In a previous post I shared something that I had written seventeen years ago about an imaginary visit to view the Jesus body when it was being carried from Calvary to be lodged in the tomb. You may review what I wrote by clicking here. On this Good Friday, 2016, I wish to again go back 17 years to recall more of what I believed and wrote in 1999.
It was awful what they did to him. But something more awe-full and mysterious happened to Jesus on the cross. It was what God did to him that moved him to cry “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” . . .
Don’t ask me to explain it! But your sins, my sins, and every one else’s sins were reckoned to that One Holy Person, Jesus, the Son of God. He Came to be the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. . . .
God gathered up all the sins of the world, all the violence, all the deceit, all the selfishness and cold-heartedness, all the sins, all of them. God gathered them all up and smashed them against the innocent body of Jesus. Yes, Jesus was victimized on our behalf. He was forlorn, counted perverted, for me.
(Before the cross, God) intervened powerfully. God gave the law . . . meant to save us. . . . The law had two strikes against it. First it failed as a means of salvation. Second it was foiled in its condemnation. The law as law was frustrated, useless. It could condemn us no more for there was nothing left to condemn.
So, our God took the law we could not keep, the law that made us guilty and condemned us to eternal damnation. God took that law and nailed it to the cross of Jesus. All the “you shalls” and the “you shall nots” collapsed as they were nailed to the cross. . . . The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law. Both strength and sting are gone. . . .
But there is more! . . . Here is a great mystery. Eternity is a long time, and eternity may prove me wrong. But for now I believe I am attempting to describe the greatest exchange of eternity. God reckoned (counted up) the sins of the world and reckoned (considered) them to be the sins of Jesus, and then God took the righteousness of Jesus and reckoned (considered) it to be our righteousness.
You have just read the Gospel as I understood it 17 years ago. Last night I pondered my beliefs in 2016 and how I should describe them. I decided to go to bed and let it come to me as I slept. I got awake this Saturday morning with the thought that 17 years ago my god was way too small. A god that requires satisfaction through blood sacrifices, and the sacrifice of his own son is too small and too bloody for me. I now have a larger God who loves me as am I, not conditioned on the death of Jesus on the cross. Jesus went about doing good, demanding justice for the poor, using teaching techniques that appeared to be anti-establishment. That is why they killed him.