Apr 10, 2009
The events of these hours, with such stark and vivid brutality, so excruciating, are yet filled with a poignancy and tenderness. We enter as distant observers, removed by millennia of time, distant geography and unfamiliar culture. But most acutely, we are observers of the hinge point in all of human history. For these very hours Jesus became incarnate. During these six agonizing turns of the clock salvation was being accomplished. So stand on tiptoes and watch as your life and mine is being paid for. Read the words slowly and digest them carefully. Let them sink down into your heart.
So much of what Jesus endured on the cross is simply unfathomable by our finite minds, but perhaps the most incomprehensible is His utter abandonment. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” We know that Jesus is quoting from Psalm 22, which was written with Him in view centuries before. But consider this: the Son was being cut off from the Father in that moment; a severing of the relationship that they had delighted in from eternity past. Complete and utter aloneness as the sins of all- my sins and yours- are being paid for, borne by Jesus.
In our day many are uncomfortable around talk of the wrath of God: we like to emphasize His love, His grace. But grace is surely cheapened if God’s rightful anger at sin, at injustice, at evil is minimized. God’s holiness demands a holy wrath directed towards sin. And on the cross, Jesus is the recipient of the full measure of the wrath of God- all poured out on Him. Truly a horror beyond our worst imagining. Perhaps the horrific physical suffering is meant to paint for us a picture of the inner torment and pain- a small taste, at least.
And He endures all of this- all of this- for you and I, in obedience to His Father, to the unending glory of God. As the song says, “Here is love, vast as the ocean.”
Today, simply allow the Spirit to lead you towards Jesus and His cross. Stand as near as you are able. Look up at the Lamb of God as He takes away the sins of the world. Allow your response-praise, awe, wonder– to be prompted by Him.
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