His appearance was so disfigured that He did not look like a man, and His form did not resemble a human being - so He will sprinkle many nations...... Isaiah 52:14-15Behold the Lamb of God... torn, bleeding... sweating..... beaten...reviled...mocked..and nailed to a cross. Behold the wrath of God devouring the sacrifice. The fire consumed the flesh of the animal in the burnt offerings, and now the very flames of God's wrath consume this sacrifice. The sword was driven deep into the animal to slay it.... now the spear plunges deep into the heart of the perfect Lamb without spot....this is our beloved Jesus.
....What is that? What is that hanging on that cross? Is that really a man? Could a man really be that disfigured from this torture? What form do I see here? Could that be another fellow human? ... Certainly not (says humanity)... that kind of suffering is totally foreign; that kind of torture and agony cannot belong to a fellow human being!? Oh, but yes indeed this is very man of very man and so much more. And this man as high priest opens his mouth to utter his greatest words.... "Father forgive them, they know not what they do" and with these precious words spews perfect blood from those tender lips; and with this blood coughed up and spat out, He as high priest sprinkles the nations. [For this is atonement] With a cough, a gasp, a groan with profuse bleeding, blood pours forth from the brow, from the hands, from the feet, from every place... blood pours forth.
Do you See Him? Do you see the horror? Gaze long and gaze hard for the one who sees this will be forever haunted. Are you haunted by the crucified lamb? You need be!!! This scene should traumatize. This image should burn deep into the mind and wound severe the soul - never to be healed. Why? Why speak so wretched? Why speak so harsh?
Because this is love. This is love Divine. This agony, this despair, this disfigured sacrifice, this blood soaked gasping object of scorn is the very definition of love. Why? Why is this love? How could this horrid scene be love? How could such carnage be esteemed so highly?
Because this wasn't just a man this was God Himself taking the wrath you deserve! God incarnate; the life so divine; infinitely beautiful; perfectly glorious; supremely precious taking the wrath you deserve!
To see the Godman crucified is to see what should happen to me every time I have a thought of mal-intent toward my neighbor. I see what every lustful thought, every greedy motive, every self righteous inkling deserves. Do you see the suffering Servant? Do you see Him gasping and torn down to His depths? Then see what you to deserve for your sin!!! How severe is sin? Look at our Jesus crucified! This is how severe sin is! Oh but further still... DO YOU SEE HOW LOVING YOUR GOD IS? Look, at Jesus crucified! This is how much He loves you! What do you see here? Wrath and love kiss! Damnation and divine embrace come together! Here the Lamb divine takes the wrath that you deserve. This is love at its utter fullness! Our cry should be "Why, Why, Why would you do this for me?"
Do you believe that this is what every wayward man deserves? Have you come to understand your own wretchedness apart from Christ? Have you felt the mercy of God upholding your arrogant breath? Have you felt the ground shaking under your feet as though it was about to give way and swallow you into the depths of Sheol? Have you felt the restraint of the divine long-suffering of God who gives you another breath, and another breath.. and another? Oh this is love, this is mercy, this is goodness! For I do deserve all these things I see Christ bearing! I have felt the sting of this a time or two (how I wish I always did).... oh so terrifying is the wrath of God that I deserve, oh how terrifying is this cross, but yet SO MUCH MORE INVITING IT IS ... it beckons, it calls me near... It draws me to gaze upon the one I have pierced .... OH how I long to tremble and shake under the terror of this glorious majesty! Oh how I long for my soul to break, give way and open up to such love! OH to tremble, Oh to know this love! OH that my head were a fountain of tears over this crucified Lamb!
How should we now live in light of seeing His side driven through with the spear; the roman scourge cutting down to the entrails; and the jagged long nails pounded and driven through his hands and feet? .... Awake O my Soul!!! Soul, how should you respond to seeing the wrath coming down and consuming Him instead of you?
Indifference and apathy are simply impossible after one has seen the Lamb who was slaughtered in our stead. May we love Him the way He loves us... what is the appropriate response to Christ and Him Crucified? May we follow in His footsteps thrusting our lives into the darkest places of the earth just as He did to seek and save the lost....