“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10-11
Jesus lived and died believing God, and so should we. Jesus lived by the truth that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). For example, it was His belief in the faithfulness of His Father to answer His prayers, that motivated Him to forego the luxury of sleep, in exchange for hours of uninterrupted prayer with God (Luke 6:12). It was also the Lord’s faith in God that sustained Him for forty days of fasting and testing in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-2). It was Jesus’ trust in God’s wisdom to ordain His cross-suffering and His trust in God’s power to deliver Him through resurrection, which gave Him the ability to submit to God’s will and endure the horrors of Roman crucifixion for His people. Jesus endured all of the afflictions of His earthly life and especially the afflictions that He suffered on the cross by believing in the promises of God.
The promises that Jesus relied upon throughout His life are found in the Old Testament Scriptures. All the books from Genesis to Malachi (the Old Testament) contain promises that God specifically made to the Messiah, who was the long awaited suffering servant of God (Isaiah 52:13- 53:11). For an example in Psalm 16:10 we read, “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.” In this verse, we see that God had promised Jesus He would neither abandon His soul to Sheol; that is, the grave, hell, or the pit; nor allow His Son’s physical body to decay in the grave after He died physically. It was Jesus’ belief in God’s ability and willingness to keep this promise (and other promises similar to it) that enabled Him to humble Himself in faith and become “…obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
When Jesus was on the cross He was thinking about God’s word. We know this because while on the cross, Jesus quoted from the Scriptures. Eyewitnesses of His crucifixion reported that when Jesus was being crucified, He cried out with a loud voice “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). This quote is taken from Psalm 22:1 where the death, burial, and resurrection of the Christ was foretold. From this, we learn that when the Lord felt most troubled in His Spirit, He held most tightly to His Father’s promises. We should be mindful that Jesus’ confidence in the faithful fulfillment of the promises of God did not diminish the painful realities of His crucifixion. Jesus really bled, really hurt, and really died on the cross. His trust in God to raise Him from the dead did not belittle His cross-work. Conversely, it magnified it. Christ’s reliance on the promises of God throughout His life, and especially on the cross, magnifies the truth that we also can rely on God’s Word throughout the duration of our lives, and especially in the midst of our own afflictions. Since the Son of God was enabled to endure the agonies of the cross through His faith in the promises of God; we are assured that we will be enabled to endure in the obedience of our own faith, in the midst of our lesser trials, by trusting God and by relying on His promises.
If we truly desire to see God transform our lives, we must endure in our faith in God. We need to look to Jesus “…the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2); and be strengthened in our resolve to believe God. We must choose to persevere in our belief in God’s power to transform us, regardless of the many complex difficulties- which may be present in our lives. We need to rely on God’s ability and faithfulness to do all that He has said He would do for us, in us, and through us. God has commanded His people to believe Him. In all things- throughout the trials and afflictions of our live- we must remember the promise of God that “…after you [we] have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” And, it is for this reason that we can all say, “To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen“