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WHAT WILL IT COST?
January 29, 2015
What did it cost Jesus?
What will it cost us to gain credibility with the suffering people that we have hopes of ministering to? We can start by asking the question “What did it cost Jesus to identify with us in our humanity?” He became one of us. He walked among us. He left behind a place and position of comfort and perfection. He lived in a place with no pain, no hunger, no physical hardship and traded it in for a place filled with sickness, pain, suffering and not even “a place to lay his own head” (Luke 9:58). But why would he leave behind a place with so much to offer Him to come to a place with so little? For the glory of His Father and the love of His sheep. (John 17 & 20) And the very reason we can now see him as someone who can identify with our joys and sorrows and gains and losses is because He embraced the pains and sufferings of humanity with open arms. Now we likewise can embrace Him as someone that understands us and the trials that we face. He genuinely loves us to the point that He would even endure the tortures and physical pains of this world and the cross for our spiritual wellbeing!
“My name is Fernando Hutajulu!” he continued and went on to tell us about how his people used to be cannibals and the very first group of Germans that had ever come to his tribe were murdered and then eaten by his grandparents and family. He continued, “More Germans came after we ate those first ones though! The people of my tribe were completely bewildered as to why more of these white skinned foreigners would continue coming to us even after some of them had been killed and eaten. So eventually we listened to the message that the foreigners brought and now most of my tribe are believers in Jesus. They remain followers of Jesus to this day despite the fact that much of Sumatra is predominantly Muslim” Fernando excitedly told us.” – From page 82 of Prophecies of Pale Skin
When we, on the other hand, do the opposite of this Man we claim to follow and run from the sufferings that God has sovereignly appointed in our lives for His own glory and the spread of His kingdom, often times we are running from the very thing that gives us credibility with the suffering people that we are trying to minister to. It is when those that are watching us see that we are willing to leave everything behind and make sacrifices and endure hardship and suffer for the sake of our message that they begin to understand that we ourselves really do believe the words we have come to tell them. They begin to see that this message of the cross and Jesus Himself really are our Greatest Possession! If Jesus really is our Greatest Treasure and we truly do understand that no trial of hardship can befall us that our loving King hasn’t sovereignly ordained for our good and His glory among the nations then it will affect us and change us.
“We glanced behind us on the left to see a teenage girl with severely deformed legs using her hands to drag herself along. She was able to make it to the edge of the small group gathered and she began to join us in singing. Her mouth and the muscles in her face seemed contorted as she tried to sing along and the sounds coming from her mouth were strange and off pitch but she closed her eyes and half smiled as she continued to sing. As the father of the house dealt out the rice into separate bowls and carefully made sure that everyone got at least a small portion, the crippled girl motioned to Fernando that she had something to say. Fernando leaned over and translated from Indonesian to English in a whisper so that we also could understand. The girl slurred her words as she struggled to speak… “I have been looking forward to this ever since I heard you were coming. I do not have many things that I can enjoy in this life. But one thing that I can enjoy is singing to our God. I am just so, so happy to be gathered together with you all tonight. It brings me so much joy to get together and sing praises to our King. Thank you so much for visiting with us.” she concluded as she looked over at Jennie and I with a sweet, contorted smile and tears in her eyes.” – From page 87 of Prophecies of Pale Skin
If we walk as changed men and women we will be willing to back up our words with our actions and will encourage others to do so also, not tear them down on the basis of gender or color or social status when they step out and choose the hard road and the un-trodden path for the sake of the advancement of the gospel.
We should be willing not only to endure suffering but should see it is a privilege and opportunity to share in the sufferings of Jesus Himself. We should embrace the awesome truth that Jesus Himself is worth far more than any pleasure we could experience, worth more than any lesser treasure that we could leave behind in order to make Him known. Then people will begin to see the difference in our lives, namely that our hope is in something different than comfort and security and health and wealth and the preservation of our own wellbeing. And some of those that are watching us may even begin to ask questions about the hope that we have and the reason that we do what we do and live the way that we live. Then we will “be ready to give an answer to those that ask the reason for the hope that we have” (1 Peter 3:15).
- What was Jesus’ attitude towards those that would have and did discourage Him from taking the hard road and enduring hardship for the glory of His father and advancement of the cross? (Read Matthew 4:1-10, 16:23.)
- Has there been a time in your life when you have been discouraged by others from doing what you know God wants you to do on the basis of gender, race, age or social status? If so, what should your attitude be towards taking the easy way out for the sake of your comfort instead of doing what you know God wants you to do?
- Read Matthew 16:24-26 and ponder these verses and how they relate to your own life.
Used with permission. © 2014, D.S. Phillips
The Leaf Book and the Crossed Wood is a thought provoking study on the effects of the Bible and the Cross in an isolated culture in which they had never been previously introduced. Based on the true story found in Prophesies of Pale Skin.
Along with his family, D.S. Phillips lived and worked among the very remote Dao tribe in South East Asia. The Dao tribe is a people group that before they arrived had no written alphabet for their dialect, not a single verse of scripture available to them and no church or religious organisation of any type working among them.
If you would like to purchase the book go to: The Leaf Book and the Crossed Wood