Meditations for the Lenten Season— Part Four



Did he ponder Isaac
Whilst hanging on the cross
A last second substitution
Just before all was lost?

Is this why he cried out
‘My God, My God’ so loud
Showing disappointment
Before a hostile crowd?

Where’s God’s intervention,
Offering another lamb
Or would He be passed over
A dangling great I AM?

Abandoned but begotten
Left to face his fate?
Would help arrive in ‘nick of time’
Or would it come too late?

Where’s the lamb, asked Isaac
And told ‘God will provide’
But Jesus died in plain sight
No place for grace to hide.

Jesus, like old Isaac
An only begotten son,
Isaac was no substitute
But Jesus was the one.

We like sheep have gone astray
Unblemished lambs we’re not
God led the One to slaughter
The Passover he’d begot.

Offering isn’t ‘finished’
Until the sacrifice
For any true atonement
Blood shed must suffice.

Behold the Lamb of God
Who takes away our sin
God accepts no substitutes
For Jesus, in the end.

Anyone who says he fully understands what happened to Jesus on the cross has just made very clear that he or she does not fully understand it. The truth about Jesus’s death on the cross, is not so easily nailed down— so to speak. For one thing, there are so many different angles to this death. On the one hand, from the point of view of Roman Law, there was no miscarriage of justice. Jesus was indeed guilty of treason, even if he only indirectly claimed to be the King of the Jews. But human laws are one thing, and the mind and Law of God another. From another point of view, Jesus’ death was a human tragedy, his life cut off much too soon, and at the instigation of some of his fellow Jews who should have appreciated his attempts to call God’s people to repentance and preparation for a judgment that did indeed fall on Jerusalem in A.D. 70. This poem is told from Jesus’ point of view, and how he may have thought about his own premature demise. From a theological point one may even ask— Did Jesus quote Ps. 22.1 because for the first time he was experiencing our alienation from God, one who had never previously experienced separation from the Father? It is interesting that in Mark, this is the only time Jesus addresses God simply as ‘God’. Then of course there is also the centurion’s viewpoint, portrayed very differently in Mk. 15.39 (which may have originally mean ‘surely this is a son of the gods’ if it was a pagan observing the noble way Jesus’ died without cursing his executioners or his God), and in Luke we have ‘surely this was a righteous man’ (Lk. 23.47). What of course is important for us individually, is how we view this death on the cross and what different that singular historical event makes for our lives today.

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