Tag Archives: Crucifixion

Finished

The first line is heart-wrenching, but it is what comes next that really blows your mind.  You are familiar with Jesus’ cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  But hold His horrible crucifixion in mind and ponder these lines from the same psalm He was quoting – Psalm 22:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” (Psalm 22:1)

“All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: “He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”” (Psalm 22:7-8)

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.” (Psalm 22:14-15)

“Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” (Psalm 22:16-18)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wonder if, when Jesus cried out the first words of that ancient psalm He intended for us to think through the whole of it.  It seems likely when you see how specifically it foretells the agony of the cross.  Read through the whole of it and you will be more amazed.  But that possibility becomes more likely when you consider the astonishing and wonderful way that psalm concludes:

“You who fear the Lord, praise him!…For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” (Psalm 22:23a & 24)

“The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the Lord will praise himmay your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn— for he has done it. (Psalm 22:26-31)

“It is finished!!!”

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
“Father Forgive Them” – Original oil painting by Ann Maree Beaman (www.annmareebeaman.com)

Amazing Love, How Can it Be?

Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
(Isaiah 53:4-6 )

If you can include yourself as one of those who have “turned our own way,” who have “gone astray,” then Jesus loved you and paid the punishment you owe.

The Gift

A friend told me of an elderly woman who spoke a brief but powerful message at his church.  She stood at the pulpit and said, “I would like to read a verse in the Bible you have probably never heard –  It’s John 3:16.”  Everyone laughed, since that verse is one of the most well known verses in Scripture.  Sunday school children can rattle it off by memory with lighting speed.   The people thought, “She’s joking; John 3:16 is the verse held up behind the goalposts, for heaven’s sake; of course we’ve heard it.”  Undeterred, the woman began to read: “For God so loved the world, that He gave…”  But at that point in her reading, her throat became constricted, there was a catch in her voice, and she had to stop to pull herself together.  She inhaled that jerky breath of intense sorrow.  Her eyes rimmed red.  She started again: “For God so loved the world that He….  (sob)…   that He gave…   (silent pause, clearing of throat)…  He gave His one and only Son…”   At that point she could not go on.  Her chest was heaving as she tried to take control of her emotions.  A tear snaked its way down her cheek.  She leaned over and fiercely glared at the text in the Bible, unsuccessfully willing herself to stop weeping.  And then, one by one, people in the congregation began to weep with her.  They began to “hear” this verse and to understand the profound generosity and the horrible cost represented by those simple words: “He gave His one and only Son.”  Soon the whole congregation was gripped by the shocking enormity  conveyed in that verse.  Tears flowed, noses were blown.   The old woman just waited.  And then, she closed her Bible and sat back down.  They had “heard” it.

How can God be loving and forgiving and at the same time be perfectly just?  How can He forgive our sins without also demanding the just punishment for them?  He gradually revealed to Isaiah what He would do to reconcile the apparent conflict between perfect love and perfect justice.  He told Isaiah:

“…For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given…” (Isaiah 9:6a)

The word, given, means given over.  Like a mother who stands by the bus and gives her son over to basic training.   In the marriage ceremony, the pastor asks, “Who gives this woman…”   The parents let go of their child and give her over.   Young women make the heroic choice to bear a child, and then, knowing their own inability to provide for that child, give him over for adoption.   Gifts, in the truest sense, have no strings.  They are given over, forever.  In giving His Son, God takes His hands off, removes His shield of protection.  He gives Jesus – to us.  

God gave Jesus over to whatever would happen to Him in this world.  You know what happened.  In that Gift, God accomplished love and justice.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  (Isaiah 53:5-6)