Monday, April 23, 2007

Why I love country music

In case you don't recognize him, the speaker is Jeff "You might be a redneck if..." Foxworthy.

(Disclaimer: I was raised up on both kinds of music: Country, and Western.)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Jesus' Last Parable

"My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?"

It is no accident that Jesus quoted Psalm 22 as he was dying. It gives us an important clue about what really happened on the Cross.

You see, the Crucifixion was Jesus' final parable. While Jesus' agony was horrible, how could a few hours of suffering - even scourging and crucifixion - possibly begin to atone for the sins of billions? The simple answer is, it could not, and it did not.

John tells us, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning." Since before time began, Jesus and the Father had shared the closest possible communication. Their father-son bond is the envy of every parent, every child. When Jesus prayed, he always referred to God as his Father. And he prayed out loud mostly for the benefit of his disciples, because he knew that God the Father already knew his heart and mind.

When Jesus was in anguish in the Garden after the Last Supper, he cried out, "Daddy, is there any other way?"

But there *was* no other way. If there had been, would God have sent his beloved Son to the cross?

But the physical agony of the cross was only a shadow of reality. You see, as Jesus hung there in excruciating pain - beaten, bloody, mocked, reviled, humiliated, and rejected by men, "he who knew no sin *became* sin."

His chest heaving in its final spasms, Jesus looked up to His Father.

And God, the Holy One, eternally, perfectly Just and Righteous, looked down.

He did *not* see his perfect, kind, gentle, loving Son, the one in whom He was well pleased. He did *not* see the obedient child who had scampered about Joseph's workshop. He did *not* see the eager student questioning the teachers in the Temple. He did *not* see the gentle healer who gave sight to the blind, made lepers clean, and made the lame walk.

God looked down at Jesus on the Cross and saw only sin.

He saw every sin I have ever committed. Every sin you have ever committed. Every sin ever committed by every person who has ever - or who will ever - put their faith in Christ. He saw hate and anger and murder and lies and deceit and slander and sloth and lust and gluttony and envy and adultery and covetousness and idolatry.

God looked down at Sin, and turned away in disgust.

And Jesus, for the first time in all eternity, was utterly Alone. As that terrible emptiness, the full weight of God's wrath fell on him, is it any wonder that he cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

And then he said, "It is finished," because it *was* finished. There was nothing left to do but die.

So that He could rise again...