Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: "Identified" With Christ

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Often people have said, "I just don't feel anything in my heart! I try to obey everything the Bible says to do, but I wish I could 'survey the wondrous cross' and have that love for Jesus that Paul talks about so much. Why do I feel so cold? I'd be willing to wash Jesus' feet but I don't have any tears like Mary Magdalene had. Why does nothing happen when I read my Bible and pray?"

Well, a wise pastor will tell you not to depend on emotional feelings. We are saved by grace through faith, not by feelings. But, was there something the New Testament writers saw that we don't see? If God were to give us a video of the crucifixion of Jesus would that help? (If the answer is yes, then it's God's fault that we are left so cold-hearted.)

Could it be that living under the Roman Empire they were privileged to witness genuine crucifixions (they were common), which thank God we don't have to watch? Then they projected onto the Son of God their feelings of sympathy for those helpless (and maybe often innocent) victims writhing in their anguish, and that did it for them? Why do we read that John "wept much" and was moved in his heart to sing with all his soul, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" (Rev. 5:4, 12)? Something must have moved him deeply!

Says Paul, "If we have become incorporate with [Christ] in a death like His, we shall also be one with Him in a resurrection like His. … the man we once were has been crucified with Christ, for the destruction of ... self" (Rom. 6:5, 6, The New English Bible). But in The Revised English Bible it's clearer: "If we have become identified with Him in His death, we shall also be identified with Him in His resurrection." Other translators say, "become united with Him," "one with Him," etc., but that word "identified" helps.

No, we don't need a movie or a video; the Holy Spirit will do very nicely. Give Him a thoughtful hour in prayer, and "identify."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 25, 2002.
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