Brutal is Best!
What does it take for a man to lay down his life for another? Does the other fellow need to be a loved man?…. a good man, perhaps?… a wealthy man? Paul wrote, “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.” (Rom. 5:7). Here Paul is saying it is rare to find a man willing to die for someone who has been a good law keeper, who has not transgressed, who is in good standing before God. It may be a bit less rare for a man to die for a man who is “good,” i.e. a very nice person… an affable man… one who is pleasant, approachable, happy.
Both of these men for whom one might die are worthy men, either by deed or character. Because of this, one might be moved on their behalf to take the bullet, sacrifice a vital organ, or in some other way give their life to save the other. Such a person would deem the other fellow as more worthy to live than himself.
This past Sunday Don Longworth asked if in our heart of hearts Christ was truly worthy enough that for Him we would gladly die. It is a question requiring much honest consideration in one’s quiet time before God. Our hearts are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” as writes Jeremiah, and he asks, “who can know it?” Though we may think we may know it we do not.
Moments before His arrest Jesus told Hid disciples what was truly in their hearts. He said, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me…” (Matt. 26:31). The prophets had even foretold it (Zech. 13:7). But Peter thought otherwise. He thought he knew better what was in his heart. “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will,” he said (v.33); “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (v.35a). They all thought so, for “…all the other disciples said the same.” (v.35b). But In the end, “…all the disciples deserted him and fled.” (v.56). When push came to shove, and shove came to sword, and sword came to cross, even the disciples wavered in their sense of Jesus’ worthiness.
But there is hope! What is required is one’s most brutal honesty before God. Our prayer ought be like the partly-convinced convulsing boy’s father who confessed, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Perhaps, “I do count You worthy of all; help me surrender those parts which yet do not count You worthy!”
A brutal prayer indeed, but a brutal honesty. There is no point in trying to hide. God knows already your heart. He knows it’s darkness, yet counted you worthy nonetheless, for as the passage first cited above continues… “…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) — for you!