Today I received a letter shoved in our door frame from our apartment management office.
It asked us, in no uncertain terms, if we would please not leave our cigarette butts lying all over the ground by our apartment building, as it is “very unsightly and a serious fire hazard.”
I agree with the reasons.
However, the eager deliverer failed to notice that the apartment # on the envelope did not match our apartment #. He meant to deliver it to our neighbors on the ground floor.
“It wasn’t us!,” I wanted to say. So I wrote a light-hearted but clarifying email to our apartment office, explaining the little mishap and the fact that, um, we don’t smoke.
I’m not guilty.
I didn’t do it.
Clear my name!
Don’t misunderstand me.
One of the saddest things to me is when I hear stories of people who have been falsely accused of some heinous crime and sent away to prison for DECADES before evidence of their innocence finally emerges.
Oh! Can you imagine??!
Did you see that movie, The Hurricane?
In When God Weeps, the book I’m reading, there is a page that just pierced me to the core the other day.
It describes when God poured out ALL his wrath (I shudder to think) on Jesus for ALL of mankind’s specific sins.
It was gut-wrenching thinking about Him paying a horrendous penalty for horrendous moral failings and crimes that HE DIDN’T DO!
The power of the Gospel became new to me again in that moment.
Here’s an excerpt that’s worth reading to the end:
[Jesus] begins to feel a foreign sensation. Somewhere during this day an unearthly foul odor began to waft, not around his nose, but his heart. He feels dirty. Human wickedness starts to crawl upon his spotless being – the living excrement from our souls. The apple of his Father’s eye turns brown with rot.
His Father! He must face his Father like this!
From heaven the Father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes his mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross. Never has the Son seen the Father look at him so, never felt even the least of his hot breath. But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognize these eyes.
“Son of Man! Why have you behaved so? You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped — murdered, envied, hated, lied. You have cursed, robbed, overspent, overeaten — fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh, the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned! Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name? Have you ever held your razor tongue? What a self-righteous, pitiful drunk — you, who molest young boys, peddle killer drugs, travel in cliques, and mock your parents. Who gave you the boldness to rig elections, foment revolutions, torture animals, and worship demons? Does the list never end! Splitting families, raping virgins, acting smugly, playing the pimp — buying politicians, practicing extortion, filming pornography, accepting bribes. You have burned down buildings, perfected terrorist tactics, founded false religions, traded in slaves — relishing each morsel and bragging about it all. I hate, I loathe these things in you! Disgust for everything about you consumes me! Can you not feel my wrath?”
Of course the Son is innocent. He is blamelessness itself. The Father knows this. But the divine pair have an agreement, and the unthinkable must now take place. Jesus will be treated as if personally responsible for every sin ever committed.
The Father watches as his heart’s treasure, the mirror-image of himself, sinks drowning in raw, liquid sin. Jehovah’s stored rage against humankind from every century explodes in a single direction.
“Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?!”
But heaven stops its ears. The Son stares up at the One who cannot, who will not, reach down or reply.
The Trinity planned it. The Son endured it. The Spirit enabled him. The Father rejected the Son whom he loved. Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, perished. The Father accepted his sacrifice for sin and was satisfied. The Rescue was accomplished…
This is who asks us to trust him when he calls on us to suffer.