Recently, my precious middle daughter and I had a good discussion about how easy it is to take the cross of Jesus for granted. We both grew up in situations where the Good News of Jesus was, and continues to be, spoken of often. Yet we admitted that we don’t always feel loved by God and often neglect to love Him in return.
A few days later we picked up our conversation, together with my dear Mum. We asked, “Why is it so easy to forget Jesus, our First Love’?” “How do we nurture this love in our hearts so that we do not cease to be amazed and enamoured with Christ our Bridegroom?”
Don’t you love it when the hero of the movie comes riding in and sweeps his future bride off her feet? Jesus swept me off my feet when I was a child and I have never quite recovered! Yet if you are anything like me, we have the tendency to get back on our own two feet again, get too independent and too accustomed to the face of our beloved.
They say that “actions speak louder than words”, but words are also an essential ingredient as we attempt to communicate love. I delight in reading words of love from my husband, family and friends… and then re-reading them over and over again to remind myself how dearly I am loved. It can be easy to forget that fact when life gets tough.
God’s Word is like a love letter to us and so, with my ‘first love’ for Christ a bit on the stale side, I decided to re-read His words of love to me, especially those He expressed from His cross of sacrifice, suffering and shame.
The Seven Sayings of the Cross
There are seven sayings of Christ from His cross and each one reveals unique and stunning vistas of the heart of our Messiah. I hope that you can BE Swept Off Your Feet, either for the first time or yet again, as you allow these powerful words to enter your heart, mind and soul…
“Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” (Luke 23:24)
This is grace! This is compassion! This is the courage to rise above injustice and bless those who curse! This is strength! This is protective covering! This is impossible… yet possible with the Father!
“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
This is truth! HE IS TRUTH! This is Kingship! This is hope for beyond the grave! This is merciful! This is utterly amazing!
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
This is total surrender to the Father! This is complete release of everything! This is faith! This is ultimate, confident trust!
“Dear woman, here is your son… Here is your mother.” (John 19:26)
This is commitment to family! This is provision for the grief-stricken! This is the faithfulness of a Son!
“I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)
This is Scripture fulfilled! This is human fragility crying out! This is desperate human agony!
“It is finished!” (John 19:30)
This is completion! This is our confidence! This is a cry to the universe that salvation is accomplished once and for all!
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) (Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34)
This is the most complex one to understand!
Friends, if you already feel swept off your feet by Jesus, please feel free to finish reading here. I am pleased you have had a fresh revelation of His love. But if you want to take a few minutes to ponder with me some thoughts I offer on this more difficult saying, please read on. I think it will be worthwhile…
I have been meditating on and studying these words of Jesus for years, trying to get to the heart of what He was trying to communicate here. I am still a bit perplexed and find that I have both new questions and new insights each time I sit with them!
Basically, we don’t fully know what Jesus meant when He said these words with His dying breath. It is clear that Jesus was quoting from Psalm 22:1, but there are two main interpretations that respected scholars, teachers and preachers hold to…
The first is to take these words at face value and believe Jesus was actually abandoned by His Father on the cross. This view teaches that it was at this moment the sins of the world were laid on Jesus and that these words are a desperate cry reflecting not just His physical sufferings, but also the suffering of separation from His Father. If you hold to this view as many believers do…
This is the ultimate agony! This is total identification with human failing and suffering. This is the sacrifice of love we cannot comprehend!
The other view, that many other believers adhere to, is that the Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit cannot be separated and that when Jesus uttered these words in His passion, He was worshipping God and declaring that He is Messiah!
Jesus, as a Jewish boy, would have learned this song, and all the Torah and other Psalms, by rote. I am told that the practice was to use the first line of the psalm as the title of the song to be recited/sung. So perhaps Jesus was in essence ‘singing’ this messianic song of worship as the Saviour of the world! If this is true, then He was making the most astonishing declaration in history…
I AM Messiah – the Suffering Servant! This is worship in the midst of extreme suffering! This is strength in weakness! This is fulfilment of prophecy! This is what all of fallen creation has been waiting for! This is the ultimate war cry and declaration of His (and our) imminent and eternal deliverance!
I encourage you to have a look at the magnificent Psalm 22 when you next read the crucifixion accounts. This ‘Messianic Psalm’ was written by King David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit some 1,000 years prior to the crucifixion of Christ. It adds some depth and incredible insights to His passion. I think if you take the time to meditate on it, you too will BE Swept Off Your Feet and carried forever in His loving embrace!
A note to clarify…
Just because there are some differing opinions on this topic, we should not be scared away from meditating on both views and seeking God for further revelations. Believe me, He wants to lead us into all truth and in the journey of discovery, we will come to know and adore Him more. This saying of Christ is only recorded in Matthew and Mark and the only saying they both mention. As I read both accounts, I am soberly reminded that some of the witnesses to the crucifixion were very confused when they heard Jesus utter these words – so it is no wonder there is still some confusion over this saying today.
All these sacred sayings, and both these views of the more difficult one, bring in beautiful aspects of Messiah we can learn from and marvel in. His divine humanity is revealed to us, yet still remains a mystery! How can we possibly fathom it all? It will take an eternity to unravel the intricate wonders of the cross!
“My Jesus, please restore my child-like wonder and help me to never take You, my First Love, for granted ever again!
Don’t Let Me Lose My Wonder by Kristen Getty
PHOTO: Our son, James, sweeping his beautiful bride, Melissa, off her feet!