Saturday, April 07, 2007

Sacrifices and Substitutes

Yesterday I read about Abraham almost having to sacrifice his son Isaac. I wondered, I think for the first time, whether that event was in Jesus' mind when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, sweating blood, pleading for a way out.

In Abraham's story, God asked for a sacrifice, but at the last minute, when Abraham's faith was proved genuine, God provided a substitute. In Jesus' case, He was the sacrifice. But He was also the substitute. For some reason I'm never going to be able to figure out, God thought it was worth sacrificing His Son--Himself--so that He could have some sort of relationship with us--with me. I don't have a clue why. All I know is that I needed to suffer that eternal anguish that was concentrated for Him into one moment . . . and He stepped in and suffered it instead.

But this Awe-ful Friday, I just couldn't help wondering if Jesus, in His dread--of the physical pain, maybe, but surely more likely of His momentary cosmic separation from His Father--didn't wish there would be some sort of ram in the thicket which would accomplish for humanity what only His own death could do.

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