There’s More To The Cross Than The Cross
The only problem I have with this is that if it were just about spilling innocent and sinless blood Jesus could have been taken out in the story so much easier and so much more anonymously. He could have, for example, simply been extinguished with the swipe of a sword from Herod’s soldiers as they rampaged through the region attempting genocide on children two years old and below. Had they gotten to Jesus his innocent, sinless blood would have been shed.
Perhaps the cross is telling us a lot more about God than we might think.
The wide arc of the Bible is the long story of God with us. If you take people out of the Bible you don’t really have much. If you take God out of the Bible you also have very little. Because the history and poetry and prophecy and letters are all telling a story that can only lead us to believe that God in all His endlessness is endlessly trying to pursue a connectedness to His creation. He seems to want to be with us. He seems to want the connection. Perhaps the greatest mystery in all of this is why?
Maybe it’s much more profound and simple than we let it be. Maybe it’s just because He loves us and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Maybe He loves us enough that after working through every conceivable and cultural attempt at reminding us of who we are and who He is He actually comes to us as one of us…..and He stays.
The Jesus story has to be more than just a sinless Godman coming to brutally die. He could have died differently. Jesus stayed. And as we watch the narratives in the Gospels unfold we begin to see a person that we fall in love with but beneath all of that we begin to see the grit and grime of humanity under His fingernails.
Jesus was born to an unwed mother. Jesus learned to talk while His family was on the run like refugees. Jesus grew up learning how to survive and struggle. Jesus continually had His identity attacked. Jesus had to defend Himself. Jesus was kind and popular but made plenty of enemies. Jesus had people undermining Him constantly and plotting against Him. Jesus suffered the emotional pain of betrayal. Jesus suffered the brutality of lies and false accusations being screamed into His face like an abusive husband or wife or parent. Jesus was physically abused. Jesus was emotionally abused. Jesus was tortured. Jesus was executed. Jesus died.
For all of the good and beautiful moments in Jesus life, He also faced the dark side of humanity fully. And if Jesus is God, then this is God we’re talking about here. God experienced these things.
Maybe Jesus hanging from that cross and gasping for breath tells us a lot more about God than we ever realized. Perhaps it’s a final statement. An indelible mark on humanity. Maybe God is telling us through Jesus that there is nothing that we can ever face or endure that He doesn’t have deep and intimate experience with personally.
And maybe it’s time to turn back from the things that are destroying us and look to the cross and remember this. God knows. He knows more about being a human than any of us who are alive right now. He knows what it’s like to suffer and die young. Many of us have been suffering plenty. Perhaps it’s time to stop blaming Him. Maybe He didn’t do it. Maybe we did. Maybe humanity is the culprit. Because if humanity can nail an innocent person to a cross after savaging Him then maybe we’re more to blame for the suffering than God would ever be. Maybe it’s time to let all that go. Because it’s only in the death of something that the resurrection of something is even possible.
May we leave behind what has kept us from Jesus and join Him in His resurrection that we might finally live again.