THE WEEK OF QUINQUAGESIMA – FRIDAY
LESSON: MATTHEW 26:47-56
Rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:13
Anyone who remains so completely unmoved and hard-boiled that the sufferings of Christ do not horrify him and bring him to his senses has cause to be afraid. For it cannot be otherwise. You must become conformed to the image and suffering of Christ, either in this life or in hell. At the very least, you must be terrified in the face of death, tremble and quake, and feel everything that Christ suffered on the cross.
It is a gruesome experience to witness agony on a deathbed. Therefore, you should pray God to soften your heart and permit you to ponder the suffering of Christ fruitfully. It is impossible for us of ourselves to ponder the sufferings of Christ thoroughly unless God Himself implants the resolution in our hearts. Pray God that this contemplation of Christ’s sufferings may not result in any doctrine or teaching which you hurry to accomplish of yourself before you have earnestly sought God’s grace so that you accomplish it by His grace and not of yourself.
Here we see why so many have gone astray in regard to the sufferings of Christ. They do not pray to God for His grace to profit from Christ’s passion, but they try to attain their end in their own strength and by their own methods. They operate in a thoroughly human and unfruitful manner.
PRAYER: Soften our hearts, O God, by your grace that we may fruitfully ponder the sufferings of Christ and see in them the stripes whereby we are healed, for the sake of Jesus our Savior. Amen.