My friend Stephanie sent this to me in an email today, and she gave me permission to post it here. We attend the same Sunday school class, and our teacher revealed a very important truth last week. It was something that I had never really thought about, and I thought that Stephanie put it perfectly.
I often say that those who truly grasp the magnitude of what Christ did on the cross, cannot help but impulsively respond with a lifetime of overwhelming awe, gratitude, and praise. I thought I truly grasped the magnitude of what Christ did... until today when the Good Teacher used a good teacher to open my eyes to something that pierced my heart to the very core. I wanted to share it with you ... that you too might grasp the magnitude of what Christ did, if you haven't already, and if this is old news to you, that you might share my joy with fresh eyes and be reminded of the beauty of the work of Christ.
It was like I knew what 2 was, and I knew what 3 was, but I didn't put together that 2+3=5. Before today I knew that before Jesus was taken by the Roman soldiers, He prayed to the Father to "take this cup from Me, nevertheless not what I will, but what You will" I knew that He was burdened about what was getting ready to happen to him to the very point of sweating drops of blood. I also knew that on the cross Jesus bore the wrath of God for every sin of those who trust Him ... past, present and future.
However, I always thought it was the process of being crucified that Jesus was "scared" about in the garden, and asking God to take from him.... which would be completely understandable. Jesus, in his human body felt every ounce of pain that was inflicted upon him. We see beautiful portaits of Jesus hanging on the cross that do the horrific death by crucifixion no justice at all. He was beaten UNRECOGNIZABLE. His face was badly bruised and swollen, his flesh and muscles and tendons were dangling from his body in places. His death was slow, agonizing, and torturous. We have no concept or point of reference to begin to even fathom the truthful reality of the suffering. And to top it all off, those who participated in crucifying Him HATED Him. They enjoyed seeing Him suffer... and all of his friends deserted Him.
You know, we have it so good. We start out separated from God, so if He never sees fit to bring us to faith, it's almost like we don't know what we're missing. Once we have been brought to faith, He promises nothing will ever separate us from His love... JESUS on the other hand, is co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit. There was NEVER a point, NEVER, not even in his humanness that He wasn't enjoying full intimate communion with God... But the wages of sin is death and what is death but separation from God? What I did not grasp until today is that when Jesus bore the wrath of God on behalf of sinners, that He was SEPARATED from God for the first time in all eternity. Somehow I did not realize that God wasn't still with Jesus, helping him "get through it". In the garden, knowing full well ALL of what was getting ready to happen, Jesus understood that being separated from the God for ANY amount of time, even for a split second, was FAR WORSE than all the mockery, horrific suffering, and human desertion he would endure in his last moments. Being deserted by God is the cup that Jesus was asking God to take from Him, what He was burdened by to the point of sweating blood. If you read the accounts in the gospels, you find that through all of the torture, Jesus kept silent. He never cried out in pain, never cursed his murderers. It wasn't until he felt the impact of being separated from God by our sin that He cried out in a loud voice, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?"
But it's what had to happen in order to justify loving little old ME, some sinner going on with my daily routine 2000 years later in Oklahoma, USA, North America, World, Universe. How else could I respond but a spend a lifetime in praise and gratitude and bible research, satisfying my curiosity of this Jesus that would do such a thing for someone like me? Guess you could say God blind-sided my blind-sightedness today. I can only pray I'll never be the same for it.