Yet Without Sin

May 4, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Cynthia Ruchti –

In all the artwork—paintings, sculptures, etchings, stained glass—of the crucifixion, have you ever seen Jesus on the cross with a smile on His face? The art comes from artists’ imaginations, clearly, since there was no photography at the time. But did any change the natural grimace into a grin?

It seems a ridiculous question. Who would expect Jesus to have smiled through that kind of agony, despite how courageous, strong, and divine? It would seem closer to insanity than joy if He had been laughing His way through being crucified, or had cracked a smile while the crown of thorns cracked his skin open. How would it have served His Father’s purposes if He had treated the crucifixion lightly, even if He could have risen above the pain to “give His mama a little grin”?

But did the sober, tortured, pained expression on His face mean He’d lost His faith? Of course not.

Then why do we judge others when they feel their anguish deeply and walk through seasons when the pain of their situation puts a tortured expression on their faces?

Years ago, a woman told me that when her mother died of a sudden heart attack, she and her sister—both young moms at the time—traveled together by train to the funeral. The woman telling the story said her tears flowed softly and freely most of the train trip. Her sister chided her to stop crying, shaming her for being sad. “Mom’s in heaven. Get a grip. We should be celebrating for her. Quit with the tears.”

The woman heeded her sister’s rebuke, wrongly thinking her tears were a sign of weak faith. It was decades before she allowed herself to cry again.

Jesus felt the full brunt of the agony He bore, but we’re told even then He was without sin. Grief and sadness are natural reactions to pain. We trust God with our lives, trust Him in dire circumstances, trust Him in the blackest of moments—as Jesus did—and still experience deep grief.

A recent news report told the story of yet another prominent figure—a person of profound faith—whose son committed suicide. I pray no well-meaning person tries to tell that dad and mom to quit crying. Their agony is not sin. It’s the human heart’s response to tragedy. Faith can remain strong, even when the tears flow.

PRAYER: Jesus, I’m in awe of how much Your cross is still teaching me, all these years later. Father God, Your Word tells us there is—there IS—a time to cry. Increase my sensitivity to those around me who wear their anguish on their faces. Help equip me to be a better listening ear and leaning post until their tears subside.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 ESV).

About Cynthia Ruchti

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels and novellas, devotion collections, speaking, teaching, and a history of 33 years as a radio writer/producer. Her books have been recognized by RT Reviewers’ Choice, Retailers’ Choice, Family Fiction Readers’Choice, and other honors. Her novel When the Morning Glory Blooms (Abingdon Press Fiction) releases April 1, 2013. A nonfiction project—Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices—releases July 2013 from Abingdon Press Christian Living.
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