Gift of Woundedness
The world and all it contains was created for one purpose: to showcase the grandeur of God's
Son. In Jesus, the nature of God is magnificently and perfectly revealed; He is the "express image" of God (Heb. 1:3 KJV).
Yet to gaze upon Christ is also to see God's pattern for man. As we seek to be like Him, we discover that our need was created
for His sufficiency. We also see that, once the redemptive nature of Christ begins to triumph in our lives, mercy begins to
triumph in the world around us.
How will we recognize revival when it comes? Behold, here is the awakening we seek:
men and women, young and old, all conformed to Jesus. When will revival begin? It starts the moment we say yes to becoming
like Him; it spreads to others as Christ is revealed through us.
Yet to embrace Christ's attitude toward mercy is
but a first step in our spiritual growth. The process of being truly conformed to Christ compels us into deeper degrees of
transformation. Indeed, just as Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered (see Heb. 5:8), so also must we.
And it is here, even while we stand in intercession or service to God, that Christ gives us the gift of woundedness.
you ask. Yes, to be wounded in the service of mercy and, instead of closing our hearts, allow woundedness to crown love, is
to release God's power in redemption. The steadfast prayer of the wounded intercessor
holds great sway upon the heart of God.
We cannot become Christlike
without being wounded. You see, even after we come to Christ, we carry encoded within us preset limits concerning how far
we will go for love, and how much we are willing to suffer for redemption. When God allows us to be wounded, He exposes those
human boundaries and reveals what we lack of His nature.
The path narrows as we seek true transformation. Indeed,
many Christians fall short of Christ's stature because they have been hurt and offended by people. They leave churches discouraged,
vowing never again to serve or lead or contribute because, when they offered themselves, their gift was marred by unloving
people. To be struck or rejected in the administration of our service can become a great offense to us, especially as we are
waiting for, and even expecting, a reward for our good efforts.
Yet wounding is inevitable if we are following Christ.
Jesus was both "marred" (Isa. 52:14) and "wounded" (Zech. 13:6), and if we are sincere in our pursuit of His nature, we will
suffer as well. How else will love be perfected?
Yet, let us beware. We will either become Christlike and forgive
the offenders or we will enter a spiritual time warp where we abide continually in the memory of our wounding. Like a systemic
disease, the hurtful memories infect every aspect of our existence. In truth, apart from God, the wounding that life inflicts
is incurable. God has decreed that only Christ in us can survive.
of a Prayer Warrior
Intercessors live on the frontier of change. We
are positioned to stand between the needs of man and the provision of God. Because we are the agents of redemption, Satan
will always seek the means to offend, discourage, silence, or otherwise steal the strength of our prayers. The wounding we
receive must be interpreted in light of God's promise to reverse the effects of evil and make injustice work for our good
(see Rom. 8:28). Since spiritual assaults are inevitable, we must discover how God uses our wounds as the means to greater
power. This was exactly how Christ brought redemption to the world.
Jesus knew that maintaining love and forgiveness
in the midst of suffering was the key that unlocked the power of redemption. Isaiah 53:11 tells us, "By His knowledge the
Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities."
Jesus possessed revelation knowledge
into the mystery of God. He knew that the secret to unleashing world-transforming power was found at the cross, in suffering.
At the cross, payment for sin was made. As Christ forgave His enemies, heaven's power rent the temple veil in two. Christ's
stripes purchased our healing. I am not just talking about suffering, but the suffering of love.
The terrible offense
of the cross became the place of redemption for the world. Yet, remember, Jesus calls us to a cross as well (see Matt. 16:24).
Wounding is simply an altar upon which our sacrifice to God is prepared.
Listen again to Isaiah's prophetic description
of Jesus' life. His words at first seem startling, but as we read, we discover a most profound truth concerning the power
of woundedness. He wrote, "But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt
offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand"
How did the power of God's pleasure prosper in Christ's hand? During His times of crushing, woundedness
and devastation, instead of retaliating, Jesus rendered Himself "as a guilt offering."
The crushing is not a disaster;
it is an opportunity. You see, our purposeful love may or may not touch the sinner's heart, but it always touches the heart
of God. We are crushed by people, but we need to allow the crushing to ascend as an offering to God. The greatest benefit
of all is the effect our mercy has on the Father. If we truly want to be instruments of God's good pleasure, then it is redemption,
not wrath, that must prosper in our hands. If we are Christ-followers, we must offer ourselves as an offering for the guilt
Conformed to the Lamb
When Christ encounters
conflict, though He is the Lion of Judah, He comes as the Lamb of God. Even when He is outwardly stern, His heart is always
mindful that He is the "guilt offering." Thus, Jesus not only asks the Father to forgive those who have wounded Him, but also
numbers Himself with the transgressors and intercedes for them (see Isa. 53:12). He does this because the Father takes "no
pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezek. 33:11), and it is the pleasure of God that Jesus seeks.
Is this not the
wonder and mystery, yes, and the power, of Christ's cross? In anguish and sorrow, wounded in heart and soul, still He offered
Himself for His executioners' sins. Without visible evidence of success, deemed a sinner and a failure before man, He courageously
held true to mercy. In the depth of terrible crushing, He let love attain its most glorious perfection. He uttered the immortal
words, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).
Christ could have escaped. He
told Peter as the Romans came to arrest Him, "Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My
disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matt. 26:53). In less than a heartbeat, the skies would have been flooded with
thousands of warring angels. Yes, Jesus could have escaped, but mankind would have perished. Christ chose to go to hell for
us rather than return to heaven without us. Instead of condemning mankind, He rendered "Himself
as a guilt offering" (Isa. 53:10, italics mine). He prayed the mercy prayer, "Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34).
said, "He who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also" (John 14:12). We assume He meant that we would work His
miracles, but Jesus did not limit His definition of "works" to the miraculous. The works He did---the redemptive life, the
mercy cry, the identification with sinners, rendering Himself a guilt offering---all the works He did, we will "do also."
Thus, because He lives within us, we see that Isaiah 53 does not apply exclusively to Jesus; it also becomes the blueprint
for Christ in us. Indeed, was this not part of His reward, that He would see His offspring? (see Isa.. 53:10) Beloved, we
are the progeny of Christ!
Read these words from Paul's heart:
"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions"
What did the apostle mean? Did not Christ fully pay mankind's debts once and for all? Did Paul imply
that we now take Jesus' place? No, we will never take Jesus' place. It means that Jesus has come to take our place. The Son
of God manifests all the aspects of His redemptive, sacrificial life through us. Indeed, "as He is, so also are we in this
world" (1 John 4:17).
Paul not only identified with Christ in his personal salvation, but he was also consumed with
Christ's purpose. He wrote, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being
conformed to His death" (Phil. 3:10).
For those who blame others for the decline of our nation, to be a follower of
the Lamb, you must render yourself as an offering for their sin. By your wounds they shall be healed.
What a wondrous
reality is the "fellowship of His sufferings." Here, in choosing to yoke our existence with Christ's purpose, we find true
friendship with Jesus. This is intimacy with Christ. The sufferings of Christ are not the sorrows typically endured by mankind;
they are the afflictions of love. They bring us closer to Jesus. We learn how precious is the gift of woundedness.
pray: Father, I see You have had no other purpose in my life but to manifest through
me the nature of Your Son. I receive the gift of woundedness. In response, in surrender to Christ, I render myself an offering
for those You've used to crush me. May the fragrance of my worship remind You of Jesus, and may You forgive, sprinkle and
cleanse the world around me.
The preceding message originally came from Pastor Frangipane's book, The Power of One Christlike Life (Whitaker House). It also is a principle chapter in pastor's online school In Christ's Image Training. Next term begins January 2, 2009.
CLICK HERE to go BACK to "Hope for the Wounded Heart"