No doubt, you have seen the news: The pope is resigning. The headline from Reuters reads: “Pope Benedict stunned the Roman Catholic Church on Monday when he announced he would stand down, the first pope to do so in 700 years, saying he no longer had the mental and physical strength to carry on.”
Some of my preaching brethren have used this difficult time for the Catholic religion to kick Catholicism, “while it is down.” And, to be fair, there are probably some lessons to be learned and some teaching that can be done. But let’s not forget an approach which is commanded by Christ: pray for others.
If you believe that certain Catholic teachings are contrary to the bible, then you have an obligation to pray for them and for their fallen leader – Matthew 5:44. This pope is exhausted! He lacks the “mental and physical strength to carry on.” I am not sure that the same people who are writing nasty Facebook and blog comments about his misfortune would walk into someone’s hospital room and say, “serves you right” (at least I hope not!)
Frankly, it is amazing that he, or any pope, can maintain their mental and physical strength in the role they have chosen. Think about it this way: the pope sits in a seat which is said to represent the throne of God, speaking ex cathedra (from the chair) with perfect inerrancy. He is alleged to be the head of the Catholic (meaning, “Universal”) church. I can’t imagine the mental and physical exhaustion it would put on a mere man to try to sit in the place of God.
The bible teaches that Jesus is the only one capable of sitting in that seat! [Ephesians 1:22 (God appointed); Ephesians 5:23 (the head); Colossians 1:18 (His body); Hebrews 8:1 (sat down at the right hand); Revelation 5:1,7 (on the throne)]. Unfortunately, a sad road of mental and physical exhaustion lies ahead for any man who would try to sit in Jesus’ throne. Why not rather let God be God and man be man. He has given us His holy word and His cleansing blood. Isn’t that enough? I pray that no man would try to take that on, and I pray for anyone who tries.