Clearly, I touched a nerve with the whole thank you card thing. I’m going to revisit that in a day or two after everyone has had their say, because I do think it touches on some broader issues. If you haven’t read the comments on yesterday’s post, you need to. (Vince’s remarks are particularly… um… thought-provoking).
In the meantime, maybe it would be helpful to meditate on something a little more substantial in terms of soul nourishment. I absolutely love Leahy’s little book, The Cross He Bore: Meditations on the Sufferings of the Redeemer (see Thursday’s post). It’s not necessarily an easy read since Leahy, despite the fact that he wrote it in 1996, writes much more like a 17th century Puritan than a 20th century professor, but it is a short read, and well worth every moment you might invest in it.
He is Spurgeon-esque in the way he recognizes the monumental importance of certain moments of Christ’s sufferings that might otherwise seem unremarkable to the average reader. Here is an example offered in hope of strengthening your love for the Savior today, and by way of urging you to purchase and read the book:
“The cup that the Father placed in the Son’s hands was brimful of wrath and judgment. Its every drop brought torment. Yet this cup he would drink to the glory of God! This cup he would drink in honour of God’s holiness and righteousness. This cup of death he would drink in order that not one of his people might ever taste a single drop of it. …Not a single solitary drop of any other potion must blend with that prepared by the Father. That cup must be kept pure. He must drink it as it was poured out by God. …God’s cup of wrath is essentially unmixed, that is undiluted. Dilute that cup with a single extraneous drop and it is no longer the cup of God’s wrath.
…It was customary, by way of preparation for crucifixion, to offer the condemned a sedative drink. …The narcotic drink was offered for the purpose of deadening the pain. …A drink to quench his thirst would have been welcome, and later he did accept such a drink…but the drugged drink he instantly refused. To the very last he must have full possession of his senses. …Spurgeon remarks, ‘He solemnly determined that to offer a sufficient atoning sacrifice He must go the whole way, from the highest to the lowest, from the throne of highest glory to the cross of deepest woe.’ He must suffer to the utmost. He must feel the full ‘sting’ of death. No anaesthetic was permissible.
What if Christ had accepted that cup? Then, with a befuddled brain, he could not have prayed for the soldiers who were waiting to nail him to the cross. Then those seven great sayings on the cross would never have been uttered. Then his obedience would at last have been broken and all would have been lost. How much was at stake as they pushed the rim of that cup toward the Saviour’s lips! Everything! All of the divine decree, all of prophecy, all of redemption was at stake as that appealing cup was offered to the Suffering One again and again.
Viewed from every conceivable angle, this was Satan’s cup. His fingermarks were all over it. The fetid stench of his breath still clung to it. Christ pushed it away. He spurned it with all his being. He drank only from the Father’s cup and now he hands to each one of the redeemed that precious cup that overflows with the sweet wine of his love, the cup of salvation” (62-6).