“’Tis But a Scratch”

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“For I consider the sufferings of this present time as unworthy of comparison to the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

There is a scene in the classic comedy “Monte Python and the Holy Grail” where the Black Knight must prevent anyone from crossing a certain bridge by engaging them in battle.  Unfortunately, this is the very bridge that King Arthur must cross to continue in his quest for the Holy Grail.  The sword fight begins, and it’s soon clear that the Knight is outmatched as he loses an arm to a mighty blow from the king.  The Knight, however, is unfazed, and continues the fight.  The king expresses amazement to the Knight, telling him he’s lost, he’s missing an arm.  The Knight responds to the king with the now timeless words, “’Tis but a scratch.”

King Arthur reluctantly continues the fight, systematically dismembering the knight.  With each lost limb, the knight responds with another dismissive phrase.  This scene of absurdist British comedy is seen from the perspective of King Arthur:  this foolish knight was delusional to keep fighting.  The viewer’s perspective show’s further pointlessness in this battle.  The “bridge” is little more than a wooden plank over a rivulet of water around a foot wide and an inch or so deep.  King Arthur could have easily avoided the confrontation, simply bypassing the knight’s bridge, going a little way up or downstream, and stepping over the water.

From Arthur’s perspective, the knight was absurd.  From the viewer’s perspective, both men were absurd; the battle was unnecessary.  From Monty Python’s perspective, the absurdity was the point.  But have you considered the perspective of the Black Knight?  What was he thinking?  Now, John Cleese and Graham Chapman, the men who portrayed the Black Knight and King Arthur and members of Monty Python, might very well consider me absurd for finding a Biblical life lesson in their film, but this is what I gleaned.

Perhaps the Knight was thinking of his master, the one who appointed him to this task.  Perhaps this master was great and generous, promising to reward his servant well beyond any injury suffered.  I submit that this perspective is vital for living as a follower of Christ.

It is clear that every person suffers through life on this earth.  We live in a fallen world and experience the consequences of our own sins.  God compounds this for His children by promising two things.  One, He disciplines those he loves.  (Hebrews 12:4-11) Two, all who follow Christ will suffer persecution.  (John 15:18-20)

However, God also promises to reward his faithful children far beyond what they suffer.  Romans 8:18, Matthew 5:11-12, I Corinthians 3:10-14, Colossians 3:23-24, Hebrews 11

So then, what’s your perspective?  When suffering comes, and it will come, from little annoyances such as the paper cut, all the way to injury, disease, physical and sexual assault, persecution, chronic pain, loss of loved ones, injustice, death, and on and on, what is your response?  Do you look to Jesus, to the promises of God and say:

“’Tis but a scratch?”

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