What would have happened to Peter, Paul, or any of us if there were no pain and death? On Sunday morning, instead of going to church, we would all roll over and go back to sleep. Snoring our life away, more or less in comfort, but never understanding the purpose and goal of pain and death.
There’s a limit to the time given to us and if it isn’t lived in Christ, baptized, faithed, and loved by our Savior, our pain and death taken captive by him for us, life will be gone and will never return.
So, maybe we should ask ourselves more often whether pain and death necessary? Answer: Yes, but it’s meaning and intent is only understood when we focus on Jesus’ cross.
Jesus doesn’t talk about God’s love for us; he embodies it. He lets the world’s pain and death nail him to the cross. He takes our pain and death into his own body. His screams are our screams. When he cries out, “My God, why have you abandoned me,” that’s our hopeless cry. When he lets out his last breath, that’s our last breath. And, best of all, his resurrection from death is our resurrection.
This good news is the truth our Savior speaks to us. This is the bread of life that we feast on at his table. This is our baptismal life, lived amidst pain and death.
Jesus doesn’t talk about God’s love for us; he embodies it.
It’s time we realize we have something more powerful than pain and death. We have Jesus, so don’t give pain and death more time than they deserve. Pain and death hang on Jesus, and we’ll only be unsatisfied with this answer so long as we’ve convinced ourselves that there’s any other purpose or meaning to pain and death.
Pain and death can frighten us by their appearance, but the important thing is that Jesus already responded to them for us. He crucified our pain and death for us. He buried them for us. He was resurrected so there’s no more purposeless, meaningless pain and death for us!
Our big mistake is that we think we look forward to death. But death is already gone. Whatever time has passed for us, and whatever time is still to come to us, is owned by Jesus’ resurrection. So we’re frightened by pain. We suffer from the anticipation of death. Why? Jesus has conquered our pain and death. When we focus on Christ crucified for us, we see ourselves nailed to the cross. We see ourselves in his pain and death. We see ourselves raised from death.
When our pastor announces Jesus forgiveness to us, we receive our Savior’s guarantee that his death and resurrection are for us. When we are baptized in Christ’s name, we receive our Savior’s promise that his death and resurrection are for us. When we eat and drink his body and blood, we receive God’s unbreakable promise that his son has conquered our pain and death.
When our pastor announces Jesus forgiveness to us, we receive our Savior’s guarantee that his death and resurrection are for us
The object of life isn’t to feed on pain and death, but to find ourselves in Christ Jesus nailed to the cross. That’s the purpose and goal of our pain and death: Jesus crucified for us. Jesus raised from death for us.