The pictures came alive, replaying in my head and hauling me into the scene. That juncture that Jesus, in all his power, awesomeness and glory allowed himself to be put to shame, allowed himself to be beaten, mocked and treated like a common criminal. I pictured myself in that scene, I saw myself standing at a corner, watching as he dragged the cross along, scratching off clouds of dust with the end of the long bar of the cross from the ground and stumbling at some steps.
I peeked as the soldiers beat what we call “the hell” out of him. They made jest of Jesus each time he cried out. Then, I turned to look at the Jews, I saw them becoming happy for once with the Roman soldiers, for the cause of getting Jesus out of the way. I saw friends and enemies form a coalition. These Jews were presumed to be friends of God, Jesus was supposed to be their hero! I watched as they were being fascinated with what Jesus was going through.
But then I shuddered in tears, knowing that the very reason Jesus was going through this is me. He was not dying his death, he was dying my death. He wasn’t suffering his suffering, he was suffering my suffering. He was doing everything possible to satisfy the demands of a law that passed the sentence on me even before I was born. In those tears, I could feel his stares, his eyes were red, blood running down through a corner. I watched him look at me saying “it is all for you…”
He wasn’t making an accusation, he wasn’t holding me responsible for his death, he was speaking in a tone that confirms it was the path he had chose to follow in his human manifestation. It was his desire to ignore his divinity and be in my shoes. They couldn’t give him a break, I saw how terrible my sins were, they were as terrible as his sufferings. God’s anger on sin was satisfied with him. It is safer to say that God satisfied his anger for sin on Himself. This was God, choosing to walk like man, choosing to bear the consequences on a flesh he had worn.
He was pushed down and he hit his head on the rock, it was this same head on which crown of thorns has been worn upon. The thorns pierced into him even harder, I heard him shout! I couldn’t behold the sight anymore, I was broken. I threw my face away and then I was hearing hits! At each hit, I would hear him shout in agony. I turned to look, the nails we’re being pierced into his hands and his feet. All this was just for me, the cross was my mine, the suffering was mine but he took it over from me.
After the cross has been raised, I managed to look up and stare at him with misty eyes. Many things happened, was it about the sour drink he was fed with? Was it the mockery? I heard him pray “forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do”. That was an everlasting demand for forgiveness, it was a once and for all demand. I felt strongly that he was saying “I have taken their place and your anger is satisfied by now”.
The teariest moment came when it was apparent that heaven had turned back on him. God turned back on him, put it this way, he turned his back on himself! This was the same man who had healed the sick, who raised the dead, he opened the eyes of the blind, who healed all manner of diseases! This is the same man who has been nailed helplessly to the cross, he had become a sight of mockery. That was supposed to be me, I deserved nothing but that cross…
He cried a cry that was supposed to be mine, he said “Father, why has thou forsaken me?” I fell on my knees, knowing this was supposed to be me, I was supposed to be the one who has been forsaken. Here, God fulfilled the promise he made, he had said earlier “I will remember your sins no more” Why? Because Jesus would take them upon himself. Confirming my thoughts, Jesus said, “it is finished”. The struggle, the wrestle with sin and all the failures were over! The war ended! Afterwards, he gave up and died on that cross, carrying the burden of every man on earth and bringing it to an end.
On numerous occurrences, I break down in tears reminiscing God’s love and mercy. Anyone who doesn’t know God may find this funny or strange. I am the only one who can tell with limited words that I have experienced God, I have seen His mercy and the feeling leaves me only in tears, it makes me recount my steps and know if I have been living a life of appreciation towards that sacrifice Jesus made.
How about those nights God would come to me in dreams as a child, carrying me on his laps and telling me things with smiles all over his face! It might be just a dream to you, but it means a lot to me now. How about that morning when I was woken by a voice, I knew it was him and he gave me an instruction. What about the days his powers had surged through my hands? Experience isn’t enough but I have experienced him to an extent I can’t doubt him any more. When people call us jokers, I only realize their extent of ignorance, I don’t blame them.
God looked beyond me, he looked beyond my flaws and said: “I will be your God and your father, you will be a son”. That was what I became! Jesus died, but Jesus resurrected. His resurrection is another story, exciting experience that resources may not permit me to talk about at this very moment. But I know one thing, by death, he destroyed the powers of sin over me, rendered it useless and declared me holy and free from sin!
If it is by that same word by which the world was made that I was declared righteous, then I am righteous. If he said I am free, then I am free indeed.
Listening to Yadah’s “Beyond Me” keeps bringing back this feeling, it keeps stirring my heart and leaving me with tears upon tears. Only I can tell how God has dealt with me in love. One may ask “but you don’t have money yet. You don’t have your heart desires yet…” No, it’s not about what men can give, it’s about what only God could give. It’s not a fulfilment that money can give, it is not a fulfilment my heart desires can give me. Nothing else can fill this vacuum that only God can fill. I can’t trade it for anything.
The joy of salvation is not something I can source from anywhere else, it is not something I can get from eating certain kinds of food, having certain kind of friends, going certain kind of places or attaining certain heights on earth. It is so beautiful knowing that I am a friend and the son of God, knowing that God’s love and mercy have made a dwelling in me. God didn’t give me a second chance to make things right between us, he made it right and asked me to accept it. He gave me no terms and condition, he gave me no further rules, he didn’t increase the burden. All he wanted was that I accept his offering and I did.
*This title “Beyond Me” was inspired by a song, Beyond Me by Yadah