Friday, April 02, 2010

Last night, something absolutely new and unprecedented happened

New? Unprecedented? Can't be. Doesn't Solomon write, "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9)?

Yet last night something happened that has never happened, not since the first molecule spun, nor ever before that.

Last night — or some 2000 years ago on the Thursday evening we marked last night — the Father told the Son "No."

This had never happened, ever, in all of recorded history. Never was a relationship closer, without the slightest stir of alienation, as that between God the Father and His dear Son.

Yet on that Thursday, we read
36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” (Matthew 26)
Once, the Son asked His Father if there was any way — any way — that the cup could pass from Him.

The Father evidently said "No, Son; there is no other way."

Again, the Son came back. Same answer. And again — same answer.

Of course, we know we are not reading of a pitting of wills against each other. Each time, Jesus framed His request "if it be possible," and each time He added, "not as I will, but as you will."

But in the correct rush to keep theology straight, don't miss the drama, don't miss the point.

If there had been a way, the Son would have chosen it!

If there had been a way, the Father would have granted it!

So great was the devastation, the disaster caused by our sin. So dire was our condition. So unsalvageable, so irreparable, so (if I may say it) irredeemable was our plight that nothing less than the Son dying in the stead of sinners would work salvation. All the blither-blather about other ways and broader hope are smashed to shivers in the Garden.

But consider one more thought, the thought that had tears pouring from my eyes as I dwelt on it.

What must it have been for the Father to say "No" to His Son? What must it have been for the Son to hear "No" from Heaven? To say it, to hear it once, let alone twice... let alone three times?

Clearly, no matter how well-schooled we might be, we don't grasp the full horror of what Jesus faced, if we can consider it without a touch of that horror ourselves.

Yet what love. What love of the Father to give His Son for such appalling rebels. What love of the Son to give Himself for such wrecks as we. What love of the Holy Spirit to open our eyes, and draw us to repent and trust Jesus alone.

What great salvation, what a great Savior.


Anonymous said...

This is really good.

We so underestimate sin. I mean, it's expected that an unbeliever would, but when we's kind of like Peter denying Christ.
The Romans didn't know who they were crucifying, Peter knew right well, and off he went...and off we go.

We serve a great God!

Kristine said...

I love this, Dan.

And you're right, what amazing love indeed.

coldwell said...

Dan, I share your tears.

Thank you.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

"We underestimate sin..."

You're so right, Daryl.

I am guilty.

What love and grace He pours out on us.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a way of looking at it I never thought of before. The one time God told Jesus "No." Tremendous.

(BTW, how would you take Jesus saying that with the Father "all things are possible." Is this a way of saying that if there had been any other way, God would have been able to do it?)

Colloquist said...

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 turned his face away...
As wounds which mar the chosen one, bring many sons to glory.

Gilbert said...

Wow. I have tears in my eyes. And I yelled a hearty "Amen!" at the end!

I've never thought of the cost of my salvation in that way before. Wow. And Jesus still did that...for ME.

Instant classic post. Should be stickied on Pyro, too.