel of much of its power.

Let me give you an example of this that I think is quite profound.

In John 19, we are given a glimpse into an exchange between Pontius Pilate and the Jewish people after he has just interrogated and humiliated Jesus. Listen to this passage.

“Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing Him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against Him.” So Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”” (John 19:4-5 ESV)

One of the primary things John highlights in his gospel is the contrast between the First Adam and the Last Adam (Jesus). This is an unbelievably important theme, and something that is highlighted so poetically in these verses.

You see, when Pilate says, “Behold the man,” he is actually closing the Genesis story. Through this, John is beautifully saying to us, his audience, ‘here I have the Last Adam. Now let’s finish this Genesis story. Behold the man, sent to change the course of history.’

With this simple statement, we also get to see the purest, most divine image of humanity we could ever imagine. We are shown what true humanity, in its most perfect form, looks like.

It embodies sorrow. Humiliation. Betrayal. Rejection. But most importantly, the willingness to suffer and lay down one’s life for another.

Behold the man. Who came as a baby in a manger for the sole purpose of suffering for His lost people.

Now, take courage, dear heart, for suffering is no longer meant to produce only misery. Because Christ has assumed human suffering, that means we can also be confident that He has healed and restored it to its most divine form.

Many of you, I am sure, know that in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis, Aslan, the great Lion, lays down his own life in the stead of Edmund Pevensie. A boy who has betrayed his family and the country he is rightfully meant to rule over as king. Because Lewis directly mirrors the crucifixion and resurrection in his book, like Jesus, Aslan also rises from the dead after he is brutally killed.

I would like all of us to read this beautiful exchange between Aslan, Susan, and Lucy, and absorb the absolute comfort and reassurance regarding suffering in this passage.

“But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.

“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”

This passage is so beautiful to me because it illustrates to us that darkness and suffering are both actually quite necessary to the Christian life. If we simply ignore the pain and suffering, and we do not look into the stillness and darkness, we can never know the true power of our tribulations. Because to suffer is to walk in the footsteps of the Man for whom we celebrate Christmas.

If you’re anything like me, you may be looking back at your year, and asking the Lord why all that suffering was necessary. That’s good. Keep doing that. He will answer you. Know that all the sorrow and suffering was not futile.

Because once we “Behold the man,” and see that to suffer is to be human, even Death itself will begin to work backward.

4 thoughts on “BEHOLD THE MAN

Add yours

  1. Great Job Madie, I really do find the first and last adam so fascinating. God truly always finishes the story, and he will continue to do so do doubt.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s easy to wonder why we must go through suffering, but I love what you said at the end Madie: “once we ‘Behold the man,’ and see that to suffer is to be human, even Death itself will begin to work backward.” I have grieved more this year than in the past, but I love that it points us to Christ and his reason for coming, to suffer death on the cross.

    Liked by 1 person

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