This morning, instead of reading my email devotional and spending the rest of my morning praying, I began to dig a little deeper into the text of my devotional. So much was revealed to me in just one basic chapter of Luke. I had gone to bed last night, troubled with a thought on my mind. This morning, the answer was revealed. I'm learning more and more about that joy which comes in the morning.
The trouble in my mind popped up when I just happened to stop by the bookstore yesterday afternoon. Derek loves to peruse the collection of Graphic Novels since he's busy writing a very kingdom-minded one himself. I wasn't really looking for anything - just glancing at titles really. Then, one book title jumped out at me, "God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer."
I was immediately annoyed. Who are all these people who walk away from God and get these lucrative book deals to write against God's Word? As someone who is doing everything I can to birth a book for God's Kingdom, this title stuck in my craw, so to speak. Although I wasn't about to buy the book and read it, I did check out its summary and reviews on good old Amazon.com. I'm still annoyed.
Reviewer after reviewer talked about how great this book was, how it raised questions which have plagued Christians for years - how it reminded them of why they "left the faith," so to speak. There were a few who challenged the idea that the author didn't give any real answer in conclusion, but as I told you, my answer came in the morning.
I woke up to an email devotional entitled: HIS RESURRECTION DESTINY. The scripture was Luke 24:26 "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?
"My Utmost for His Highest" states:
"Our Lord's Cross is the gateway into His life: His Resurrection means that He has power now to convey His life to me. When I am born again from above, I receive from the Risen Lord His very life.
Our Lord's Resurrection destiny is to bring "many sons unto glory." The fulfilling of His destiny gives Him the right to make us sons and daughters of God. We are never in the relationship to God that the Son of God is in; but we are brought by the Son into the relation of sonship. When Our Lord rose from the dead, He rose to an absolutely new life, to a life He did not live before He was incarnate. He rose to a life that had never been before; and His resurrection means for us that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life. One day we shall have a body like unto His glorious body, but we can know now the efficacy of His resurrection and walk in newness of life. "I would know Him in the power of His resurrection."
"As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him." "Holy Spirit" is the experimental name for Eternal Life working in human beings here and now. The Holy Spirit is the Deity in proceeding power Who applies the Atonement to our experience. Thank God it is gloriously and majestically true that the Holy Ghost can work in us the very nature of Jesus if we will obey Him."
Christ suffered. He suffered persecution, suspicion, speculation. He suffered misunderstanding by His peers and His disciples.
Christ suffered what would be deemed today as cruel and unusual punishment. He was beaten and spat on, His body pummeled, His flesh ripped open. His hands were pierced. His feet were skewered. His arms stretched so far as to cause asphyxiation - He couldn't breathe because His chest could not move to take in air.
Christ Suffered. And He did it so that we could enter into Glory with Him. We did nothing to deserve it. We did nothing to make God love us. But God loved us enough to give Christ to suffer and die for us.
We, as believers, are to become like Christ. We are to die to ourselves and live as Christ lived, love as Christ loved. And yes, sometimes, we must suffer. But all things - whether accepted as a test of faith, or a testimony to a miracle - are meant for our good and are designed so we may enter into the Glory of the Living God.
Who are nonbelievers to question this? This one author has written a series of books - all questioning and attempting to debunk Christianity - most of these books were written by former believers who just didn't get it but are now serving the devil by trying to tear down the building up of the kingdom of God. What a shame.
Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary had an interesting take on this verse in Luke:
"He could not have been a Saviour, if He had not been a sufferer. Christ’s undertaking our salvation was voluntary; but, having undertaken it, it was necessary that He should suffer and die. Secondly, that, when He had suffered these things, He should enter into His glory, which He did at His resurrection; that was His first step upward. Observe, it is called His glory, because He was duly entitled to it, and it was the glory He had before the world was; He ought to enter into it, for in that, as well as in His sufferings, the scripture must be fulfilled. He ought to suffer first, and then to enter into His glory; and thus the reproach of the cross is for ever rolled away, and we are directed to expect the crown of thorns and then that of glory."
We are "directed to expect the crown of thorns and then that of glory." I don't know where these nonbelieving authors are searching and not finding, but the Bible has never failed me.