Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Only Way

Beaten with rods.  Whipped relentlessly.  Pierced by thorns around His head.  The Holy One of God - the King, the Son of the Most High, the Almighty - was tortured beyond comprehension.  The All-powerful Messiah's body was unable to bear the weight of the cross on which He was to die.  Eventually He was hung on it, amidst ridicule and mockery.  He died one of the most shameful, painful deaths that anyone could ever die.  But it was the only way to save humanity from their sins.

Or was it?

Sin came into the world so easily; through one man (see Romans 5).  Was all hope lost after the first sin, though?  Was God powerless against the sin that entered the earth through Adam?  Of course not!  He made a promise, even then, that He would send a Savior to the world (Genesis 3:15).

But He didn't have to make that promise.  He could have just obliterated Satan the moment Satan turned against Him, and purged the earth of sin on the spot.  He could have purified the earth with a gush of Heavenly fury.  But why didn't He?

He did it for us.  But most of all, He did it for His own glory.

God could have put everything back to the way it was.  But He's so much greater than that.  His plan of salvation is one of tragedy, but of hope; of defeat, but of victory; of agony, but of joy.  It's difficult for us, on earth, to understand God's beauty, holiness, and magnificence without first knowing the ugliness, imperfection, and woefulness of sin.  That's why Jesus died: so we could know Him, and know His incomparable, incredible beauty.

But more than this, Jesus died so that He could be glorified.  "Father, the hour has come," He prayed.  "Glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you" (John 17:1b).  God is glorified in our lives when we choose Him over everything else and worship Him for who He is.  Knowing that we would better savor Him and His majesty after first knowing the worthlessness of sin, He chose to write the best, most heroic story imaginable, so that we could experience His joy to the utmost (See John 15:11, 16:20-22).

Jesus didn't have to die.  But He did.  He could have wiped out sin completely.  But He didn't.  Instead, He chose to lay His own life down (John 10:18).  He chose to endure the cross, to endure the beatings, to endure the whippings, to endure the mockery, to endure the blood, to endure the aching, and to endure the shame.  And He did it all for His glory.  He did it all for us.