Coming to the penultimate part of our series on the similarities between Christ the Bridegroom and His bride, the church, today we shall focus on two more areas where we find stark similarities…
If the Bridegroom was subjected to the persecution of rejection (in the “proclamation” stage of His life — SeeMark 6:1-12/John 5:43), then His bride, who He has “called out of the World” is bound to undergo the same painful treatment: “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.“ (John 15:19 ESV. See also 1 Peter 4:4).
Subjugating the cravings of the flesh, thelust of the eyes and the pride of life was step one in the life of the Son (in the early part of His life)in the matter of enduring sufferings for theFather’s glory, and experiencing painful rejection was step two in the said process. In the same way, submitting Himself to the excruciating ordeal (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical) of the Cross was the finalfrontier (allowing Himself who is the Truth to be a victim of lies and injustice) that the Son had to cross before He would be conferred the honor of being the Saviour of this world and its ruler: “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Heb 2:10 ESV. See also Phillippians 2:5-11/Rev 3:21).
In the life of a Christian, there is also three stages. Conquering the first two stages of overcoming temptations and enduring rejection may be comparatively easy, but to be crucified with Christ (to be a silent victim of theinjustice and lies to which he is called —1 Peter 2:21-23) takes some doing. Without total reliance on the energizing, joyous presence of the Holy Spirit, it wouldn’t be possible: “so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory…”(1 Peter 1:7-8 ESV). The Saviour, too, through the Eternal Spirit alone, could accomplish the task that was set before Him (“how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Heb 9:14 ESV).
When the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…” (ESV), the pertinent question to be addressed here is this:which “Christ” is indwelling him? TheChrist who triumphed over the temptations of thewilderness? The Christ who took the painful rejection in stride? Or the One who, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself on the Cross? The key to unlocking the answer lies in the key-operative words, “crucified with Christ”. It is thatsame Christ who endured the Cross through the Eternal Spirit who was living in Paul now, strengthening him from inside, to fight the good fight till the very end (See 2 Tim 4:8). Cheer up Christian, when it comes to the crunch, the Saviour would strengthen you from within to be the overcomer like Him. He supplies the strength even as you supply your will.
Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for keeping Your Son’s life as a model for all who would follow Him. Enable us to live lives worthy of such high calling at all times. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Inseperable Duo” mini-series, please click here.)