Posts Tagged ‘isaiah 53’

Jon Bloom is the President of Desiring God Ministries (only recently stepping out of the Executive Director position) and frequently writes for their blog. I was moved today and a bit redirected in my thoughts about Good Friday from his post, “Could My Tears Forever Flow?” 

One astonishing thing about the Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus is that they include almost no detail. They all simply say some form of “they crucified him.”

I’ve thought about this before especially with respect to Jesus’ flogging and the heavy focus on what happened around him, especially given how much text we are given on Jesus’ final sequence. When they flog Jesus, it’s barely given a sentence. The only place where the Bible describes his appearance at this moment is the prophecy text from Isaiah 53. Mr. Bloom asks why we don’t have more detail on his physical suffering, on the shear brutality of the crucifixion, on how it was one of the worst ways to die ever devised. The first reason Mr. Bloom offers is this: because it was simply too hard to describe, too unbelievable that He would suffer like physically as well as spiritually and mentally taking on the sin of the world. But Mr. Bloom’s second reason almost completed redirected me:

But another reason is that it is not the Son’s suffering that Father wants us primarily to see. He wants us primarily to see what the Son’s suffering accomplishes: “in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

For this reason God is not impressed if we are deeply moved over Jesus’ torment. Unbelievers are moved to tears watching The Passion of the Christ. “Could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone.” He is impressed with whether or not we believe in the gospel Jesus preached.

It is true that God the Son suffered more than we’ll ever know. And it is right to pray for softer hearts and a more profound grasp of what Jesus endured to save us. But as we survey the wondrous cross today, remember that in our worship God will not be looking for tears, he will be looking for trust.

In all my thoughts about the Cross today, have I looked at what He accomplished? Surely, God desires for us to understand the extent that He went to redeem and adopt us but Good Friday does not need to be a day of forced tears and meditation on Jesus’ pain. I remember Good Friday as a kid growing up in a more traditional church. My mom would have us take an hour of silence and quiet during the middle of the day. I respected this time immensely but you know what? I thought about what Jesus did but I had no clue what He actually accomplished. I was moved and saddened and I may have even had an idea of my sin. But I had no idea what His words meant: “It is finished!” Don’t get me wrong, I still think back to that tradition of silence around noon every Good Friday, but now it’s hard for me to be saddened for too long because that is not where Jesus calls us to dwell! Don’t miss what Jesus accomplished! Don’t miss what is finished:

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.  
(Hebrews 10:11-14 ESV)

Once for all time! It is finished! Our sin is paid for! No more trying to fake our own goodness, hoping we’ve done just enough, wallowing in failure, or giving ourselves over to our desires because we think it’s too late anyway. No more of that. Just trust Him today. I don’t think that God is looking for an emotional display today on Good Friday but your love and trust as one of his sons and daughters. Rest in confidence today. Rest in full assurance that Jesus paid it all.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:19-23 ESV)

Read the entire article from Mr. Bloom here: “Could My Tears Forever Flow?”

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A fiend had snatched from me every hope of future happiness; no creature had ever been so miserable as I was; so frightful an event is single in the history of man. But why should I dwell upon the incidents that followed this last overwhelming event? Mine has been a tale of horrors; I have reached their acme, and what I must now relate can but be tedious to you. Know that, one by one, my friends were snatched away; I was left desolate.

Frankenstein is not a book about an aloof monster slowly creeping about, freaking out people with his funny green skin, lack of intelligence, and incredible strength. It is a book about the tragedy of sin. It is a book about how you cannot run from your sin. Sin is devastating, destructive, and results in death.

The Allure of the Monster

Young chemist Frankenstein ignores his happy upbringing, his father’s counsel, the counsel of a respected elder, and his future when he gives himself over to creating the monster. Like that piece of candy sitting on the counter all day, he cannot runaway from the allure of the power of performing his own creation. Just like many of those times when we yield to a temptation, he instantly despises it all, runs away, and hopes the monster, his sin incarnate, just disappears. It does not.

“Alas! My father,” said I, “how little do you know me. Human beings, their feelings and passions, would indeed be degraded if such a wretch as I felt pride. Justine, poor unhappy Justine, was as innocent as I, and she suffered the same charge; she died for it; and I am the cause of this–I murdered her. William, Justine, and Henry–they all died by my hands.”

The Monster’s Path of Devastation

While reading this book, I kept hoping for better, hoping for things to turn around, and for him to defeat this monster and move on to a better life with his sweet, innocent, and beautiful betrothed.

They are dead, and but one feeling in such a solitude can persuade me to preserve my life. If I were engaged in any high undertaking or design, fraught with extensive utility to my fellow creatures, then could I live to fulfil it. But such is not my destiny; I must pursue and destroy the being to whom I gave existence; then my lot on earth will be fulfilled and I may die.”

But there is no happy story here. There is no victory. You ache for Frankenstein but you realize what a fool he was and that it’s all his fault. He is not innocent. This is such a convicting book. Sin is ugly and destructive and yet I run or yield to it all the time.

The Monster is Pursuing Us

I also love how Shelley paints the picture of sin pursuing and chasing us. Listen to the monster speak about his thirst for destruction and then read God’s warning to Cain:

For while I [the monster] destroyed his hopes, I did not satisfy my own desires. They were forever ardent and craving; still I desired love and fellowship, and I was still spurned.

The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7 ESV)

Can this Monster be Defeated?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a powerful book. It is about the tragedy of sin. It is about the sting of death. It is truly a book about a living nightmare and hell on earth. But she gives no solution. Frankenstein’s monster is never defeated and easily prevails. Is this reality? Only apart from Christ. Jesus died a horrific and gruesome death to satisfy the result of sin and bring victory. Christ became as ugly and repulsive as the monster, as our sin.

Oh! No mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch. I had gazed on him [Frankenstein’s monster] while unfinished; he was ugly then, but when those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived.

He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3-5 ESV)

Just as in the book, Frankenstein, the monster is no funny monster or comic relief, sin is no joke. It’s not as simple as saying “We all make mistakes.” It would be the death of us. But praise God, Jesus stepped in and gave the monster one sweeping death blow for all time. The monster is still in us, fighting and persuading us, but he can only wound those in Christ. His power of death has been taken away. Someday soon, his death will be final and forever.

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