Last night after dinner, Sam and I and some friends were discussing the eternal perspective of communion and Christmas and Easter. And all of us came to the conclusion that the eternal perspective is not a point of view that we often think about, or hear about. Why is that? As I finished up my tasks for the evening and headed off to bed our conversation made me that much more grateful for the sacrifice that Jesus made. To think that the Son of God would willingly trade eternal glory for limited glory, all because of love. I mean, think about how amazing that sacrifice had to be for him.
His father comes to him one day and says something to the effect of, “What am I gonna do about this mess on Earth? I mean, look at all those people down there, wishing, hoping, working, striving so hard to be my people, and yet all they can seem to do right is sin. It makes me so mad, and yet sad at the same time. I can’t believe my creation is so hard-hearted, and headed straight for hell. I wanted something so much better for them…”
Jesus must have contemplated these remarks for a while – who wouldn’t? When God talks, most folks tend to sit up and listen. After a few minutes of consideration, Jesus might have responded with something like, “I see exactly what you mean. It’s as if their hearts are hell-bent on destruction, and they don’t even know it. So what can we do in order to make things right? These humans are like the Keystone Cops of all your creation – they screw everything up. Even the simple sacrificial system you established isn’t working for them, and I thought that was a straight-forward and fool-proof plan. What other routes can we take with these people?”
God turns away from Jesus a bit and stares out across the shores of the sea, into the distance; knowing what ultimately has to happen, but will his only Son go for it? Will he willingly offer himself up for the job? And how could he even consider asking his only child to become the once for all time sacrifice for this creation of his. Truly, he could just destroy the whole lot of them and start over again with something that’s infallible. The tears begin to well up in the corners of his eyes as he see the events playing out in his mind. The humiliation. The suffering. The pain. The beatings. The thorns and spikes. Even though it would only be a few hours of torture for his Son, it would feel like an eternity for them both. And what if, at the last minute, Jesus decided he couldn’t go through it. God knew he wouldn’t, but still that thought nagged at the back of his mind….Jesus would be fully human after all, and so often the human composure faltered under extreme pressure. And this situation he was willing to send his Son into would be a complete pressure cooker for sure.
Turning back toward Jesus he spoke low and slow, “There is a way, but it will be too hard, too painful, too humiliating. It will require an entire commitment – right to the very end. And when the end comes, I can’t help in any way, shape, or form. After the death of the body there will be darkness, and cold, and silence for several days…and I can’t be there either….”
As the Father’s words sunk deep into Jesus’ mind, he knew that there was only one Being in all heaven who could accomplish this task. The angels couldn’t do it obviously, or his Father would have sent them already. Even Michael, the great archangel, in all his strength could not carry this job out to completion successfully – for he did not have love for humanity. Jesus knew there was only one way, one man, one plan. But could he carry this burden himself? Could he stay the course if he gave up his celestial powers and put on that same, faulty skin that man wore? Would he be strong enough to endure the pain and humiliation that was ultimately to come? And was this sacrifice — this human race — worth the limited glory he’d have for all eternity? He was after all the very Son of God – God himself – unlimited Holy power, and he knew that if he chose to become this sacrificial lamb he’d wear scars forever. He needed to think about it hard before giving his Father an answer……
To be continued……………………