Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. (Hebrews 12:15 NLT)
If we consider what were some of the practical factors in Christ's crucifixion we realize that His sufferings were caused by men's fickleness, bigotry, fearfulness, jealousy and treachery. In love He bore all these for us. And these may well be the factors which challenge the reality of our love to God. The fickle crowds so soon forgot the kindness and goodness of the Lord Jesus, allowing themselves to be carried away by base and false accusations, so that they cried out against the one whom they had formerly extolled and praised. The Pharisees were so dominated by a religious bigotry which was cruel in its intolerance and harsh in its legalistic denunciations that they took the lead in causing His sufferings. The disciples, as well as Pilate, were fearful; Judas was treacherous; and Satan was jealous himself and inspired jealousy in the Sadducees and others. But all this concentration of attacks upon love did not turn the Lord away from remaining faithful to the Father's will in every detail. God's love meant more to Him than the bitterness of enemies, the failure of friends, the strength of popular opinion or the matter of His own rights. When He came to rest in the glory of the Father's presence, love had conquered every temptation....
We, too, are confronted by some of the foes which He had to face, for we have been called to bear the Cross after Him. The fickleness of friends and fellow-workers, the bigoted criticism of those who claim to be God's servants, the fear-inspiring pressure of popular opinion, the misunderstanding and jealousy which Satan himself inspires - these are some of the tests put to our love. We can never hope to overcome them unless we remember that there is in the presence of God for us a Savior who suffered the full agony of these things, but accepted them as part of the cup which the Father had given Him to drink. It was love for the Father which enabled Him always to choose the Father's will, and the outcome of His triumph is that "we should be holy and without blemish before Him in love." There is a sense in which God is seeking to undo in us all that failure of love which we inherit from Adam. He exposes us to the painfulness of the Cross, not in some capricious or unsympathetic way, but because He aims to reproduce in us that love in fulfillment of His will which Christ already presents to Him on our behalf.
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