Manna (What is it?)
I passed by a church today and just barely caught the name it was called “Echos of Calvary”…I thought it a really strange name for a church.
Oh I understand the sentiment behind the name, but logic makes the sentiment seem out of place.
What was Calvary? Was it some romantic place where the Son bore our sins and made us clean?
That seems to be the common emotion and connection and I would never take lightly any sense of gratitude or humility this posture affords us…but lately as I delve deeper in to Soteriology (the study of salvation) I am becoming convinced that we have been viewing Calvary from Adams eyes and not Heavens…and Adams eyes are dirty and out of focus.
If I were to name a coffee shop or a musicians club “Recordings of Executions from Alcatraz” it would raise eyebrows and images of something Gothic and dark, but that is essentially what Calvary is, it was a place for criminal executions, a public hanging spot, a reminder of the power of Rome over rebels.
It was highly political, it would be the equivalent of turning Guantanamo into an execution site with international broadcasts of firing squads to warn all enemies of the United States that we do not play around…that is what Calvary was.
Calvary was the apex of mans power in military and religion coming together to make a point, “We have the power” respect it or die.
So why do we see it differently than it is?
Well in part it is the lenses of Adam, we feel intimately connected to a God who would bear our sins and it makes us tender and emotional to think about…he’s carrying my sin, bearing my punishment, it is highly personal because no one knows your sin better than you…well no one except Jesus, because frankly he became your sin…he didn’t just wear it, he was it.
He became pornography, and gluttony, and back-biting, and adultery and embezzlement and greed and murder and hatred and racism and…well all of it.
And we see all these things deserve some kind of retribution and it makes us afraid.
But like I said the lenses of Adam are foggy and twisted, they see God as reluctant and punitive, even in the cross we have this idea that the Father is punishing the Son for our misdeeds, the cross makes us love Jesus but keeps us at a safe distance from the Father, and who knows what the Holy Spirit is doing there, He just seems to be standing around watching the whole thing with His wings in his pockets…or at best covering the Sun with darkness.
But let me give you perhaps a different view for just a minute…entertain me here…
I deserve this
What if every blow on the back of Jesus (for our healing) was the nature of Adam saying, “No you can’t rescue me”…”I deserve to be punished, I deserve to be sick, its my own fault”...and Jesus won’t relent, he just keeps on coming?
What if every plucked beard hair and blow to his face and groin was mankind saying “Get away you frighten me I cannot be around you, get back you scare me” or for the mature among us, “This is my own fault, I did it, yes I know its wrong but its to late the damage is done, you best just get over me I’m finished”…and yet God the Father in Jesus is saying “I won’t leave you, do your worst you will see I cannot be driven away by your madness”…?
We sing that he could have called 10,000 Angels, but to deliver him from what? Certainly not the Father, would the Father have sent angels if he was currently punishing sin? It seems a little schizophrenic of God to even suggest it.
It was us he needed deliverance from…it was your fear of God, my fear of retribution, our fear in the garden of religion where we have been hiding…but what are we hiding from with all our worship songs, and tithes and offerings and servitude?
Have you ever wondered why Adam hid? There was nothing in his experience that suggested the Father would punish him, no the issue came from inside, much like my last blog where I suggest the remedy for sin must be an inside job, the issue of fear is ALWAYS an inside job.
Adam was waiting for the shoe to drop, the stuff to hit the fan, the hammer to fall, he had slapped God across the face and knew it, sin was not some casual trip up, it was a spit in the eye, a slap in the face a betrayal…it was…well everything that happened on the way to Calvary when you think about it.
Calvary was the fall of man personified.
It was Adams rebellion focused on a target that refused to move out of the way.
Jesus set his face like flint to go to Jerusalem…
And with every blow by a Roman Centurions whip, or jab in the ribs with the handle of a sword, or knee to the gut mankind was screaming, “You scare me, get the hell away from me, I am unworthy and your Glory is dangerous and this thing is to far gone, GIVE UP GOD, PLEASE STOP PURSUING ME!…and then a long line of curse words calling him the vilest names we can come up with…
That is what a broken covenant looks like…it is “I not only do NOT choose you, I demand you stop pursuing me you freak”…
I have seen up close the pain of adultery, been the victim and frankly its not the infidelity that gets you the deepest its the loss of your best friend…Psalm 41 will prophesy how Jesus felt by saying “My own safe friend, I trusted and ate with (the word Shalom is used here to describe them)…it is he that has lifted up his heel against me”…
Nothing cuts your soul quite like the betrayal of intimate friends…and nothing compares to when a best friend treats you as dead and worthless…nothing…I can tell you from experience which hurts worse, catching someone in bed can be explained, but a best friend betraying you…there is no answer to that pain.
And yet…he keeps coming…unrelenting…step after step…beaten and broken, abandoned and betrayed…and still God pushes on to cut the covenant with you.
He is demonstrating that breaking covenant will not happen on His watch…and He never sleeps…you can break it all you want, but He holds the pieces and has a thousand ways to put it back together better than it was.
Heaven watched in utter disbelief as God attempts to make a way for us to come back to Him, and we do our best to stop him at every step of the way.
We align the best and brightest warriors, the purest and noblest preachers all standing in opposition to God as he makes his way towards us…step by bloody step up Calvary to make a covenant with us that cannot be broken…and our excuses our weaknesses everyone of them hired guns spit at God and say this is not going to work…and yet He comes…showing that God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit ALL remained vulnerable even after Adam…they refuse to pick up a weapon and defend their reputation from your fear, my doubt, our unbelief…Love just stands there and says “I’m not going anywhere do your worst”.
I was in a restaurant recently that was filled up with strangers and as I waited for my order I heard God say to me: “There are lots of believers in this room but only one person with assurance, can you spot her?”
God knows I love a mystery, but also that I need clues hence the clue it would be a “her”…I gazed around the room…and everyone looked the same, detached, non-committed, passive and doing what I was doing…simply waiting around…and that was when I spotted her…she was a blur…running around without a care in the world, exploring a room full of strangers without the slightest sense of fear or concern, jumping off of steps and swinging from handrails…a little four year old girl…with what we all were missing…assurance.
When you begin to see the cross from heavens perspective…it will give you assurance and make you feel safe with the Father…you will be able to run around and explore life once more without fear…it won’t matter if your food is getting cold or where your parents are because you will feel safe and be able to play until you get hungry and even then you won’t worry because you know your needs have already been handled by love.
Calvary is best seen through heavens lens and not our skewed Adamic nature…
How will you know which view you are in?
When you become convinced that nothing could stop God from getting to you, no amount of cussing, no amount of hitting at him, no amount of turning your back and denying he is there…nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus…
Then you will feel assured…and safe…and it will be ok to be vulnerable…you can open up to people and play and have joy and laugh…
Assurance is how you will know.
If there is any echo of Calvary in heaven it is the echo of joy and laughter when Jesus declared “It is finished”…the covenant had been cut and our best efforts at failure have failed…the shouts of joy as Heaven peered into that moment and saw…
Could stop Gods love…