Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's Just Another Crucifixion

I don't now how many sermons I've heard about Jesus and the crucifixion. I don't know how many articles I've read about crucifixion. I've seen the Mel Gibson movie which goes into great detail about crucifixion - how brutal and gruesome it was. But after each sermon, after reading an article and after seeing the movie I come away unperturbed. To be honest part of me says, "Others were crucified, Jesus wasn't the first, and he wasn't the last. Why such an emphasis on the form of torture when countless others suffered the same?" Well it hit me today, probably for the first time.

It wasn't just a man who was crucified...
it was God.
Our Creator, the one who loves us like no other, who knows each of us so intimately, who created the heavens and the earth. He was beaten, flogged, spat upon, pushed, shoved, mocked, ridiculed, stripped, humiliated, nailed and hanged to die. That is who we crucified. On Good Fridays in the past I've only considered the man Jesus and not the divinity of Jesus. Perhaps you have and this blog entry makes no sense to you. But I was reading a quote in another blog and suddenly it struck me - this wasn't merely a man who was nailed to the cross. This was our God.

A dread and marvelous mystery we see come to pass this day. He whom none may touch is seized; He who looses Adam from the curse is bound. He who tries the hearts and inner thoughts of man is unjustly brought to trial. He who closed the abyss is shut in prison. He before whom the powers of heaven stand with trembling, stands before Pilate; the Creator is struck by the hand of His creature. He who comes to judge the living and the dead is condemned to the Cross; the Destroyer of hell is enclosed in a tomb. O Thou who dost endure all these things in Thy tender love, who hast saved all men from the curse, O long-suffering Lord, glory to Thee.”

–Sticheron of Vespers for Great Friday, Eastern Orthodox Church

The horror of this reality is a bit diminished because we live today with Sunday as our reality - resurrection! The thoughts of guilt, shame, hopelessness, abandonment, despair which Peter and the other followers of Christ felt on Friday and Saturday are not mine, to the extent the disciples had. I live the weekend anticipating Sunday! Sometimes I feel like I try to manufacture the emotions of the disciples to attempt to live the story in my life but it doesn't work. I know the outcome. It is joyous. But today, when I read the above quote, Christ's divinity was up on the cross, not just His humanity. And I grieve.

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