United Pentecostal Church Mannheim
Short Messages
Message from the Monthly Flyer from June 2006

The Bitter and the Sweet

Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles. And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. Mark 10,33-34

Now the time was drawing close, the time of his death and his suffering. The time had already gone by when they had wanted to make him king, the time in which they asked him what should be done. Now they wanted to have the say, they wanted to choose their king themselves, but they not want him however. How bitter this must have been for Jesus, “The Son of man must suffer greatly, and shall be handed over to be put to death,” he said beforehand.

No, it was not the death of being stoned, which would have been far better than crucifixion. No, but it was the worst death that existed. The whippings, the crown of thorns, and the cross were meant for him, he who was innocent.

How bitter that must have tasted for him. I ask myself the question today, “To what extent does the cross touch us?” Living in a time in which we are surrounded by murder and manslaughter, unrighteousness, and contempt for God, is it possible that the message about him who was crucified can still touch us?

Already just the thought about the cross must have been bitter for Jesus. The sweet was not far away from him, if he would only hold through until the cross, until death, then he would end up resurrecting from the dead. It was still the case that death was like a sting. It appeared as if hell was winning, but he would snatch the sting away from death and hell would not be entitled to the victory.
His disciples understood nothing, even though he had told them about it. And Jesus himself, in whom could he confide? Who would understand him? He had to die so that people could hear the gospel and be set free, when they are obedient to his gospel.. Should the song which was sang at his birth had been in vain: “…Mankind was lost, Christ was born”? Jesus was grieved; the cross is a bitter medicine.

Yes, time spent bringing the dead back to life, healing the sick, delivering the demon possessed, and teaching, is wonderful, that is all sweet, but the cross, no, …that is bitter!

Without the cross not one single soul can be won! Therefore, He went and endured everything. Then after all, his love to us, which is the sweet, was stronger than the bitter. Souls would be able to be saved, He would resurrect from the dead. The cross was bitter, however, the resurrection was sweet! Bitter and sweet – what a contrast; they both start off together at birth and stay together until death.

A mother has her pains, her birth contractions, but her thoughts which are focused on her child, help her to tolerate this pain. Bitter and sweet side by side. Proverbs 27,7: “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Almost everyday in our lives, we come face to face with the bitter and the sweet. They are so close by to one another. There are times of discouragement, sorrow, suffering, pain and times of disappointment.

We feel like we have been cheated and are aware of the aching pain in our hearts. However, there is a hand, the hand of Jesus, which is not far away from any of us. Whoever takes a hold of it will discover the strength of Christ, which is so sweet, and it enables you to bear all the things which you are going through. He refreshes our spirit, strengthens our soul. For the sweet is stronger than the bitter of this world and it is able to wash away the bitter.

The difference between a sinner and a Christian is great. The sinner in the world, the one who is lost, experiences the bitter on a daily basis: pain, sadness, afflictions, disappointments, and he does not have the sweet. You might say that he enjoys the sins of the world. Do you really believe that the worldly pleasures of sin can wash away the bitter ? No! Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can give them the sweetness of salvation. Only He is the key. His call to follow HIM is a part of the gospel. Repent from your sins, be converted, and do the will of God. Does it not taste bitter to hear such words? Then I can no longer do that what I want to do. How bitter that tastes. No person with any sense loves the cross because it is bitter, but thereafter, the sweet will come! It is necessary that you lose your life for Christ. Your plans, your goals, your life, you must give everything to Him. He has a better plan for you, other goals and many blessings in store. You must go to him on the cross, be crucified with him. How bitter that tastes for the “I”, for the flesh, for it does not want to die. The sweet says: If you die and do the will of God, you will find life. And if you are obedient, then you will find forgiveness for your sins. You will come forth out of the water and your sins are washed away. They have been thrown onto the cross. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit, which Jesus has promised to all those who are obedient to him. rw

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