Monday, September 20, 2010

The Lamb who was slain

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the God-man is amazing in more ways than our minds can comprehend. So I'm just going to focus on one thing--in the Incarnation, events happened in our time and space, through physical matter, flesh and blood, that fundamentally changed the universe forever. We're just going to focus on one sub-aspect of that here.

When Jesus was crucified, he was pierced through his hands, feet, and side. When he was resurrected, he retained those wounds, as we see in Luke 24:38 and others. This is incredible in and of itself, but it goes further. Much further. We go ahead to Revelation, and we see one of my favorite passages in the Bible: "And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain... And [the elders] sang a new song, saying, 'Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God.'" (Rev. 5:6-9). The Lamb here is symbolic of Jesus, and the part I want to draw your attention to is "as though it had been slain." Now, Revelation is a very visual book, meaning that John saw most of these things and then wrote them down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We are reading the verbal account of a visual experience, which means that a lot of the "word pictures," as it seems best to describe them, are very difficult to visualize. This one, however, suggests to me that the Lamb, standing as though it had been slain, still bears the mark of its slaying. Now, I don't know what that looks like for a lamb, but I do know what it looks like for Jesus. And I know what it means for Jesus to still bear the marks of his slaying.

And this is not just an interesting thought-project, a lofty theological discussion that has no bearing on real life. For why did Christ go to the Cross? Because the Father willed it, and because Christ willingly obeyed. And why did the Father will it? Because it was the only way to save us. And why? Because we had sinned and thrown away all that God had given us. This is at once a corporate and individual we, both humanity as a whole and you and me, in particular. And we were the ones Christ died for. And we were the ones who drove the nails in. We bit the hand that fed us and left an eternal mark on One whose feet we were unworthy to kiss. This is a sobering thought, and one which is valuable to keep in mind as we wander this fallen world.

But of course this isn't the end of my note. I believe that Jesus chose to keep the scars as a symbol. First, it is a symbol of the eternal consequences of that day on that hill. Second, it is a symbol of the equally eternal cost of sin. And thirdly, it is a symbol of the eternal divine love Christ bears for us. It is a reminder that Christ laid down his life for us, and a reminder that he wasn't obligated to do it.

To conclude, I firmly believe that the gloriously holy, brightly burning "one like a son of man", with eyes like a flame of fire and a voice like the roar of many water (Rev. 1:13-15), had and still has holes in his hands, feet, and side. He did not rid himself of them but wears them still as both a symbol of the utmost humility (Philipians 2:6-8) and a badge of the highest honor (Philippians 2:9-11, Rev. 5:6-9). The Living One, who is both God and Son of God, has scars on his oh-so-human hands, and we cannot afford to forget this.

No comments:

Post a Comment