November 1, 2015
“His wounds have paid my ransom.”
“The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, ‘This is love.’
“God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, ‘This is love.’”
This Sunday, Scott Rosenkranz will be preaching on the crucifixion account in the Gospel of Mark. Let’s allow John Piper’s words to help prepare us, as he describes the love that was displayed on that terrifying and awesome afternoon.
“Morning wanes as Jesus stumbles out of the Praetorium, horribly beaten and bleeding profusely. The Roman soldiers had been brutal in their creative cruelty. Thorns have ripped Jesus’s scalp and His back is one grotesque, oozing wound. Golgotha is barely a third of a mile through the Garden Gate, but Jesus has no strength to manage the forty-pound crossbar. Simon of Cyrene is drafted from the crowd.
“Twenty-five minutes later, Jesus is hanging in sheer agony on one of the cruelest instruments of torture ever devised. Nails have been driven through His wrists (which we only know about because of the doubt Thomas will express in a couple days). A sign above Jesus declares in Greek, Latin, and Aramaic who He is: ‘the King of the Jews.’
“The King is flanked on either side by thieves and around Him are gawkers and mockers. ‘Let Him save Himself, if He is the Christ of God, His Chosen One!’ some yell. One dying thief even joins in the derision. They do not understand that if the King saves Himself, their only hope for salvation is lost. Jesus asks His Father to forgive them. The other crucified thief sees a Messiah in the mutilated Man beside him, and he asks the Messiah to remember him. Jesus’s prayer is beginning to be answered. Hundreds of millions will follow.
“It is mid-afternoon now and the eerie darkness that has fallen has everyone on edge. But for Jesus, the darkness is a horror He has never known. This, more than the nails and thorns and lashings, is what made Him sweat blood in the garden. The Father’s wrath is hitting Him in full force. He is in that moment no longer the Blessed, but the Cursed. He has become sin. In terrifying isolation, cut off from His Father and all humans, He screams, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,’ Aramaic for ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ No greater love, humility, or obedience has ever or will ever be displayed.
“Shortly after 3:00 p.m., Jesus whispers hoarsely for a drink. In love, He has drained the cup of His Father’s wrath to the dregs. He has born our full curse. There is no debt left to pay and He has nothing left to give. The wine moistens His mouth just enough to say one final word: ‘It is finished.’ And God the Son dies.
“It is the worst and best of all human deaths. For on this tree He bears our sins in His body, ‘the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God.’ And now it is finished.”
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure;
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there,
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.
I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart:
His wounds have paid my ransom.
Stuart Townend Copyright © 1995 Thankyou Music
HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE