Archive for March, 2013
A mortal man spending eternity in hell, being mortal and therefore finite, will still not have endured all of its torments. Christ however, being eternal God, drank to the dregs the justice of divine wrath. The result being that the torments He endured on the cross on our behalf were infinitely more severe than all the torments of all the damned combined. In order to free us from the penalty of our sins Christ suffered infinitely on the cross.
Tags: Christianity, eloi eloi, good friday, leaving jesus, man christ jesus, Religion, the cross, Theology
Where was God today? How many people have asked that question through the ages? From young parents losing a child, to victims of the horrors of war, to young teenagers having their hearts broken for the first time, almost all of us have wondered where God was when the pain came. When Jesus hung on the cross, His detractors asked similar questions, “He saved others, let Him save Himself,” they said, “If you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross.” Jesus’ only response, if it can be considered a response, came as He quoted psalm 22 before His death, “Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabacthani!” Translated “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me!” The crowds who heard him misheard his words and thought he was calling for Elijah (Eloi and Elijah being pronounced similarly enough in Aramaic that when a crucified man screamed them they could be confused). Thinking that he was calling for Elijah they gave Jesus one last chance, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take Him down.” While they may have misheard Jesus’ words, they misinterpreted what was happening on the cross. They thought the only evidence of God’s action in the crucifixion would have been if Jesus was taken down from the cross.
Likewise we only see God’s hand when he takes us down from our little crosses. When He spares our child, gives us the grade, provides for our budget, or heals our disease. In 2 Cor 5:19, Paul says “In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them.” What Paul is saying is that God was not less present in Jesus’ abandonment on the cross, but by leaving Jesus on the cross to the death, He was more present and more active than at any time in history. God was there, in the abandoned Christ, working redemption and forgiveness. Where was God on Good Friday? He was in not only in heaven, judging our sins in the man Christ Jesus, but He was in Christ, atoning for us through His sinless life and death. He was there at the cross glorifying Himself more than He has in any healing, military victory, or miraculous delivery. The God we worship is not only present when we are delivered and relieved, but He is ever so much more present through our suffering and pain, working a redemption better than we ever could have hoped for.
“Never was sin seen to be more abominably sinful and full of provocation than when the burden of it was upon the shoulders of the Son of God…Would you, then, see the true demerit of sin?—take the measure of it from the mediation of Christ, especially his cross.”
John Owen:(Communion with the Triune God, 203-04)
JESUS DECLARES HIMSELF TO BE the “bread of life” (John 6:35), the “bread of God” (6:33).
The language is metaphorical, of course. That is made clear by John 6:35, where the metaphor is unpacked just a little: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” One normally eats bread; one does not “come” to bread or “believe” in bread. Thus what Jesus means by eating this bread of life must be largely equivalent to what it means to come to Jesus and believe in him.
This “bread of life discourse” (as it is called) follows the feeding of the five thousand (6:1-15). There Jesus provides bread and fish to the hungry masses. These were the staple foods of Galilee; he provided what was needed to sustain life. But in this gospel the evangelist points out that Jesus’ miracles are not mere events of power, they are significant: they point beyond themselves, like signs. This miracle points to the fact that Jesus not only provides bread, but rightly understood he is bread. He is the staple apart from which there is no real life at all.
Further, he is the ultimate “manna” (6:30-33). His interlocutors remind him that Moses provided manna, “bread from heaven” (Ex. 16), and they want him to do the same. After all, he had done it the day before in the feeding of the five thousand. If Jesus has performed the miracle once, why not again — and again and again? Isn’t that what Moses did?
But Jesus insists the ultimate source of the “bread from heaven” was not Moses but God, and the ultimate “bread from heaven” was not the manna of the wilderness years, but the One who came down from heaven — Jesus himself. After all, everyone who ate the manna in the wilderness died. Those who eat the ultimate bread from heaven, the antitype of the manna, never die.
People in an agrarian culture understand that almost everything they eat is something that has died. We think of food as packaged things. The reality is that when you eat a hamburger, you are eating a dead cow, dead wheat, dead lettuce, dead tomatoes, dead onions, and so forth. The chief exception is the odd mineral, like salt. Jesus’ audience, and John’s readership, understood that other things die so that we may live; if those other things don’t die, we do. Jesus gives his life so that we may live; either he dies, or we do. He is the true bread from heaven who gives his life “for the life of the world” (6:51).
from D.A. Carson