God doesn’t mind our brooding, aching questions. This week as I continued to ponder the darkness, I felt as if I were taken by the hand, behind the curtain, into the depths of the darkness. I comprehended in a deeper way why Jesus had to become a human being, why God become a baby, went through all we must to walk and talk and learn, and suffer. Why he had to spend so much time talking with his father. He wasn’t simply God in a transformer body-disguise. He really was a man. A man with choices.
YD talks a lot with her children about making good choices. Not much of right and wrong, obedience and disobedience. Not so much the rules and no-nos. “Did you make good choices?” she will ask to elicit a heart response from the child who obviously didn’t.
Jesus grew up with choices just like we do. Since he was also God, I think he had the God-awareness that made it possible for him to grab on to his father when the choices were hard.
When his cousin John lost his head.
When he saw in the eyes of Judas his betrayal was in place. And knew all his friends would leave him.
When he cried in the garden for a way out.
It really was his choice, a man deciding, every moment, to say ‘no’ to himself and ‘yes’ to his father.
When he broke apart the bread at their Passover Seder, his last meal with his close friends, he knew the depth of our brokenness, and what that tearing would cost him.
As he offered the cup it was no polished chalice he had in mind.
It was his own blood, drop by drop, poured out on our dry and thirsty world.
The last night in the garden, he looked into the darkness. In his agony of soul, he knew he must walk there.
Release his father’s hand and go alone into the pit of evil.
He chose well, but it cost him.
Oh, how it cost him.
Cut off, by his “good choice” he gave up the light of the world.
Jesus hung on the cross and the world went dark for three hours.
For the first time since he was conscious of his own life as a human being, he felt totally alone.
He walked into the darkness of the sin of the world. Of the vilest and worst.
He didn’t just see it. He felt it. He “bore it upon himself.”
During those dark hours on the cross
He became sin.
The bullies at the bus stop, or in the home
The little ones abused by their father or another trusted friend or relative
The runaways trafficked for profit, purposely hooked on drugs so they have no exit
The parents losing their temper, again, this time throwing their baby across the room
All those babies, never knowing love or protection, experiencing only violence, and if they survive, becoming violence.
Alcoholics, drug addicts, food addicts, porn addicts, video game addicts, control addicts, religion addicts . . . all those who life focus is skewed and drained and draining, committing slow death and stealing life from those around them
The diseases destroying bodies or brains, and the hearts of those who love them
The slums of the world, teaming with hopelessness, one miserable wretch preying on another
All the sickness, hurt, pain, injury, violence, torment, greed, envy, jealousy, selfishness, pride, arrogance . . . and death.
Can you even imagine the weight of it?
When he cried, “It is finished!” he proclaimed the end of the power of darkness to destroy us.
Because he went into the darkness, and came out of the tomb, not one of us ever has to walk alone.
There is no place on this earth, no life too far from the presence of the risen Jesus.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
on him, on him.
Isaiah 53:3-6, The Message