|Not WhatThey Expected,
by Bruce Malone
|Suppose, at just the right time, thousands of years after history began, it was time to demonstrate to humanity what love means. You did not come to earth as an arrogant ruler... but as a humble servant to wash the feet of others. You did not arrive with fanfare and pomp ... but left the glory of heaven to become a baby born in an animal stall. Your prophets had told of this... but this was not what your people expected.||
Suppose you spend three years patiently teaching your people how to live and who you are. You repeatedly teach them that you are the rock upon which they must build their lives. You hate the arrogant lie that Your children can earn their way into your presence. Your character is justice and justice requires payment for sin. Yet no man can pay the price. Throughout history Satan has deceived your children into believing that religion can save them. You expose the lies and hypocrisy of salvation by religious acts. You hate religion. Your harshest words are for these religious leaders. They are the ones who should know you best...but you are not whom they expected.
Suppose that the climax, which has been building since man first sinned, arrives. You pray for some other way to save mankind from his sin and restore fellowship with the Father. But there is no other way. You allow yourself to be taken. You make no defense in mock trial after mock trial because whom you represent (mankind) is guilty and deserves judgment. You allow Satan to pour his fury out upon you. You are beaten so severely that you hardly look human. You are whipped so severely that your back resembles raw hamburger. Your beard is ripped out, thorns are thrust onto your head, you are slapped, cursed, and spit upon. Nails are driven through your feet and wrists and you are left hanging on a pole to die. You could destroy the entire universe with a word, but you chose instead...to suffer. You become that symbol of sin lifted on a pole which will heal your people. But this is not what they expected.
But suppose this is not the worst. For the first time in eternity, you are separated from the Father. You actually become sin and the part of yourself left in heaven, the Father, pours out his wrath upon you. You pay the price for every sin ever committed by every person in the past, present, and future. The anguish is incomprehensible. Your innocent blood is shed for the sins of humanity. You are the innocent lamb sacrificed for others. You die for them. It is not what they expected ... they do not understand.
Suppose that three days later you rise from the dead to show that...at long last, they can have victory over death. Death has lost its sting. You have shown that there is nothing they can do to bridge the chasm between themselves and their Maker...you have done it all. But it is not free. They must love you more than their wickedness. You have shown them that there is no other way. There is no religious system, or set of rules which will allow them to earn their way to heaven. They have been trying to do this since they first sinned. They have been trying to cover their sins with fig leaves from the very start. You showed them that innocent blood...your blood would be required. But is was not what they expected.
The plan was finally complete. The path back to you is open to all who are willing to accept it. You have done everything you could possibly do to restore fellowship between sinful man and yourself. You have satisfied the perfect justice required of your nature. You took the penalty which they deserved. You have shown absolute mercy by providing a bridge over the chasm between sinful man and a perfect God. You have made it so simple that anyone can understand it. You have done it all. But it was not what they expected.
Suppose that this is history. It is Christianity. It is reality.
Will you accept His love?