By Pastor Vinnie Cappetta
"Striking Deeper Roots"
Matthew 16:21 NLT
“From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.”
Christian faith must constantly grow. It cannot remain static. Either it will slowly wither and die, or it will mature and bear ever more fruit. And as the stem grows higher and the branches heavier, it needs to strike deeper roots. Without deep roots, there is little hope for survival.
Some of the soil fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds sprouted, because the soil wasn’t deep. Then, when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. Mark 4:5-6.
Perhaps we are under the impression that Jesus himself did not need to undergo this process of deepening. Such an idea would be wrong. It is contradicted by all the indications that we can glean from the Gospels, no less than by the explicit statement that he grew in wisdom and grace (Luke 2:52). Being truly human in every sense of the word, Jesus needed to reflect, to incorporate new experiences into his self-concept, to reinforce his ideals and nurture his heart and mind with new images. Jesus was the most vibrant, open, sensitive, keen, inquisitive religious leader that ever lived. If his humanity, as we believe, presented the exact likeness of God‘s own being (Hebrews 1:3) it reflected also the irrepressible vitality of God. At the same time, being one of us, Jesus needed to learn – even though he was God’s Son, he learned through his sufferings to be obedient (Hebrews 5:8). And the need to suffer was precisely the very upsetting discovery that Jesus made. -From Inheriting the Master’s Cloak by John Wijngaards
If Jesus had to learn through suffering, then we must as well. Someone said “God doesn’t waste pain.” That means we can always learn from our times of suffering.
What can you learn from your most recent season of suffering?
Will you allow this lesson to draw you closer to God? To increase your faith? To deepen your roots?