When things go wrong we tend to question God. When we sin we often question whether God’s grace is going to cover this failure. Does the Lord truly love us? Is he pleased with us?
The common practice of Roman soldiers was to break the legs of those who were being crucified in order to ensure that they died quickly. The day Jesus was crucified, John records in his Gospel that the soldiers came to do exactly that but found that Jesus already appeared to be dead. To confirm this, “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.” (John 19:34)
Death by crucifixion is death by drowning, liquid pooling up in your lungs as you struggle to breathe. When water spilled out of Jesus’ pierced side, the soldiers knew full well that the man hanging on the cross was definitely dead. They didn’t need to check again. The execution had been completed.
Years later, the Apostle Peter writes, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” Christ suffered once for sins. The book of Hebrews reiterates this, declaring, “by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10, emphasis mine)
God has proven himself to us completely in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. He proved his love through the sending and sacrificing of his son. He’s proved his power through the miraculous life and resurrection of his son. He’s proved his faithfulness through his son’s promise to be with his people till the very end and ultimately, to return.
When we question the goodness, grace, or power of God every time we sin or something doesn’t go the way we desire in our lives, it’s as if we’re that soldier there on the crucifixion mount, returning again to spear Jesus’ side, double, triple checking that his sacrificial death is truly real, over and over again.
Checking Jesus’ death over and over again isn’t faith. It’s fear and doubt. Put the spear down and take God at his word. Clearly this is what John intended for us to do when he concluded his Gospel with the words; “He who saw it has borne witness – his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth – that you may also believe.” (John 19:35)
You may not have been there for Jesus’ death, but John’s word is true and is written so that you may also believe. Take God at his word. Don’t let your questioning become a continual testing of his truthfulness. Stop checking Jesus’ death. Trust that he has suffered once, for all, and has covered completely every sin and failure and shortcoming that you will ever have. Trust that his love is unending and his patience is perfect. Trust he does indeed work everything for the good of those who love him. Trust him. His testimony is true!
*This post was inspired by something my roommate Andrew shared with me after he had been praying, so credit for the concept goes to him!