August 26, 2013

Wrath clashes with love…

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? It could be that the only time this happened was at Calvary when the wrath of God met the Son of God. Or did it? Could Jesus in His humanity have borne that wrath without being crushed? Anyone who has read the Bible knows the power of God’s fury against sin. No one can stand against it. But what about the power of His love?

These two met at the cross. Vital to the clash was that the power of God supported the human nature of Christ, and kept Him from being pulverized by divine wrath. Otherwise Jesus, a man like us only without sin, could not stand in His own strength under God’s great fury. God upheld Him…

Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him…. (Isaiah 42:1)

One important truth about Jesus Christ is that He lived here as a man. That means He needed to rely on God’s power and the leading of the Holy Spirit just like we do. He did not do anything on His own. He never took a vacation from being a dependent and Spirit-filled person. Not like me, who has one day of victory over sin (at least no sin that I notice) and then experiences a pride-filled crash the next because I think I’ve got it made.

Jesus never did that. He humbly depended on the Father and the Spirit as a fully human person, setting aside His great power that He might be like us. If I had been in His position and knew how little humanity would appreciate that sacrifice, I would have thought twice about giving up anything.

But He did it. He knew that He would bear the weight of the wrath of God when He prayed, “Let this cup (of wrath) pass from me” but He also said, “Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.” He was totally at the mercy of God. Without being upheld by the power of the Holy Spirit, He would never have survived that horrible weight of wrath.

Saturday and Sunday were marvelous. Sunday night I crashed because I began thinking I was an immovable object. In my case, it was not the irresistible force of God’s anger that got me, but the resistible power of temptation, resistible when faith not flesh or the lies of Satan are at the helm. Instead of being like Jesus who yielded to the power of God that He might not be crushed, I thought I could handle this by myself, prideful in supposing that I didn’t need to power of God to help me. If Jesus needed to rely on His Father, then who do I think I am?

Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. (Psalm 33:20–22)

The power of God upheld the human nature of Christ at Calvary. The power of God also appeared in raising Him from the dead.

… and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:19–21)

This power of God unlocked the belly of the whale to deliver Jonah, to rescue Daniel from the lion’s den, and to keep the fire from burning his three friends, but this is nothing compared to the resurrection of Christ. In that great deliverance, God exercised power over Himself. He quenched the flames of his own wrath, which was hotter than millions of Nebuchadnezzar’s furnaces, and unlocked the tomb that held Jesus in death, a tomb stronger than the belly of a great fish.

Jesus met the powers of hell and conquered all, glorifying the power of God and “declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). This was what happened when the irresistible force met the immoveable object – they both lost and they both won. Every proof that verified Jesus as God’s Son was nothing compared to the resurrection for in it, God won the conflict over His own Self and by that victory, set sinners free from His wrath and His Son free from it also.

No comments: