Sunday, April 8, 2012

He Is Risen...and it matters!

Scene from The Passion of the Christ
Years ago I was watching a tv reenactment of Jesus on the cross. The crowd was, as in the biblical account, taunting, accusing, jeering, ignorantly cursing the dying savior. Unlike the biblical account, however, a change came over "Jesus'" face from quiet suffering to profound disgust. He pulled his bloodied hands and feet away from the cross, stepped down and pushed his way through the stone silent crowd!

I remember being quite shocked at the scene, but coming away with a much deeper appreciation of what He did not only by staying on the cross in the midst of the physical as well as mental & emotional pain, but by continuing to care, continuing to believe in His father that this really mattered when it apparently didn't matter to anyone else!

I do wonder, though, if there was a brief moment of frustration, doubt, and fear that may have gripped Him as no human being had ever been gripped, for, as MacDonald points out, "the more delicate the nature, the more alive to all that is lovely and true, lawful and right, the more it feels the antagonism of pain, the inroad of death upon life, the more dreadful the breach of the harmony of things whose sound is torture. He felt more than man could feel because He had a larger feeling."

"My God, My God why have you forsaken Me?" may have been that moment. When the vision of the Perfect Will slipped from his consciousness, tortured beyond feeling and blinded by the fog of uncertainty. The moment when the thought occurred, inspired by the Accuser, who, seizing the moment for one last chance to tempt the Son of God to turn from His Father, that maybe all this really didn't matter. It certainly didn't appear to matter to the people casting their hatred at him; did it really matter to his Father? And if it didn't matter to the Father, what in the world was he doing on this cursed cross?

I don't think he thought that the Father forgot him; I really don't think the Father turned away from him, because of his bearing our sin, for is it not more like God to draw closer to us in our weakest moments, even if we cannot see or feel Him? But, like Job, there comes a time when we who have committed ourselves to God for His purposes and try our best to do what He asks us, just wonder if any of it really matters. The moment when we lose sight of the Perfect Will. 

I had one of those moments the other day as I was looking through some old ministry files. Father, I really don't understand why you asked me to do these things, I really don't see any results, I really don't see that it mattered...

Perfect Will. We must come to believe that with every molecule in our being far beyond our limited understanding, beyond any feelings of abandonment, hurt, disappointment, pain. 

Perfect Obedience. We must give ourselves to live for him far beyond our limited abilities. Giving a cup of water to a child because Jesus wants us to...matters.

The cross matters...because we matter!