Today’s Morning Thought
“For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21
BUT imperfectly, perhaps, beloved reader, are you aware of the high privilege to which you are admitted, and of the great glory conferred upon you, in being identified with Jesus in His life of humiliation. This is one of the numerous evidences by which your adoption into the family of God is authenticated, and by which your union with Christ is confirmed. It may be you are the subject of deep poverty—your circumstances are straitened, your resources are limited, your necessities are many and pressing.
Perhaps you are the “man that has known affliction;” sorrow has been your constant and intimate companion; you have become “acquainted with grief.” The Lord has been leading you along a path of painful humiliation. You have been “emptied from vessel to vessel.” He has brought you down, and laid you low; step by step, and yet, oh, how wisely and how gently, He has been leading you deeper and yet deeper into the valley!
But why all this leading about? why this emptying? why this descending? Even to bring you into a union and communion with Jesus in His life of humiliation! Is there a step in your abasement that Jesus has not trodden with you—ah! and trodden before you? Is there a sin that He has not carried, a cross that He has not borne, a sorrow that has not affected Him, and infirmity that has not touched Him? Even so will He cause you to reciprocate this sympathy, and have fellowship with Him in His sufferings.
As the Head did sympathize with the body, so must the body sympathize with the Head. Yes, the very same humiliation which you are now enduring the Son of God has before endured. And that you might learn something what that love and grace and power were which enabled Him to pass through it all, He pours a little drop in your cup, places a small part of the cross upon your shoulder, and throws a slight shadow on your soul!
Yes, the very sufferings you are now enduring are, in a faint and limited degree, the sufferings of Christ. “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you,” says the apostle, “and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for His body’s sake, which is the Church.”
There is a two-fold sense in which Jesus may be viewed as a sufferer. He suffered in His own person as the Mediator of His Church; those sufferings were vicarious and complete, and in that sense He can suffer no morel “for by one offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified.” The other now presents Him as suffering in His members: in this sense Christ is still a sufferer; and although not suffering to the same degree, or for the same end, as He once did, nevertheless He who said, “Saul, Saul, why persecute you me?” is identified with the Church in all its sufferings; in all her afflictions, He being afflicted. The apostle therefore terms the believer’s present sufferings the “afflictions of Christ.”