Fractured at the sight of Christ
Paul Washer’s post on The Preeminent Christ
My burden in writing this book was not for the reader primarily. Rather, Christ deserves to be written about. I’m only ashamed that I wrote so poorly—this is why I quote so much from church history. And I want everyone to see that all the great theologians in writing about Christ simply wanted to throw down their pens, walk away, and hide in a cave. They could only stammer. But you see—about what other subject can you say this? If we could even catch in our humanness just one glimpse of Christ’s beauty, it would fracture us. I wrote this book because I have to write. You cannot see the beauty of Christ and not tell everybody.
The Otherness of Christ
“And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.’ And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, ‘If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.’ And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my garments?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’ While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, ‘Talitha cumi,’ which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’ And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.” – Mark 5:21-43 (ESV)
He who knew no sin
Should we be inclined to allude to an individual as “he who knew no sin,” then let it be known that none only Christ himself would befit such a lofty title. Emperors who built dynasties, conquerors, kings and rulers, men who fought lions with their bare hands, geniuses who calculate the mass of stars from concrete labs – who can declare that they have known no sin. No one! None!
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” – Hebrews 4:15 (ESV)
What does it mean to say Christ was tempted in every way? Paul tells the Roman church about “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh” in Romans 8:3.
Now let’s see what we do with our flesh:
- Did you skip prayer on any of the days this week? You have sinned
- Were you not diligent in your bible reading this week? You have sinned
- Were you angry or bitter towards anyone this week? You have sinned
- When problems of life showed up in work or personal life, did you forget to take them to God in prayer? You have sinned
- Children were you not obedient to your parents? You have sinned
- Parents, did you discipline your children out of anger? You have sinned
- Church attendees, did you pray for your fellow church attendees this week? No? You have sinned
- Did you make it a point to plan your week such that you can attend every meeting of the church? No? You have sinned
- Did you make it to the Lord’s Day service today morning on time for the congregational prayer? No? You have sinned
- Throughout this week did you conquer every temptation by bringing it to the feet of Christ? No? You have sinned
- Husbands and fathers, did you make it a point to lead the family in family prayer every day of the week? If not, you have sinned
- Young men, did you look at porn? You have sinned
“What is the greatest commandment? Is it not to love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength? Have you loved the Lord with such devotion in the past week? Have you ever loved the Lord with such intensity? Would you be willing to go to the prayer room and say, “Lord, be glorified, even if it means obliterating me from existence?”
Do you not see?
All you know is Sin – Jesus knew no Sin!
As the Puritan Thomas Watson rightly puts it:
“He could not be subject to sin, for his nature was pure and holy. His nature was not only pure, but his heart was also pure. He never entertained the least inclination to sin” – Thomas Watson, “The Duty of Self-Denial” (Hebrews 4:15)
Forget sinning. He didn’t even entertain the least inclination to sin.
Colossians 1:15 says Jesus is “the image of the invisible God”. Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being”. 2 Corinthians 4:6 says that the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God [is] in the face of Jesus Christ”. Fathers and mothers love to hear that their children look like them. When they look at their faces and see their reflection it brings much joy to their hearts. And yet that is just a facial resemblance. When the Father looks at the face of Jesus Christ, he sees his exact imprint. Go out and look at the sun in the sky. You won’t be able to bear the intensity with which the rays strike you. Much more powerful is the father’s holiness. When sinners like us come face to face with it we are but forced to bring our heads down and pray that we won’t be destroyed. Yet when the father looks at his Son, he sees a perfect reflection of himself. It is as though, the sun met with another sun. The rays, the radiance, the power, and the glory are all reflected back. The Son reflects the perfect white hot, pure, glory of God. The father is pleased in him! His heart is elated!
There is a white-hot purity in the Godhead that is unknown to us.
Now listen to this. This is the scandal of the gospel:
Domestic violence is an evil sin. A man who raises his hand against his wife and children should be ashamed of himself. He’s a coward and needs to be reported to the police. But imagine a habitual wife beater repents and believes in Jesus Christ.
Imagine a child molester. An evil man that you wouldn’t let your children anywhere near. A man who through his vile deeds destroys lives and families. Leaves children with mental traumas to live with throughout their life. Now imagine this man running into church on a Sunday morning to avoid the rain. The preacher preaches the gospel and something happens in this vile man’s heart. The word penetrates and breaks the heart of rock. This man weeps and repents and confesses Christ.
Now imagine the beautiful perfect Son on the cross. On that fateful day, Father looked at his beloved Son. His Son – who reflected the perfect glory. And he saw a wife-beater and a child molester instead.
He who knew no sin was made to be sin.
Forget the accounts of the vilest men on the planet for once.
Father looked at the Son and saw something despicable. Do you know what he saw? He saw you.
“No one takes it [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:18 (ESV)
Listen to this Thomas Goodwin quote
“Christ went willingly to the cross. It was his love for us that made him embrace it, and his obedience to his Father’s will that carried him through it. He was not dragged to the cross, nor did he go to it reluctantly. He said, ‘No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord’ (John 10:18).”
It’s crucial to understand the story of two trees and Two Adams to understand his heart for you
“19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:19-24
Out of Adam’s rib, his bride was created and look at the world’s first poem being written. Adam breaks forth in a song when his eyes met with Eve. HIS RIB, HIS FLESH, OH SO PRECIOUS TO HIM!
But at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam sins. And a terrified Adam, after bringing destruction on mankind, says this to God
“The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” – Genesis 3:12-13 (ESV)
See what happened there? He threw Eve under the bus.
Antithesis of 2 Cor 5:21: For his own sake, Adam who knew his sin, put his sin upon his bride, so he may appear to be righteous before God.
Do you see what’s happening there?
“The first Adam finds a suitable helper in his bride and writes the world’s first song for her and calls her his flesh of flesh. He willfully sins at the tree and invites death and destruction. He blames his bride and hides his naked flesh from the flesh of his flesh.
[Christ] The second Adam cleanses his bride and loves her though she can be of no help to Him. He writes the greatest love song ever, the song of songs for her. He willfully takes her sin at the tree and defeats death and destruction. He purifies His bride by making her eat of His flesh and drink of His blood.”
Adam wanted to put all the blemish of the sin upon his flesh and bone, literally his rib.
“But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.” – John 19:34
Christ was pierced on the Cross while he was cleansing his bride (the church). And water flew out of his side, over his rib, cleansing his rib, his flesh of flesh and bone of bones.
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25)
“Look unto the hill my soul, look unto the hill where your Lord was crucified. Behold your sovereign emptied and cursed. Hung on a tree of shame, crowned with your disgrace. Look at His pierced ribs pouring out the fountain of life. When the fire of Father’s fury struck Him, our saviour took it all unto Himself. He drank every drop of pure divine wrath on your behalf. And as you stand before the throne room, covered by His righteous robe, remember that he lay naked as they cast lots for his clothes.”