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Posts Tagged "5:7–9"

A God Who Bleeds; A God Who DIes

April 19, 2019
By Rev. David French

Behold the man on the cross! Here we see the pure love of God in action. The cross is why the eternal Second Person of the Trinity has taken on human flesh. This is where the debt for sin, yours and mine and all who are born of flesh, is paid in full. Behold the man on the cross, bleeding, gasping, suffering, and dying for you.

See His hands that the night before were washing His disciples’ feet. Now they are pinned with nails to the rough crossbeam of this instrument of torture and death. See how the hands that formed Adam out of the dirt of the earth are now clinched and stained with His blood mixed with dirt. See the fingers He used to heal lepers, that He stuck into the ears of a deaf man, that took bread and wine and declared it to be His very body and blood. Now they twitch and jerk uncontrollably each time He strains to pull Himself up as He gasps for each next breath. But this is why God has hands.

See His skin that has been shredded by Roman whips made with lacerating bone chips and bruising metal balls woven into the leather thongs to inflict the most damage to the skin and muscle and so the greatest pain on the one being beaten. See the skin of His back, which is now a bloody canvas of gaping wounds. But this is why God has skin.

See His knees and elbows skinned and bruised from falling under the weight of the sin and the cross He would pay for it on as He was driven and dragged toward Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, where He would be crucified. But this is why God has legs.

See His feet, nailed to the cross. These are the feet that walked from town to town as He taught His disciples, healed the sick, fed the hungry and preached the good news of man’s release from captivity to sin and death. These are the feet that Mary anointed with expensive oil, washed with her tears, and wiped with her hair. See His feet raw and bloody causing unimaginable pain as His weight continually pushes them against the nail pinning them in place. But also notice His heel, that with every flinch of pain is grinding and crushing the head of the serpent, destroying the kingdom of satan to set sinners free.

See His head, with the rivulets of blood flowing from each place one of the thorns on this mock crown has pressed through His skin. See the head that should be crowned with majesty and glory surpassing every earthly king’s crown. See the head over which has been hung the sign listing the charge that brought this death sentence: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. See the head that in death has finally found a place to rest. But this is why God has a head.

See His face, which is bruised and bloodied from the blows first thrown by the High Priest’s officer and later by the soldiers as they mocked Him and called on Him to “Prophesy!” See His eyes, which in the beginning saw all He had made, and called it “very good.” See the eyes that looked with mercy and compassion on the soldiers and crowd, on His disciples, on all of mankind now swollen closed. See His lips which spoke words of absolution but are now dry and cracked from a deeper thirst than you or I will ever know. See how His face contorts in agony and looks anything but human. But this is why God has a face.

See His lungs as they slowly fill with fluid, the lungs that in this hanging posture cannot inhale without the man experiencing the pain that comes with pulling and pushing His body to open His airway. These are the lungs that breathed the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils and so into all mankind. See the lungs that expel one final breath as He cries, “It is finished,” as He gives up His spirit and dies. But this is why God has lungs.

See His bones, which remain unbroken. See how the soldiers with their clubs shatter the legs of each of the thieves crucified with Jesus but did not do the same to Jesus. This is what every Passover lamb, every bull for the whole burnt offering, every scapegoat, every ram, every turtledove ever sacrificed was pointing to, the sacrifice offered by God once for all, the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world, the One of who it was said not a bone would be broken. But this is why God has bones.

See His side into which the soldier thrust his spear, causing a flow of blood and water to pour out from Him, confirming that He is truly and completely dead, that His heart has stopped beating. See the Christ hanging lifeless in the sleep of death. See how the blood and water that flowed from the side of the crucified God-man will be used by His Father in heaven to form His Church, the Bride prepared for His Son on the day of His resurrection. But this is why God has a side.

See His blood, which pours from His lifeless body, staining the wooden beams of the cross, spilling onto the dirt, reddening the soil, watering His creation. See the blood that He first shed when He was an eight-day-old boy, undergoing the sign by which all Jewish boys were made Israelites. See the blood for which the crowd thirsted and so ironically asked for exactly what they needed, let: “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:25).

See the blood that set you free blood that was foreshadowed on every Day of Atonement when the blood of the sacrifice was splattered on the mercy seat, on the altar, and on the people for their forgiveness. See the blood He gave to His disciples in the cup of blessings the night before, telling them it is shed for the forgiveness of sins. This is the blood by which our eternal High Priest entered once for all into the Most Holy Place, giving sinful men access to our holy God and Creator. This is why God has blood.

You see, truly today is no accident. Nor is it a tragedy. Jesus Himself had said, “No one takes it [My life] from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:18).

Dear children of God, what we contemplate this evening is ugly and messy and it is why God became man: not to teach us how to be good, not to show us the right way to live, not to be an example for you to follow and not to impart His divine wisdom. God became a man so that He could be our substitute in death. The sinless life He lived is now by grace through faith offered to you as a gift that you might confidently stand before the Throne of our God knowing your judgement has already been pronounced. Behold the love of God who calls you His own.

In His Name, Amen.

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