Today I went to the dentist to have a tooth cavity filled. The dentist was quick, courteous and professional. The procedure went fast and was without pain. I marvel at the many medical advances of recent years. They are able to make a visit to a dentist almost, dare I say, “pleasant”? I am old enough to remember way back when my first few cavities were filled. Back then, the procedure was very painful. Why? No anesthesia. Nothing was given to numb you. So, when you felt you could take no more pain, the dentist would stop and let you rest up for more drilling and pain. After a few minutes, he would resume the drilling and I would need to endure more pain. So much pain! I was very happy when it was all over and done.
Acts 2:24 “God raised him up, having brought to an end the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” (LEB)
My pain at the dentist was short-lived and nothing compared to what people suffered through crucifixion. Today, criminals sentenced to death are given drugs which are supposed to reduce the pains of death. But in the days of the Roman Empire, suffering pain on the cross was part of the sentence. It was designed to inflict pain as well as death. But, it was a tool perfectly used by God to show how much he loved us through the necessary killing of his only son, Jesus. Later, on the third day, God raised Jesus from the death, thus proving Jesus was the Son of God.
For us, living in today’s modern world, we don’t have to worry so much about that kind of pain except in those parts of the world wracked by wars or dictatorships. The pain we are more likely to endure are those self-inflicted. The old saying, “No pain, no gain” refers to exercising until it hurts. That’s the physical kind of pain. Then there’s emotional pain. This kind can happen when someone close to you, perhaps your spouse, dies. Recently, one of my wife’s cousins was shot to death during a robbery at his home. We cannot imagine the emotional pain now being endured by his family. The unexpected, senseless loss of life makes the pain sharper and deeper. Why did it happen? We do not live in a perfect world. It’s no longer the Garden of Eden. Sin has entered the world and now impacts everything. We live in a fallen world.
Genesis 3:16-17 ’16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;”‘(ESV) [emphasis mine]
So pain is now part of our lives. How can Jesus help us?
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (NET)
My dentist, from way back when, allowed me time to rest up between bouts of painful drilling. But, Jesus promises us permanent rest. He will carry our burdens, lighten the loads of life, soften and even remove the pains of living life in a fallen world. In Him we can have true rest.