This is my last post until Easter. I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the week.
But, I wanted to leave you with something that has meant so much to my hurting heart over the last few weeks since we buried our precious son. This is one of my favorite pictures ever painted of what happened that day long ago on the cross. It’s so good I hand-typed it for you. These words are from the book “When God Weeps.”
I am praying that the Lord will use them to speak to your heart as we move towards the Bad Friday that made Easter so very good.
We come unto the scene just as Jesus’ trial is finished…
“By the time the spitting is through, more saliva is on him than in him. No longer can he be recognized. “Cut him down from the post. Send him toting his crossbar to the playground.” Up Skull Hill to the welcome of other poorly paid legionnaires enjoying themselves.
“On your back with you!” One raises a mallet to sink in the spike. But the soldier’s heart must continue pumping as he readies the prisoner’s wrist. Someone must sustain the solider’s life minute by minute, for no man has this power on his own. Who supplies breath to his lungs? Who gives energy to his cells? Who holds his molecules together? Only by the Son do “all things hold together,” (Colossians 1:17). The victim wills that the solider live on- he grants the warrior’s continued existence. The man swings.
As the man swings, the Son recalls how he and the Father first designed the medial nerve of the human forearm- the sensations it would be capable of. The design proves flawless- the nerve performs exquisitely. “Up you go!” They lift the cross. God is on display in his underwear, and can scarcely breath.
But these pains are a mere warm-up to his other and growing dread. He begins to feel a foreign sensation. Somewhere during this day an unearthly foul odor begins to waft, not around his nose, but his heart. He feels dirty. Human wickedness starts to crawl upon his spotless being- the living excrement from our souls. The apple of his Father’s eye turns brown with rot.
His Father! He must face his Father like this!
From heaven the Father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes his mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross. Never has the Son seen the Father look at him so, never felt even the least of His hot breath. But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognize these eyes.
“Son of Man!” Why have you behaved so? You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped- murdered, envied, hated, lied. You have cursed, robbed, overspent, overeaten- fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh, the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned. Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name! Have you ever held your razor tongue? What a self-righteous pitiful drunk- you, who molest young boys, peddle killer drugs, travel in cliques, and mock your parents. Who gave you the boldness to rig elections, foment revolutions, torture animals, and worship demons? Does the list never end? Splitting families, raping virgins, acting smugly, playing the pimp-buying politicians, practicing extortion, filming pornography, accepting bribes. You have burned down buildings, perfected terrorist tactics, founded false religions, traded in slaves- relishing each morsel and bragging about it all. I hate, I loathe these things in you! Disgust for everything about you consumes me! Can you not feel my wrath?”
Of course the Son is innocent. He is blamelessness itself. The Father knows this. But the divine pair have an agreement, and the unthinkable must now take place. Jesus will be treated as if personally responsible for every sin ever committed.
The Father watches as his heart’s treasure, the mirror-image of Himself, sinks drowning into raw, liquid sin. Jehovah’s stored rage against humankind from every century explodes in a single direction.
“Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?!”
But heaven stops its ears. The Son stares up at the One who cannot, who will not, reach down or reply.
The Trinity had planned it. The Son endured it. The Spirit enabled him. The Father rejected the Son whom he loved.
Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, perished. The Father accepted his sacrifice for sin and was satisfied. The Rescue was accomplished.
God set down his saw.
This is who asks us to trust him when he calls on us to suffer.”
I read these words through tears. This actually happened. And for me. I still struggle constantly with why we had to suffer the loss of our precious son. But I know in my heart that the cross is God’s best reason for why I can trust Jesus in a world so broken by sin that even babies die. I will never get to live life with my baby boy the way I wanted to this side of Heaven. It will be a permanent wound. But Jesus has healed me from terminal soul cancer on the cross. The cross proves just how much God understands the sting of death and the weight of humanity’s suffering from sin. And in His deep love Jesus took all of that upon Himself.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” -2 Corinthians 5:21
Grateful for the cross and glad the tomb was empty,