This is a photo of Shiite Muslims in New Delhi, India flagellating themselves in honor of the grandson of Mohammad. As I study this image, I experience a mixture of feelings and convictions.

Resonance — I understand deep in my bones the essence of this impulse. The inclination to self-abasement as justification is embedded in each one of us. These men have the courage to indulge it, to take it seriously enough to harm themselves as some form of propitiation. They know a gap between themselves and holiness must be bridged.

Fear — Because of the resonance, I am fearful. For them and of myself. It is not really humility that drives self-justification but pride, and pride is not something to be indulged, even if on the surface it appears to be assaulted.

Pity — I feel sorry for them for not knowing the gospel, or for having rejected it. I pity them for believing the bridge can be built by their own blood. I pity them for thinking they must beat themselves up to be righteous.

Gratitude — I am so very thankful for Christ and his gospel. Christ is my righteousness because he — the sinless Man — took the stripes I deserve. Which means I don’t have to take them any more. I don’t have to beat myself up to honor him. By self-flagellation, literal or metaphorical, will no man be justified. I am thankful that Christ bore my sins to kill them and leave them dead, and therefore the burden he holds out is easy, the yoke he fits to my neck is light. He bids me come and rest because the bloody work of justification is finished.

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11 thoughts on “Come and Rest — It is Finished”

  1. Nathan Garth says:

    I have been present at one of these events on Southern India. It truly is heartbreaking to see men mutilate their bodies in an effort to please Allah. May we as God’s people, who have been redeemed through the suffering of Another, pray deeply and go passionately to see these men come to a knowledge of the truth.

  2. Nathan Carter says:

    Wow. Great truth! Where did you get this photo? I kind of looks like something from a video game.

  3. meg says:

    Upon close examination it does look like a video game Totally agree with your points, but the source is sketchy.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Do you mean that you think they’re faking, or that the whole thing is a hoax? I’ve found the story at numerous outlets, but I suppose it could be a very well-orchestrated hoax. More likely that the event is real but the activities are faked. I couldn’t say either way. Here is a link to one version of the story from Huffington Post:

  4. Kyle McDaniel says:

    “He bids me come and rest because the bloody work of justification is finished.”

    Hallelujah!! Worthy is the Lamb of God to be praised. Thank you Jesus for the cross.

  5. Nathan Carter says:

    Thanks for the link to the Huffington Post article. And thanks for this post! Amen.

  6. Melinda says:

    Two and a half years ago I was in a psych ward in Vermont because I wanted to take a chain and literally beat the wickedness out of me. I didn’t believe in a God who could forgive my sins but I knew that they deserved punishment. The night I was going to kill myself was the night that God gave me a new life in Jesus. Reaching out to the lost at home and abroad really does save lives!

  7. 4Barca1899 says:

    There are days when I have a vague glimpse of these mens love for their God. This must be a powerful kind of love.

  8. anonymous says:

    Praise be to God that He has chosen us as His very own possession. And with thanksgiving that whatever season of conviction the Holy Spirit brings to each of His own, we are absolutely assured it is always in love, for our best, to rejoice about, and never for one bit of condemnation. Who are we. He is very great!

    May He will to continue to grant salvation to many unsaved captives such as in this photo. And speaking of video games (in comments above), may He also set captures free from this addiction which is damaging lives and relationships.

  9. Blue Collar Todd says:

    How about here in America…

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Jared C. Wilson

Jared C. Wilson is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont. You can follow him on Twitter.

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