Tuesday, March 18, 2008

From the Cradle to the Cross

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.


Rick Calohan said...

John just turned three weeks old yesterday. Three weeks of my life, that has changed my world. When he is 33, I shall be by His Providence be 74 years old. John is a healthy and strong nine pounds, and while almost all say he looks like me here or there or like my wife here and there, when I see his face, I see the face of God. For God created everything, including my son, therefore everything is His, including my son. I am just his earthly father. Therefore, I shall raise my son in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, whom is our Heavenly Father.

I am 41 years old now, much older than Joseph and Mary, yet like you Tony, to know that God’s will was to have His only begotten Son to be mocked, falsely convicted, beaten, force to carry his cross to his death, the same begotten Son whom days earlier rode in Jerusalem on a donkey, with the crowds shouting Hosanna were now shouting we have no king but Cesar, Crucify Him! The same begotten Son, whom I was blessed to hold in my arms, to feed him, to burp him, to change him, to teach him so many things, I could not imagine nor bare the thought had it been my son, unless knowing all along it was God’s only Begotten Son.

It took a Holy, Sovereign, Loving, Merciful and Just God, to regenerate Joseph and Mary by the Holy Spirit to give them the faith to accept God’s Eternal Decrees. That God’s plan in order to restore His people after the fall in order to save them from wrath and justice they and we deserve was to have His only begotten Son to bare our sins so that we may be justified in the Lamb.

His Son to bare our sins so that His Chosen could be Saved; Only a Holy, Sovereign, Loving, Merciful, and Just God could allow Joseph and Mary and those He has drawn to Him to accept the Life, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To understand that it was necessary so that we one day may look upon the face of such a Holy God!

The Messiah, The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, who restored and renewed our relationship with such a Holy, Sovereign, Loving, Merciful, and Just God.

As it is written:

Galatians 4: 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

So Shall It Be Done!

Frontier Forest said...

Pastor Tony, two days will mark the third Good Friday for us at Redeemer. I will never forget the powerful message you brought that first Good Friday in 2005. You painted a vivid mental picture of what it must have been like during that most Holy day of the Passover Feast. Pilgrims, by the thousands, crowding the streets of Jerusalem, bringing their best lambs to be offered as an incomplete, sacrifice for sin. The vast amount of blood flowing from the Mercy Seat to the streets. The once clean garments, worn by the religious leaders, now covered in spilled blood from the innocent offerings. Then what Jesus must have thought as HE prepared Himself, and served the disciple for the first Lord’s Supper. Knowing all of the busyness, and the goings on in the streets, His vicarious sufferings imminently before Him. Then tying all these sights to an image of the ultimate and perfect sacrifice, His own innocent blood being spilled for my evil sins! And our peace, knowing that the finished work of Redemption, now and forever complete, has been paid in full. O’ the Joy of Good Friday and the Victory of Easter!