Suffering Experienced With Him
Suffering, when you experience it with the Lord Jesus makes you love Him more and makes you a more Christ-like person.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing Alright? Yes, this is your friend, Dr. Cook. I’m delighted to be back with you. I look forward to these times when we can share together from the Word of God. And thank you, beloved friend, for making it possible with your prayers and your backing, I appreciate it.
Say, we’re in Mark chapter 15 and we’re in that tragic section that tells concerning the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. We’ve come now to verse 22, “They brought our Savior unto the place Golgotha, it’s called the place of skull which being interpreted, “The place of a skull.” They gave Him to drink wine mingled with myrrh but He received it not.” This was a crude anesthetic calculated to deaden the pain of crucifixion. Has it ever struck you that our Lord Jesus didn’t wanna be anesthetized? He didn’t want to be desensitized at that moment? You’d think He’d welcome it, wouldn’t you? No? He said, “No, I don’t want that.” Because you see everything that happened to Him was in fulfillment of God’s prophetic plan. He was God’s Passover lamb. He was experiencing everything that came on our behalf.
“God hath made Him to be sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” “Christ also hath once suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God,” says Peter. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes, we are healed.” Wounded, bruised, and head stripes laid upon Him. See, all of these things are experiences that are filled with exquisite pain and agony, and our Lord Jesus Christ took it all consciously and fully.
Now, out of this, I want just to draw a little conclusion, and this is not good exposition. You theologians, take a nap, will you? This is not good exposition. It’s just something that comes in my heart. Before we went off the air the last time, I quoted for you Philippians 1:29. “Unto you, it is given on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him but to suffer for His sake.” And somehow in the providence of God and in the plan of God, He has designed that you and I have some share in how Jesus our Lord feels about a lost world. And we have some personal appreciation of what it meant for Him to suffer for us.
Now, I can’t tell how that is, but Peter says, “He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” There is a sense, beloved, there is a sense in which when we go through trials and troubles and heartaches and heartbreaks and physical pain and suffering in faith, not just grin and bear it now, but when we go through it in faith in our Lord Jesus, when we take what comes in the presence of living as from our Lord and as for our Lord, remember I gave you Colossians 3:23, “Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, do it heartily as for the Lord and not just for people.” Colossians 3:17 and 23 is that passage. And so, the experiences through which we go, are you getting this at all, I wonder? The experiences that are ours, many of them painful, many of them distasteful, many of them involving heartache or heartbreak or agony or physical pain, somehow as you walk with your Blessed Lord, this is transmuted into an awareness of what Jesus our Lord means to you.
Somebody has broken an arm or a leg, somebody is hospitalized with an operation, somebody is anchored to a wheelchair because of arthritis, somebody has had his or her heart broken because of a wayward husband or a straying wife has left and broken up the home, somebody is full of heartache because a child is prodigal, wayward, off into sin and drugs and who knows what, and you hear me talking about these things and you can scarcely believe your ears when I tell you that this kind of suffering, when you experience it with the Lord Jesus makes you love Him more and makes you a more Christ-like person. Do you believe that?
I suppose I’ll get an angry letter from somebody saying, “Mr. Cook, you just don’t understand, you don’t know what I’m going through and you have the nerve to tell me that I should go through it with the Lord Jesus.” Well, yes, beloved, I guess I do have the nerve to tell you that, because the Bible tells me so. I didn’t write it, He did.
Oh, have you entered into anything of an appreciation of what Jesus means to you? Does your heart fill up with love to Him when you think of what He went through for you? Have your eyes ever gotten suspiciously moist when you thought of what He endured because He wanted to save you? This, it seems to me, is the essence of Christian awareness. It’s not what we do, it’s not the songs we sing or the sermons we preach, or the books we write, or the busy, busy, busy work that identifies us as busy Christians. That isn’t what does it. It’s that quiet moment when, in the sanctuary of the soul, you begin to realize that Jesus died for you, that He broke His heart for you, and that every one of those awful lashes that laid His back and His body open was given for you. And the nails went through His hands and feet for you. The spear pierced His side for you. Oh, the awful darkness and blackness that came when the sun hit His face and wouldn’t shine, because the spotless Son of God was on the cross. He did it all for you.
This, my dear friend, is what God wants you to realize and sometimes, sometimes He lets us have some suffering so that we can understand a little better what He went through. Now, as I say, that’s not very good exposition, but I know it’s the truth and I trust somehow that it has touched a tender chord in your own heart, my dear, dear friend. Well, there He is on the cross. They put the superscription up over Him, the accusation. What was His crime? The King of the Jews. Treason.
Well, they crucified two thieves with Him. And the one, of course, reviled Him; the other one accepted Him and was saved. It says they that passed by railed on Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Ahh, thou that destroyeth the temple and buildest in three days, save thyself. Come down from the cross.” Likewise, the chief priests, mocking, said among themselves with the scribes, “He saved others. Himself He cannot save. Let Christ, the King of Israel descend now from the cross that we may see and believe.” What awful mockery. And they that were crucified with Him reviled Him as well.
Let me tell you something, when you get away from the heart of the Gospel, and this is for preachers and evangelists and Bible teachers and missionaries, especially. Now, listen to me carefully. If when you get away from the heart of the Gospel, when your heart gets cold toward the Savior, you end up making your religion a mockery. You and I don’t need to be reminded of this because we’ve recently gone through tragic events in Christian work that has proved that very thing, when one’s heart gets cold and it gets to be just a performance, as it was with these people, the chief priests and the scribes, it was a performance with them. It says Pilate knew that they gave the Lord Jesus up to him because they were envious of him. They were jealous, they were afraid He was going to take the spotlight. Their religion was their job. And they were afraid that He was going to take some notoriety and some influence and some power away from them. That was their reason for giving Him over. The Bible says that.
Now, this is for you and for me who are in Christian work. This is for Bob Cook, and this is for anybody who is a pastor, or an evangelist, or a missionary, or a Bible teacher, or a full-time Christian worker of any kind. And those of you who work in Christian organizations, you may be sending out a mailing or answering a phone, but you’re still in a ministry of a Christian organization. Listen to me. When your work gets to be just a job and you’re interested in keeping up your job and keeping up your influence and your position, your heart gets cold, you end up making it a mockery, just as they did here, the chief priests mocking with the scribes.
And we’ve gone through it, haven’t we? People who should know better made a mockery of their Gospel ministry and it hurt us all. It hurt us all and it gave the devil a chance to laugh, didn’t it? Yep. Would you remember that, beloved? Keep your heart warm toward the Lord Jesus. Don’t make religion your job. Let it rather be your whole life and your ministry as unto Him. “We have this ministry,” Paul said, “As we have received mercy we faint not, but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty not having the word of God deceitfully but by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” You got a ministry, not just a job.
Oh, you may have the blues today, Pastor, because things didn’t go too well the last time you preached, or the deacons may have criticized you for something, or you may have made some strategic mistake in management or whatever it is. Listen, this is not your job. This is your ministry under God. Go seek His face again. Bow your heart, bend your knee, wait before Him until, as Vance Havner says, “Mr. Amen and Mr. Wet Eyes have met together in the prayer meeting.” Let God give you a new touch and go on. You don’t have to preserve your job. You do have, as Paul said to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which thou has received in our Lord Jesus, that thou fulfill it.” Now, somebody needs that and I just gave it to you out of my heart. It’s not a job, beloved. If you make it just a job you’ll end up with a mockery.
But it’s a ministry where you’re sharing God with people at the very point of their need. Now, it says, “When the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour,” from 12:00 ’til 3:00 God the Father turned His face away from His beloved Son. He has made Him to be sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. What agony our Lord Jesus must have gone through in those dark hours, when in addition to the exquisite agony of pain, where every nerve and sinew and bone and muscle and tendon was screaming with pain, now the Father’s face is turned away as the Passover lamb is offered for our sins. Oh, bow and thank God for your Savior today, will you? We’ll continue with this passage the next time.
Dear Father God, I pray that today we may have some appreciation of what our Lord Jesus went through for us. Oh, let our own hearts be broken with love as we think of His sacrifice, and then help us to live for Him every step of the way. I ask in Jesus’s name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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