Psalm 110:1, 2, 3, 4
What does it mean to be a mature Christian?
Clearly a mature Christian is one who takes Jesus' example and teaching as a guide for all aspects of life: relationships to God, to others, to self, to creation.
But in my experience there is one aspect of Jesus' teaching and example that is among the last to be internalized. At least it was for myself. It is Jesus' relationship to dealing with his personal suffering. The Epistle to the Hebrews gives insight into Jesus' example. Hebrews tells us that in his sufferings Jesus "offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death." The scene of Jesus in Gethsemane in agony and in total vulnerability presenting himself to his most dear Father comes to mind immediately.
And, Hebrews tells us, "he was heard because of his reverence. . . and was made perfect" through his obedience to his Father. His Good Friday unconditional trust in his Father becomes the occasion of his Easter Sunday transformation.
Much human living involves suffering, whether physical, psychological or spiritual. Many of us for as long as possible try to avoid dealing directly with suffering. But for most of us, as for Jesus, suffering does not go away. Then Jesus' example becomes absolutely crucial for entering into this dimension of Christian living. By opening ourselves in total vulnerability to God we participate personally in the Paschal Mystery, giving God the occasion to transform our Good Fridays into Easter Sundays.
And we have the comfort of knowing that Jesus our high priest who has personally experienced human suffering and so fully understands our pain is even now interceding for us with our most dear Father.
There is no full maturity as Christians until we begin internalizing
the wisdom of the cross.
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