i went to good friday services at church last friday and they showed a video on the fifth cup used in the passover dinner: the cup of wrath.
every time i get confronted with Jesus taking my place like this, i’m wrecked. i just can’t fathom love like this, love that steps in my way and drinks the wrath of God when it shoots in my direction. i don’t get it but i’m unspeakably grateful for it.
and this is where it makes all the difference; this is what sets our God apart from any other.
i remember learning about other ancient religions and how they have very similar stories to the old testament. blessed with a strong foundation of faith and being so analytical, learning that never caused me to doubt the authenticity of our God as He reveals Himself in the old testament. instead, i wanted to know, what sets Him apart? what reveals Him as true and the others as idols?
i don’t exactly have an answer for that, at least as it pertains specifically and uniquely to the manifestation of God’s character in the old testament. maybe there’s not meant to be. quite frankly, while God’s character is consistent in the old testament, it doesn’t look a whole lot different than most of the other ancient gods. and while we have a record of what our God has done as opposed to those gods, it’s not as though we can revive those witnesses and interrogate them à la gibbs to figure out which narrative is the true one.
but i think this is where it differs: Jesus dies. and not even just that because Jesus dying is not the only time a god is said to have died and risen from the dead. the reason this is important is because, as a pin on pinterest said, this is the only time a hero dies for the villains.
i think that’s tritely worded – after all, the story of redemption is not a fairytale – but i think it’s appropriate. Jesus, who is the victor and the hero and the One who committed no wrong, is the One who dies. and we, who screwed up and fell and couldn’t frankly care less, are the ones who get the benefit. our only heroics are the heroic mess we made of it all.
and He lifts the consequences right off our shoulders and bears them Himself, all the way up a mountain, nailed to a tree, become a curse for us that we might know eternal life.
that’s the difference. that’s what sets our God above the others: His compassion. His love. His mercy and grace and redemption. & He counts it worth it.
i’m feeling more unworthy by the second. and yet, simultaneously, i am feeling more and more greatly blessed.