Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Sharp (03/07/13)
TITLE: Why Did Jesus Do It?
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
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After all who, better than Jesus, knows what it feels like to be discouraged and feel deserted? I used to wonder why Jesus yelled those words on the cross, "My Lord, my Lord why hast thou forsaken me?" Did he really believe God had left him--forsaken him? I think for a just a minute he did feel that despair, and he had inside information! Really, think about it. His friends had betrayed him and scattered. He had been mocked and humiliated, not to mention the agony that he endured. He had to know that soon the pain would end, yet still he called out. Why?
Also, have you ever wondered why Mary, a young, unwed teen, was selected to be the mother of God? Everybody had to gossip like crazy back then. I remember the things said about me when I got pregnant at eighteen. Who better to understand that pain than the bastard child of the most famous teen mom ever?
So, not only do humans understand those feelings of despair, loneliness, and pain, but Jesus knows what those emotions feel like firsthand. He doubted for just a minute, maybe two--not because he was weak, or a bad person, but because he was human. He could have come in many forms or many different ways, yet still he came into the world as a bastard.
He experienced the temptations in the wilderness because he wanted us to know he understands temptation. Personally, I would have waved my hand and sent Satan hurtling off the cliff the first time he irked me, but Jesus endured forty days of it. Why?
Last month, I was admitted to the hospital on Ash Wednesday. I found it interesting because Lent typically reminds us of the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness before beginning his public ministry. I only spent seven days of being poked, prodded, in pain, miserable, hungry, tired, and grumpy. Jesus experienced all of those same feelings, only about a hundred times more intensely.
Now, almost a month later, I'm still weak, hurting, tired, and grumpy. Imagine how Jesus must have felt after forty days of anguish? His body had to be malnourished, covered with scrapes and bruises. I don't imagine he slept well with bugs biting him and the devil poking him. Yet...look at how he endured the torture.
I tell people that it takes at least three days to recover for every one day of being in the hospital. You wouldn't believe how many times someone has made a stupid comment like, "Oh you're coming back to the hospital for another vacation?" Then another one I hear is, “You just got out of the hospital, you should be all rested up." The truth is it's hard to be poked with needles everyday. I have horrible veins and thick, tough alligator hide. I've been poked as many as thirty-three times for one IV. Nurses have literally bent needles trying to get through my skin. I laugh now, because we all know writers have to have thick skin and God literally gave me thick skin. Figuratively, however, it's paper thin.
So I can only imagine, if I still feel this yucky, Jesus must have entered the beginning of his ministry in pretty bad shape, both physically and emotionally. He probably felt run-down, malnourished, tired, and likely just a tad irksome because he knew he had a rough time ahead of him. Instead of heading off to a resort were he could have been fed the finest meals, had massages to prepare his muscles, lifted weights to get strong enough to increase his stamina, instead he went to the desert to pray. But also, he went knowing that he would be tortured by the first creature who betrayed him, way back in the beginning.
I think of some of the people who have let me down me in the past and how much those betrayals hurt me. Why did Jesus do it?
As I lay in my bed, sobbing and feeling sorry for myself, he whispered the answer into my ear. “I did it for you, my child, I did it for you.”
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