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The Resurrection And The Life
by Bro. Clifford Hurst
1101 North Union Road
Dayton, Ohio 45417
Insomniac that I am, I was immediately jealous of my almost-two grandson. He had fallen asleep at our house and had been laid on our bed. I went into our bedroom for something and saw him there. He was in a deep, deep sleep. That's where the envy slipped in. I yearned: "I wish I could sleep like that. It would be so restful." The thought of resting physically made me think of the restlessness of people's hearts and minds and souls. I glanced again at my grandson. He was flat on his back. His face was totally relaxed, absent even of a hint of an expression of any kind. There was no furrowing of the brow, no tightness around the eyes of any tensions, no lines of any burden--there was nothing. Then I noticed his arms and legs. His arms, fully extended, were both at right angles to his torso and his legs were stretched straight down. So, that's the position of rest? It wasn't morbidity but my thoughts about spiritual rest that jolted me with an odd thought: My grandson's posture in totally restful sleep was the same as the posture of Jesus on the cross--His back flat on the wood, His arms stretched out perpendicular on the horizontal beam, His legs stretched downward nailed to the vertical one. There was no rest on Jesus' face. It was lined with the furrows of the pain of His body's suffering and the weight of our sins. Yet, Jesus' position on the cross gives us rest. Is it not true? Is not the position of true rest that of my grandson on the bed? Is it not the position of One on the cross? Truly we can discover a rest of mind, a rest of soul, a rest of heart, in Jesus' crucifixion on the cross. He suffered so that we could know rest, peace. But, although our rest is rooted in what Jesus accomplished on the cross by His suffering for us, we will never truly experience that rest until we join Him there, our backs flat against the cross and our arms spread out in surrender. Soul rest comes by means of His suffering for our sin, the cause of our unrest, but we never appropriate that rest until we die to ourselves--our way, our will, our wants--, die to our flesh, die to the world's attractions. Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live!" I do not think it injustice to his words to restate them, "I am crucified with Christ, and therefore I rest." Jesus did say, "Come unto me...and I will give you rest." He also said, "Come unto me and take up your cross." There truly is rest in that position of surrender of our wills to His, the position of one on the cross. I tried it physically. I never have been a back sleeper. I couldn't fall asleep in that position. But, Scripture makes clear, if my soul lies in the same position as my grandson on the bed-and Jesus on the cross, it will find rest and peace.