Friday, April 14, 2006


I like to fix things. Whether it be the sagging picnic table, a skinned knee, an underperforming coworker, or my marriage, I take pride in identifying the sources of problems and implementing workable solutions.

Look at how God addressed the problem of sin. He longs for us to be intimate with him, so much that it literally kills him when he is faced with our rejection and our hate.

I speak this in the first person, but you'll find it applies to you as well: I was a commoner in the crowd when Pontius Pilate asked if he should release Jesus or Barabbas, and I asked for Barabbas. "Crucify the Nazarene!" I demanded.

I was a soldier who punched Jesus in the gut while he was blindfolded, and I mocked him, "Prophesy! Who was it that struck you?" I laughed at him, I spit on him, I made him bleed with my cruelty.

I was a passerby on the road past Golgotha who saw this "King of the Jews" hanging with criminals, and I couldn't restrain a smirk.

I denied him three times, and wept bitterly.

I betrayed him. With a kiss.

There was no evil done to the Son of God that I did not participate in. I killed Jesus. All of us who have sinned have openly rejected the incarnate God, and have put him to death in an attempt to assuage our guilty consciences.

This is not some anonymous hot dog vendor we have scorned - this is God, the Creator of Life, the awesome, powerful, terrifying Yahweh.

Psalm 46 says (v. 9-11, NAB):

Come! behold the deeds of the Lord,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth:
He has stopped wars to the end of the earth:
the bow he breaks; he splinters the spears;
he burns the shields with fire.
Desist! and confess that I am God,
exalted among the nations, exalted upon the earth.

Other translations end by saying, "Be still, and know that I am God."

When we think of "being still and knowing that he is God," we are usually prompted to think of a quiet, mystical connection to him, yet the Psalmist here is hammering in the fact of a God of violence and anger, and we are clearly to be stunned into silence and divine awareness by the exhibition of his sheer power.

It's more of a "shut up and listen" than anything.

Yet today, Good Friday, God directs that violence and anger at himself; at his own incarnate begetting. God had failed to keep our attention for any length of time by sending prophets, so he knew he had to throw a divine wrench in the machine of humanity's self-destruction.

Jesus has incurred the wrath of God, and because God is Love, he has triumphed over it.

That's what the crucifixion was about: God is telling Creation to drop everything and take note of him. The sky blackens. The earth splits. The dead arise. The veil is torn. Mankind just got slapped out of its madness by the sacrificial love of Christ.

God has addressed the problem of sin. He never stopped longing for intimacy with us, even while we were torturing him. He knew it was our weakness that prevented that intimacy, and he knew how to make it work again. We were broken, and he has fixed us.

He has fixed me. He still loves me!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, but must be on topic. Spam, hateful/obscene remarks, and shameless self-promotion will be unceremoniously deleted. Well, OK, I might put on a little ceremony when I delete them.