Two stories are hot on my mind this late in the evening: the first is the story of Abraham and Isaac at the alter and the other is Christ kneeling in the garden in the late hours while the disciples slept. it is not a stretch between the two since they bear so many strong parallels, and yet I cannot help but think that I have done neither justice. They are two lens that both reflect the same end from different perspectives, and through which we find our own reflection in the light.
Abraham followed in obedience and left the servant behind to worship God with his son. I think we misunderstand this story when we forget that God has called the beginning from the end and has planned all things (Isaiah 43:13). God knew what was about to happened and already intended the ram as the sacrifice. God asked Abraham for willingness over action, and I cannot help but think that He does the same in my life again and again, but I am like a child that clings to trinkets that I think will satisfy me, or that are mine: perhaps out of a mixture of a sense of ownership and control, or maybe out of guilt, yet to only acknowledge that His ways are above my own.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus was executed by the Romans on a hill outside of Jerusalem. It doesn’t come a surprise that the Romans would choose a day of mass execution just before the most populated feast in Jerusalem; to turn to all Israel and basically say: “FYI, these guys are all dissidents… just saying.” or that they would try to fit in as much governmental procedures during this time as well.
Christ was nailed to a cross and suspended on a beam. His crimes inscribed over his head: a king, they called Him in three languages so that Jews coming from Greece would understand, and Romans from the Latin heart would know. As the sun rose in the East, and the moon set in the West, the only solace to the wrath of God would be the forced into the body of His own Son, part of Himself, and He would carry the full weight of that damnation; that the heart of redemption would find a place at the table of the world, dearly bought and stained with blood. The soul redeemed and brought from the shadow of death into the blazing sunlight of His victory! It could be no other way. Everything came down to the moment when God died: His truth first hailed by a Roman soldier who would have thought nothing of Him only moments before.
It strikes me this Easter season, both of these points. I see myself in their reflection: the first a desire to give up what is not mine to hold to offer is back completely in the service of the One who calls, and in the second I see the depth of life and a price paid. Both are hallmarks of obedience to which I am not accustom. The Son kneeling in the garden in complete surrender and the father walking with his son in faith and expectation: they both gave through their own suffering though it would break their hearts. I take the lesson to heart and find the honesty somewhere inside to say: for all that will be, yes.
yet ironically, I find myself overlooking the cross and washing the stains. To overshadow what happened on the cross and what it means, but who I am in it. Should I be offended that God would ask me to give away myself or my dreams? Or that He removes things from me but leaves those who hate him completely untouched? My restless heart, that I forget that moment of agony when He paid for me? He does not take away as a thief: for one cannot take what is already given, but at times I allow my heart to grow so dark that I forgot I invited the light to freely live through me. It is by my own pledge He owns my heart, not because He stole it away. Through patience He continue to humble me, and through grace He brings me life.
The father and his son made their way through the mountains and the son asked the father: “where is the lamb?”
The father answered his son in kindness and said: “God will provide Himself of lamb.”
“…and I saw between the throne, there stood a Lamb as if it had been slain,” (Revelation 5:6).