Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Things Left Unsaid

When reading through the Gospels, it's striking how few words are used to describe Jesus' actual physical sufferings. The brutal flogging and savage nailing to the cross are both mentioned only in passing, as the evangelist (Gospel-writer) moves toward his main point:

"Then he (Pilate) released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered Him to be crucified" (Matthew 27:26).

"And when they had crucified Him, they divided His garments among them by casting lots" (Matthew 27:35).

I often wondered why Jesus' physical sufferings weren't described in more detail. Why don't we see the things we read in a doctor's analysis of flogging and crucifixion, or what we see in Mel Gibson's, The Passion of the Christ?

Then I came across the following question on Quora: What are some of the war secrets or experiences soldiers don't want to talk about after getting back from a war?

The answer was striking: "My father was in Korea and never talked about anything related to combat that involved him. Any war stories he told that were combat-related started with, 'I knew this guy ....' My father was a tough man, ex-boxer, and I never saw him cry while growing up, even when his mother died.

"When I joined the military while still in high school, on delayed enlistment, he wasn't pleased, but he did say, 'It's better than being drafted.' When I later volunteered for duty in Vietnam he was furious, and we never talked about it when I returned, which suited me since I didn't want to talk about it. There were awkward silences between us when something would be on TV about Vietnam, especially when it fell.

"Then one day we went saltwater fishing with my cousin. We all had some beer, and things were light and easy. My cousin and I were fishing off the back of the boat, and my dad off the side. Maybe it was the beer, maybe it was because I'd always been at ease with my cousin, but when he asked me if I'd seen anything really bad over there I told him something I will never mention again.

"I didn't figure out till sometime later my dad must have asked him to get me to open up and that he was listening intently while turned the other way, pretending to be focused on fishing.

"Anyway, after a long silence, my cousin said, 'Well, at least you didn't die over there.'

"And I said, 'Yes, I did.'

"When I looked around, I saw my father's shoulders moving; I could tell the man I'd never seen cry before was crying now."

Could this man's reply explain in part why the Bible focuses on what Jesus accomplished by His agony, sufferings and sacrifice and not on the sufferings themselves? Was it because He was thinking of the people who love Him?

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1 comment :

Pastor Daniel Deardoff Sr. said...

The more I read the Bible the more I am amazed at what a masterpiece of brevity it is, better by far than any Reader's digest condensed book. How the four Gospel writers could convey so much of our Lord's life, teachings, and miracles in such short works is unexplainable outside of divine inspiration. I could never do it. I am thankful God made the Gospels and the whole Bible the length they are, and that we can carry around one book instead of needing a wheelbarrow to carry an encyclopedia type books ("Life of Jesus, volume 26" would not be nearly as handy to take to the hospital or nursing home as what we have!). I do confess it frustrates me that I will have to wait to get to heaven to know what JOhn 21:25 is all about. In my weak moments, I do ask God, "Could you give us more details of a day in the life of Christ and have given us a little less book of Numbers?" But it is all good!