After what has turned out to be a very difficult week, I am left thinking about how the deepest wounds so often come by the hand of a friend. There have been several instances in my life when relationships I was so sure about have not worked out at all as I envisaged, but I am comforted by the realization that Jesus perfectly understands how I feel — for He Himself has suffered in this very way. As I look upon Christ’s nail-pierced hands and bleeding side, I ask Him, ‘Lord, What are these wounds on your body?’ He answers, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’ (Zechariah 13:6) Yes, Jesus knows what it is like to be deeply wounded by others. In fact, He endured the worst kind of betrayal and rejection; but His suffering was part of God’s plan to bring about the greatest of all blessings – the purchase of our salvation! The Scriptures tell us that by His wounds we have been healed.
The hard part for us, of course, is being Christ-like in the midst of unfair treatment; but I am reminded and challenged by Jesus’ actions at the Last Supper the night before He was crucified.
John 13:1-5 tells us: “Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
Do you see that nothing escaped His notice that night? Jesus knew that the hour of His death had come. He knew what was in the heart of His betrayer, Judas Iscariot. He knew His other followers would soon abandon and even deny Him. But “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” Jesus also knew His authority, that “all things were under his power.” He knew where He had come from and where He was going, that nothing He was going to face was outside of God’s purpose and will — no matter the human agencies involved. And so in true humility, with no thought for Himself, He took on the very nature of a servant and made Himself nothing, performing the most menial of tasks for the very friends who would wound Him. His body would soon be broken on the cross, but His heart was already broken for those He loved so deeply.
When they were little, my kids loved glow sticks; but we all know that a glow stick isn’t any good until it’s been snapped. It can only shine in a dark place when it’s been broken! We’re a bit like that too, aren’t we? We want to be a witness for Christ, to share His light and love with the world around us — yet it often takes being broken by the trials of life to shine the brightest for Christ! Surely, if Jesus suffered, we will too? After all, no servant is greater than his master. And when, like Him, we endure injury at the hand of a friend, He comes to us with a loving embrace, whispering that He understands and that yes, even in this He has a purpose and a plan for us!
Blessings on your day!
© April 2018