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ENDURING GOLGOTHA

Considerations as You Run

BY MIKE MAZYCK

“... let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1–3)


Will you take a journey with me, in humble obedience to His word, as we consider Him...


He would be brutally beaten, mocked, spit on, and have His beard ripped violently from His face. They would press down hard as His crown’s long, sharp thorns sank into His scalp and pressed against His skull. And with blood pouring down His head — His face already marred and disfigured —He would know His torture and suffering had just begun; they were just getting warmed up.


At the next stop, they would secure His body in place as two Roman soldiers — one on His left and the other on the right — took turns violently swinging the Roman flagrum across the back of His body. They say the ends of that whip would have been fastened with shards of sheep bone or metal balls. As each strike landed, the Roman soldier would then yank the flagrum inward, ensuring he wasn’t just breaking the flesh open but also ripping through it. Why two soldiers? Because they said the job was too exhausting for one to do well — and they believed in excellence. The back of His body would be torn to shreds as the jeering crowd watched on. Then, when the thrashing was finally over, with bones and even organs likely exposed, they would tell Him... “Get up! Pick up that cross and head up that hill.”


And so He did! He bent over and somehow hoisted those heavy wooden beams across the exposed nerve endings of His back. And with His eyes fixed on the destination and the end of that wooden cross dragging behind Him, He would begin trudging up that hill. His left foot fueled by righteous fury, Holy indignation, His right foot, by a fierce and insatiable love for His bride.


And like any great climber, who with each grueling step, would ponder the reward of standing atop the summit, He would also ponder the prize that awaited Him at the top of that hill — a hammer, with four long, thick nails lying by its side. But the fury and love were too great; He would march on!


Finally, with one last step of triumph, He would reach the peak of that hill. Although He had made the summit, He still had not reached His final destination. He must go higher! And like a marathon runner who turns that last corner and finds himself conflicted as he fixes his eyes on the finish line. He is exhausted and sees that his race is almost over. Everything within him wants to slow down, but instead, he must sprint!


He would not open His mouth — only silence. The gentle and lowly Lamb of God would now stoop low for the last time. He would willingly take one knee at a time and then lay Himself across those wooden beams, spreading His arms wide as if making His final invitation.


With one hand, the soldier would line up the nail with precision while tightening his grip on the hammer with the other. As he reared the hammer back, I wonder: Did our Lord see through the eyes of Isaac for a moment — fastened to the altar — as he watched his father raise the knife up high? Unlike the story of Abraham, though, He knew there would be no voice of rescue coming from the Heavens. He was the voice! He could stop this tragedy at any time He pleased... but He wouldn’t. He would continue His march down that lonely and narrow path His Father had planned for Him — the hammer must come down!


With one crushing blow after another, those nails would plunge deeper and deeper into His bones. They would attach Him to that wooden altar, one limb at a time. He was close — but He still had not arrived.

With each of His limbs properly secured to the altar, the soldiers would gather around those wooden beams and lift Him high, all the while making sure the base of that wooden cross lined up with the hole they had dug for it. Then, with one final jolt of His body and bones, that cross would come slamming down into the bottom of that hole!


AND THERE HE HUNG! Alone and humiliated. A spectacle for all to see. Gasping for each breath. Stripped of His clothing. His flesh mangled and torn. Blood splattered and spilling everywhere. He had finally arrived at His destination — that messy place we call the altar!


My friend, has your race taken you to one of those hills of suffering? Are you

standing at the bottom and staring up at a summit that seems like it’s a hundred miles high? Are you trudging right now? Is each tiny step you take the fight of your life?


Be encouraged by those words to the Hebrews. Look to Him, and do not grow weary. Consider often what He endured. Do not quit! The next step is all that matters. This life is a vapor, like the exhale of your breath on a cold winter morning. In just a moment, you will arrive! The finish line is just around the corner.

A thousand years from now, as you’re dancing with eternal joy, and your radiance shines brighter than a star in the heavens — what will this hill be then? It will be like that dream you can’t remember as you crawl out of bed in the morning; you’ll know it happened and consider it for a brief moment, but then you will remember it was some insignificant vapor and quickly get back to your dance!


But on the other hand, maybe your race has taken you to the flatlands. Maybe you just descended your hill. Maybe you feel that you’re in the lead. Are you tempted to slow your pace? May you hear with humility the words of our brother Peter...


“...conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:17–19)


May you run with great fear, as you consider what the Lamb of God endured, and the price He paid to purchase you. May you not be tempted to look to your right, and to your left, at all those other runners, who run their race casually. Do not compare yourself with those runners whose strides are filled with levity and laughter. With every casual stride they take, the sole of their foot tramples on His precious blood. May you never forget that in this race, it’s the way you run that shows what team you are on – not the jersey you wear!


To read more of Mike’s writing, visit Mikemazyck.com.

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