I am a joke to people everywhere;
when they see me, they shake their heads in scorn.
Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me because of your unfailing love. Psalms 109:25-26
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like people see you as a joke? It hurts doesn’t it; like a knife in your gut, a sword in your soul, it tears and wounds. And yet when we look at Simeon’s prophecy to Mary and Joseph about Jesus in Luke 2:34-35 we find that this is simply standard fare for someone who raises Jesus up: “Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
A sword will pierce your own soul too. Have you been there? Can you relate at all to what I’m putting out here? Having faith usually results in pain… but it doesn’t ever end there my friend!
In John 18 we find Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane preparing to face the horrors of the day ahead of Him. As the Roman soldiers are marching into the Garden we come to John 18:3-4, “So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” Jesus KNEW what was going to happen to Him. Now, my friends, let this sink in for a second. How often is it that we are apprehensive or react negatively because we are facing the unknown? Yet the unknown is unknown to God! He is an all knowing being. He knew what He was going up against and yet He chose to face it anyway, why?
While the pain was excruciating – both physical and spiritual, Jesus still had hope. He KNEW that this pain wouldn’t last forever. He KNEW that when it was finished, it would be FINISHED. That no longer would the pain of rejection be able to reach Him because, He would be received into His Father’s arms once more. He KNEW that the shouts of “Crucify Him!” would fade away into the wail of a woman’s cry “HE’S ALIVE!!!! MY GOD, MY GOD, HE IS ALIVE!!!”
Jesus was able to withstand the piercing of three nails and a sword because He knew it would be worth it… that YOU are worth it. You were worth it then and you’re worth it now. Jesus loves YOU so much that He’d rather die than spend eternity without you.
If you haven’t ever surrendered to His love for you before, or if it’s been a while, take the time right now to allow the love of Jesus to come and surround you like a comforter. Allow Him to cover you in a love that sacrifices everything just for YOU.
I don’t know what pain you’ve experienced, but HE does. He knows and He wants to soothe that pain with His love for you right now. Let the pain go. Let Jesus take the pain from you. No matter what pain or shame you are enduring right now, you still have a hope that is set before you – eternity with someone who loves you enough to die for you in order to forgive all your sins that have separated you from Him. And when you accept that forgiveness, when you accept His gift of redemption you accept so much more than you could ever hope or imagine. You get Jesus, ALL of Jesus – the most wonderful person to ever walk the face of this earth, and under it and over it!