Tasting of the Sufferings of Christ
Captured because of his faith he was held in a cell waiting for His death by hanging. As a young imprisoned believer, he wrestled in anguish with the question, “If once I arrive to the point of ‘no return’ will I be able to persevere in faith overcoming fear of death?” His anguish over what he thought was inability to conquer fear, was so strong that as each Friday approached he would request from his friend who was headed to the gallows to remember him before Jesus.
It was many years ago that this story took place. Relayed to me in 2011 while sitting in a Hong Kong hotel room, I listened to the one to whom this story belonged. His story of His imprisonment found a raw cord within me. The beauty of suffering – sharing a taste of what Christ encountered for the sake of our freedom. What a privilege. Silence was the highest honor.
The schedule of the prison was that every Friday one believer would be killed by hanging. There was no room for mercy. There was one more friend who would be killed before this beautiful man of God would also meet his fate. He spoke honestly with his friend, older than him in faith. His transparency led him to request that he speak to Jesus on his behalf upon arriving into heaven. He said, “Please tell Jesus that I’m concerned about my ability to pass through this test.” He comforted his friend, then forced to watch him hang, he waited. Seven more days until he too would be before His Redeemer.
Often, they would take him and tying his arms they would torture him by whipping his feet and legs mercilessly. The pain? Unspeakable. One day while being whipped he cried out to the Lord for help, and within seconds he no longer felt pain. Looking to see what had changed he noticed Jesus sitting beside him on the ground. He sat so close. Hip to Hip they sat. Jesus responded to his cries and came to assist him through His selfless surrender to evil. Jesus placed His legs atop His friends’ legs, and took the whippings for him. His memory forever stamped within this moment.
“No greater love does a friend have, but to lay down his life for his friend.”
In the moments following Jesus’ betrayal:
Recorded in John chapter 13, we read of the Upper Room encounters of the twelve and their Rabbi. Jesus takes off His outer garments, kneels at the feet of every disciple, and washes their feet. A momentary mystery.
“What I do you do not realize now but you will understand hereafter.”
I believe He was preparing them for their life-long walk of sufferings. He was strengthening their walk. Satan could not touch their spirit, for this was the place of immunity; however, their flesh would encounter the land yet groaning for the revealing of the sons of God. The dust of earth’s flesh would find a way to lodge upon their soul. Yes, they were about to pay a heavy price as foundational pillars of the Kingdom of God. This their inheritance.
“Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him,
“If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.””
The high calling:
Having washed the feet of twelve, Jesus spoke advising His future apostles to wash one another’s feet. The leaders of ‘The Way,’ puzzled, would realize later the need for dependence on God and one another – family. They would later realize one of their greatest weapons was meant to be “polished” by one another. This weapon was their heel.
The dust of the flesh of the world was their opposition, and resisting the one who crawled through the dust was a daily battle fought. Encountering darkness was met with truth spoken and acted upon daily. Teachings were given in every town and city, giving the citizens of the regions the precepts of His Kingdom. Each truth spoken was a blow to the head of the serpent. Each truth acted upon was piercing the earth with a tent peg of righteousness.
There was no better gift to give a sister or brother at the end of the day then to cleanse their feet from the day’s resistance and work. This would empower them for the next day’s victories. This was “loving one another.” Serving one another in this way was a profound reality of the economy of heaven. Love was the gold. Washing each other’s feet, the investment.
Judas, one who used his heel against His Redeemer
Often, we are so greatly offended by the weakness of others; as well as, our own. Christ overcame through understanding the ways of the flesh (Psalms 103: 13-14) meeting each experience with compassion and understanding. He asks us to do the same. We will offend and be offended. But the antidote is clear. Love one another and strengthen one another’s walk through the washing with water.
The accuser of the brethren will be one of the prominent spirits to overcome in these last days. The most profound way in which we can assist one another is to bend our backs and pick up a towel, washing the dust of the flesh off of our friend’s feet. In so doing, we are releasing healing; thereby, crushing the authority of the snake from near the heels of our fellow traveler.
The strength of our heel is not meant to crush the spirits of Christ’s friends; instead this weapon is intended to crush the head of the false tales and stinging words, the serpent’s questions of doubt, the snake’s thievery, and the false alliances with darkness.
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions,
and over all the power of the enemy,
and nothing will injure you.
Judas chose to shrink in stature as he accepted the oppression of the accuser, making Jesus so small in his eyes. In so doing he reversed (in his mind) the blessing which God gave to the seed of Mary. Her seed would crush the authority of satan. Instead of assisting in the victory, Judas yielded and gave the power of his heel to darkness.
“Truly, truly, I say to you,
he who receives whomever I send receives Me;
and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
Oh, for the love of the Tree of Life!!! We are meant to discern with the eyes of our heart and not by the outward appearance (Isaiah 11:3-4). We were meant to judge with righteousness (John 7:24). In so doing we will be able to receive everyone who Jesus sends onto our path. This is a direct commandment from the Lord. A cause for celebration is the identity of each of Christ’s family members. It is He who established the new commandment.
“A new commandment I give to you,
that you love one another, even as I have loved you,
that you also love one another.
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.”
Just a simple reminder. The expansion of the Kingdom will continue as we access the love bestowed upon us from the One who is love itself. For when we love we are learning the identity of the One who is The I Am.
“Nevertheless, we live, but Christ who lives in us.”
Learning to bend,
We look forward to visit with you at the table of the Lord. See you tonight at 7:30pm Facebook Live on the page of Priscilla Zananiri
To link to the previous ‘8 Days of Communion ‘ writings: https://visualeast.org/2019/04/15/8-days-of-communion-one-who-chose-to-commune-with-him/
To link to the next ‘8 Day son Communion” writings: https://visualeast.org/2019/04/18/the-emotions-of-god-and-his-harvest-fields/