Picture yourself at the foot of the cross. You are there as it's happening -- the very moment when all the sin in the world, every last one: past, present, and future is removed from the shoulders of all mankind and placed squarely on the shoulders of the God-in-man's- body of Jesus Christ. The most monumental event in all of spiritual history, and there you are.
You are among many others. Woman are crying; soldiers are laughing; men are yelling. Somehow, what is being done on the other side of heaven is lost on these people. I would venture to say only one person in that picture really knows what is going on. (And it's not you.)
He's tried to explain it, but no one is getting it. (I can only imagine Jesus's frustration.)
Why aren't we awed? Why are the men still laughing?
Because there is a lack of dramatic music. The brilliant light and rainbows are absent. As a matter of fact, the death of Jesus Christ looks amazingly similar to those of the thieves next to whom his is dying.
This is so disappointing.
We have been trained to only really pay attention when we are told to do so. We have lost the skill of discerning what's important on our own. We have become lazy and sometimes only think what others have already thought for us. If we weren't given a direct sign from heaven telling us we are being cleaned, why would we bother to look at the facts ourselves?
Our King entered Jerusalem to take His reign, not just on a donkey instead of a white steed, but on a baby donkey. Jesus's feet were probably brushing against the ground as it struggled to haul its load. Sure it fulfilled Scripture, but what was up with that? A little awkward for the apostles.
Where are the bells and whistles? Where's the red carpet? Where is the fanfare? Where is that doggone horse?
How are we supposed to stand up to Rome on a donkey? How are we supposed to tell our neighbor Jesus is King when He looks like a beggar?
It's too quiet at the base of the cross. The wrath of God could surely conjure up some lightning. He did it for Elijah when he offered a wet sacrifice. No music, but God put on one heck of a pyrotechnic show.
The propitiation of man's sin is a little more important than Elijah's reputation.
Now, had you been standing in the temple, you would have felt the earthquake. You would have seen the curtain tear. You may have even understood that significance.
But still. No music. Some rumbling, yes. But buildings remained intact.
If anyone is to pay attention to anything today, we need to be attracted and compelled to watch. I live near Philadelphia (that is to say within a 40 mile radius), and we just had a visit from the Pope. No one around here wondered when he was coming. We were told about it on the news months ago. I believe a countdown began last summer. Every aspect of Philly was cleaned up - I can't imagine a single detail was overlooked.
Some people flocked to see him; others fled the crowded hysteria. But there was nothing about this visit that was quiet. And granted, I do not know the Pope personally, but he seems to me to be kind of a humble guy. I doubt he wanted any fanfare. But it was an Event to be sure. (Yes, with a capital "E.") One of the most important in recent Philadelphia history. The city wanted it known that the Pope was there.
Back to 33 A.D. Had camera crews been available at the time, would there have been the same kind of coverage? Doubtful. The government was down-playing Jesus's significance as much as they could.
Even without a light show (and God could surely have provided one), the message is out. But how are we supposed to convince our neighbors that their sin is taken away when they can't see it? We can't even feel it. You become a brand new human being and your heart rate doesn't even budge. There was no music when Jesus executed the means of our salvation, and there is likely none when you accept it. (Don't get me started on massive crowds at alter calls.)
Why isn't there fanfare for such a monumental event? Because that, my friends, is what faith is all about. It's easy to run down with all the crowds to see the Pope. If God would have yelled from the sky, "This is it, people!" when Jesus died, if the angels would have gathered his body in plain sight, while the sound of harps filled the air, who would have remained unsaved?
But who would have understood?
And that is why faith is such a big deal. God wants us to think about it. Faith must have purpose. You must decide to be faithful.
2 Corinthians 5:7
"For we live by faith, not by sight."
Passion Under Grace,