Galatians 2:20 20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
I feel as though we just finished the Advent season and Holy Week is upon us. Good Friday is in two days and Easter Sunday is coming! Still, with the cold weather and relative close proximity between Advent and Easter this year, I want to see the events of Holy Week, particularly the death of Jesus on the cross, through the lens of the incarnation we just considered during Advent.
If the mystery of the incarnation is overwhelming to me when I contemplate it very long, how must it have been for Mary? For Joseph? If the idea of the perfect Christ coming to bear my sins on the cross, to take the punishment I deserved, is astounding to me, what was it like for Mary and Joseph? I am not sure how much they understood from the ancient prophecies regarding their son, but certainly they knew from the great heavenly messengers who spoke to them, the strange visitors who came to see Jesus, and the unusual interest the King had in the birth of boys in Bethlehem, that something was seriously important about their Son. After all, they understood His supernatural personality just from His conception. For a parent to look upon their little baby and imagine his future suffering would be exceedingly difficult.
For me, as a father of young children, I cannot imagine the future of one of my children to be so agonizing. For the most part my sons are still at the age where they enjoy cuddling and hugging. I make AJ (my oldest) promise he'll never be too cool for daddy to give him hugs. My youngest is five and while still cuddly, he's kind of lost that baby fat cuddliness he had when still a toddler. I do miss that baby stage my boys were all once in. One of the things I enjoyed most about my boys when they were very small was holding their relatively helpless selves and hugging and kissing them all over their little pudgy faces. I also like to sit them on my lap and just look and handle their cute little baby-soft hands and feet. I remember when each of the boys started to figure out how to use their hands, yet still struggled just to pick up an animal cracker. None of their feet or hands bore any scars nor were they calloused or rough in any way. There was a sense of innocence and purity on their little baby bodies that even a few years of boyhood scrapes and scabs have taken away.
As a father, I look upon my little sons and cannot imagine their bodies being torn. I cannot imagine those hands bearing spikes through the wrists. I cannot imagine their little feet with a spike driven through them. I look at their little tummies and chests and cannot bear the thought of a spearhead piercing between their ribs and puncturing their lungs. Yet, at some level, Mary and Joseph must have understood some of these things lay in the future of their beloved Son, who was just a little baby. This week, Friday especially, I'll be contemplating a truly profound subject- the atoning work of Christ. I've never done it before, but this year I'm really thinking about the whole of Jesus' life leading to those hours on the cross. It's another angle of an amazing story to consider.
Jesus was someone's earthly son, and He was torn to save his parents and us.