A Glimpse of Hell
“You could help direct the world, on its careening trajectory, a bit more toward Heaven and a bit more away from hell. Once having understood hell, researched it, so to speak – particularly your own individual Hell – you could decide against going there or creating that. You could aim elsewhere. You could, in fact, devote your life to this.” – Jordan Peterson, 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos
On the cross, I could imagine that Jesus was in what many people could have imagined would be their own hell. He was stripped naked and spread wide open in a humiliating position for the world to see. He was in great physical pain, suffering blood loss, difficulty breathing, the sensation of a thousand needles constantly burrowing into His skin, rendered into ribbons, all while His body ached from a brutal beating. He was in extreme mental torment and anxiety, senses virtually overburdened by countless voices of mocking, disdain, indifference, ignorance, dominance and control – heavy, ruthless condemnation.
Yet in spite of suffering all that we would fear for ourselves and for our loved ones, He had but one thing to say which was the closest to a complaint we would hear from Him – “my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?!”
Beyond the physical, mental, and social pain, Christ took the sum total of all fear and suffering – the literal hell of being separated, to have lost favor and status.
A Line From Heaven
There may be some Truth to this. Not many things shake me more than separation. Isolation. Rejection. To be rejected in spite of all your efforts. To be the one in the position of rejecting. I’ve recalled moments I was literally affected to the core by being ghosted. It wasn’t so easy to be the one to do the ghosting, either. To hope beyond all logic for connection. To insist on a connection to the point of obsession, because the separation is too painful to bear.
But even this can be faced with boldness, because we have no less than Jesus Christ. Behold, Christ took it all, down to the last drop… subjecting all His humanity and divinity, laying down His life to bear the pain and death that began with the fall in the Garden.
And when this was paid in full, we knew it. For behold, the stone was rolled away, and Christ walked out of the grave – alive – and not merely alive, but renewed. The resurrection of Christ means that though sin had filled Him to the full (He BECAME sin); the enemy had done its worst – Stole from Him, killed Him, destroyed Him… but He would NOT be held down.
Behold, the Son of Man, the only begotten Son of God, died, and rose back to life… and in His ascension, He did not tell us to make disciples of all nations, and that we would have lots and lots of money. Nor did He say that we would have miraculous healing each and every single time.
No, now He says,’I will never leave nor forsake you.’
Once, He said, ‘my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?!’
Now He says, ‘I will never leave nor forsake you.’
Thank You, Jesus.
The Greatness of Christ
Truly, we have been saved by His death, and reconciled by His resurrection.
Christ was the Alpha male who became Omega, despised and rejected by man.
Christ lay His life down, becoming last of all and servant of all, and was resurrected to be the firstborn of the new creation.
He who was with God in the beginning faced the end, that He would be the end of the Law, and the beginning of wisdom for all of us!
And for His finished work, unto Him has been given the greatest name of all, name higher than any other name: Above cancer and caviar, above bubonic plague and Balesin island, above racism and Rose Bowl Pata Tim, above our thoughts of a totalitarian state and travel through TPLEX with a Toyota Fortuner (White), the name of Jesus Christ is above ALL.
This is greatness: That Death could not hold Christ down. Now, all Creation lifts Christ up.
Thank You, Jesus.
That’s it. That’s the message. In making speeches Matt Abrahams suggests structures, and one such structure goes: Problem – Solution – Benefit.
I just presented our deepest of problems. By the power of the Holy Spirit I pray you see how Christ is our ultimate solution. I hope you see for yourselves how amazing Christ is, and how we can just keep going back to His finished work. If you want to talk about benefits, let’s do that in our LifeGroups.
Ask yourself, and ask each other: What are the benefits of Christ and His finished work to you, personally?
I always find myself going back to Albert Camus:
“My dear, In the midst of strife, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was within me, an invincible calm. In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me, there lay an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”
Christ is my invincible love. Christ is my invincible smile. Christ is my invincible calm. Christ is the warmth of that invincible summer, stronger, greater in me that he that is in the world.