Weep No More: National Suicide Prevention Week 2012
John doubled over and wept. It seemed like prison was finally getting to him. Though a grown man, he cried louder than most have ever heard. He couldn’t believe that it was all going to end. He didn’t understand God’s plan or why God would allow things to turn out like this. His cell stank.
In our dining room, my neighbor, who’s in elementary school, told us that he learned about money management that day. He was eager to share about his new knowledge of checks—how every check had to be backed by money in the bank. “You can’t just write a check,” he said, “without having money in your bank account.” He smiled as he told us about his new discovery. “Then it wouldn’t be worth anything.” When you make a purchase and pay for it by check, the check has to have money standing behind it for the purchase to be valid and for the signer to take ownership of the item.
I saw an opportunity in this discovery. I told him that his new knowledge of checks would help us to understand God better. God loved the world so much that he wanted to make a purchase (John 3:16). He didn’t want humans to have to pay for all the damage that their sin had done. He knew that we were bankrupt and had no money to cover the huge debt. So he paid for us with the life of his Son, Jesus. He spent the life of Jesus on us, not just to purchase us, but to bring us home with him.
But was it enough? Was this seemingly meager payment enough to cover the massive debt that I owed? But not just me, his payment would also have to cover the cost of every person, in every crevasse of the world, who has ever lived, from the beginning of time until now. The price tag of such a purchase was astronomical.
In fact, a search was made in heaven, on earth, and even under the earth, among mortals and immortals, to find someone who was able to cover the costs for such a purchase. The entire purchase plan, including God’s program to make the world right again, were written in a scroll, which was officially sealed. But who was worthy to open it?
That’s why the Apostle John wept so loudly in Revelation 5:4, as he sat in prison on the island of Patmos. He wept because he correctly understood the hellish predicament the human race was in. If no one was found worthy enough to open the scroll, then there was no hope, no redemption, no future, no point. You might as well just call it quits, right there in the prison. If there’s no future, then we’re paralyzed in the present.
Then John saw a familiar sight: a slain Lamb. The sight must have triggered a thousand memories from his Jewish heritage, seeing lambs sacrificed on the altar. These memories would soon be followed by the memory of Jesus, who was also known as the Lamb (John 1:29). Only he was sacrificed on a cross.
That brings us back to the question I had for my neighbor, “How do we know that Jesus’ payment was enough?” There’s something I didn’t tell you about the slain Lamb that John saw: it was also standing (Revelation 5:6). It was slaughtered, but not defeated. It had risen from its bloody post.
The check had cleared, in other words. And that’s the proof that we’re all searching for. The resurrection of Jesus happened because God saw that Jesus had enough righteousness in his account to cover us all. When every debt was paid in full, the check was no longer under examination. The resurrection proves that we have forgiveness, in other words, and freedom from our sorrow (see Romans 4:25).
But not only forgiveness, the resurrection also proves that we have hope. God’s plan will unfold and evil will not have the last word. Christ’s death on the cross was enough to purchase hope for us all, even those who feel the most desperate.
The word resurrection literally means “stand up.” It’s the knock out blow to hopelessness, because it means that Someone is always standing up for us. Our fountain of hope is a slain, yet standing Lamb.
September 9-15 is National Suicide Prevention Week. May we be like the elder who stood next to John and said, “Weep no more!” as he held out a finger to Jesus Christ, who is always standing up for us. The research from experts like Thomas Joiner says that we are most at risk for suicide when we have an overwhelming sense of burdensomeness and a lack of belonging. I hope you see that you belong to God and he wants to shoulder your burden.
Date Posted: September 11th, 2012