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"His Love Would Have Held Him There" by Steve Weed When Martin Luther King, Jr. was a young man, a deranged man plunged a letter opener into Dr. King's chest. He was rushed to the hospital where the knife was carefully removed. To do that, the doctor had to make another incision which cut across the wound. This meant that Dr. King was left with a scar on his chest in the shape of a cross. It also meant that every morning when he looked into the mirror to shave, he was reminded that the "dream" would cost him his life. It could be said that there was a certain inevitability to King's death. Likewise for Jesus, but so much more. For him, it was more than the premonition of an early death. Jesus himself knew in advance that his mission was the cross. Several times in John, he referred to "his hour" which had not yet come. In Luke, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem (9:51). In Matthew, Jesus "explained to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life" (16:21). With cosmic scope, the book of Revelation calls Jesus the "Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world" (13:8). Jesus knew where he was headed. So, would we call the cross "inevitable?" Yes and no. Yes, part of God's sovereign, eternal plan. Yet with reverence we must never assume it was automatically fulfilled. What makes Jesus' mission truly awesome was not only what he did, but how he did it. Willingly. What makes this Passover lamb unique is that he went to the slaughter by choice. "No one takes my life away from me, I lay it down of my own accord" (John 10:18). The animal sacrifices of the old covenant never knew what hit them. Jesus knew all the details of his mission in advance, and still said "yes". He took up his cross, long before dying on it. Songwriter Michael Card asks the question: "Why did they nail him to the cross? His love would have held him there." It is this radical willingness to do God's will that makes the mission of Jesus truly awesome. As we discern our mission and seek to live it out, we would do well not to try to imitate Jesus, at least at first. Holy week comes around once a year, not first to reenergize all our efforts, but to see what God has done in Christ. Just worship and adore. We sing, "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all." But before I give my soul, my life, my all, I need to see again that love which is so amazing and so divine. Then my own willingness will be more willing. At the cross. Steve Weed is pastor of Narberth Presbyterian Church in Narberth, Pa.

"His Love Would Have Kept Him There"  

Christ and Culture ePistle April 2012

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