Thursday, February 28, 2008

Crucified Redeemer

“The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:38-39 (NIV)

Epitimao is a Greek word meaning “to rap on the knuckles” as to reprimand and appears several times throughout Mark's text. According to Mark, the miracles of Jesus do not define Him as Messiah, rather His essential suffering and death on the cross. In the death of Jesus, His glory is revealed as Messiah, Redeemer of all, Son of God. Through these words of Mark, I begin to focus on Christ’s suffering and crucifixion, not just His glorious resurrection.

Oswald Chambers writes:
"The Cross of Christ is the revealed truth of God's judgement on sin.
. . . The Cross was the place where God and sinful man merged with a tremendous collision . . . But all the cost and pain of the collision was absorbed by the heart of God." *


Centuries ago, a man of God called Mark inscribed a great work.
Written in his native Greek, this first edition served as a reference
For other scribes who penned the story.
And, hence, became a polyglot classic.
Little is known about this enlightened composer of images,
The recorder of the Messianic secret.
To most, the beauty of his literary genius remains obscured by candid, woven narration.
Theologians echo, “Epitimao, for they are dull.”

It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
He was despised and rejected by men,
A man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering . . .
For he bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.”

As the Master instructed his students, he spoke of the Kingdom of God,
While his students chattered about a kingdom.
Teaching them of things to come, the Master described the betrayal, suffering, and death of the Son of Man,
While his students argued about poIitical appointments by an earthly king.
As predicted, betrayal followed by denial, became the Master’s fate.
Alone with his captors, the Master was beaten, mocked, and crucified.
At last, the beauty of his divinity was revealed,
Unveiled by a violent and cruel death.

Centuries have passed: the victorious Good News endures.
Translators polished the original Greek classic.
Yet echoes of Mark rend the air,
Epitimao those who stand amazed in the presence of a risen Savior,
And have not stood mute at the foot of the cross.
Epitimao, for they are dull.” ~ dho

Lord ~ In my boldness to profess Your glory, I forget the pain. I hear Epitimao! In immense humility, I fall to my knees with wordless intention, but cannot truly know the depth of suffering You endured.
Reveal my sin that drives the nails into Your flesh. Reveal the Cross that breathes new life into my soul. Reveal the cost. Reveal the Love. ~ dho

* Oswald Chambers, from "My Utmost for His Highest", April 6, updated edition