(Friends, this one is a bit longer than usual, and thanks for your patience. Thanks, Glen)
"The Most Holy Ground"
I recently read a book in which a hurting believer cried out to the Lord, "I know You know what it's like to lose somebody, Your Son. But that was only for three days!"
The believer regretted making the statement, knowing that he really didn't experience the grief of loss more than did God when the Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died at Calvary. However, I don't think he really understood how or why he was so very wrong. Scripture calls us to the most holy ground of that understanding, on which we must tread reverently and respectfully.
God, as an eternal, "from everlasting to everlasting being," has always existed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. "I am the Lord. I change not" (Psalm 90:2; Malachi 3:6). Before the creation of angels, the universe, and human beings, our triune Lord dwelt in the Divine perfection of loving relationship and fellowship. The Lord Jesus Christ referenced this existence just before He went to the cross - "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" (John 17:5). Such perfect relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit makes it almost surprising that the determination was made to create. God had no need. He did not make things because He was bored. He did not form the hearts and minds of conscious beings because He was lonely. He rather created all things for His pleasure, the nature of which we do not fully know, especially when we realize that terrible sorrow would also come to Him because He made angels and humans (Revelation 4:11; Genesis 6:7).
The sorrow we reference primarily involves the necessity of the Lord Jesus becoming human for our sakes, and then suffering the most ignominious of deaths in order that we might be redeemed. In becoming a man., our Lord left His Father in Heaven. Certainly the Father was with Him during His earthly sojourn, and the Holy Spirit dwelt within Him. However, becoming human and coming to earth inevitably imposed limitations in the Divine fellowship heretofore unknown. Moreover, the day would come when the Father would execute the full fury of His wrath against sin by smiting His Son with sorrows untold, and a forsakenness that would cause the Lord Jesus to know utterly abandoned loneliness.
"Surely He hath born our griefs and carried our sorrows. Yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God" (Isaiah 53:4).
"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?!" (Matthew 27:46).
Of course, God raised His Son from the dead three days later. The Lord Jesus went back to Heaven triumphantly forty days later. He was received and honored by His Father with "a Name that is above every name" and the exalted position of "King of kings and Lord of Lords" (Philippians 2:9; Revelation 19:16). However, our Savior did not go back to exactly the same relationship He had known with His Father in the eternal recesses of "from everlasting." He returned to Heaven still bearing the scars of His travail at Calvary. "And One shall say to Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends" (Zechariah 13:6). We can only imagine what it did and what it does in the heart of the Father to look upon those injuries, suffered "by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). Three days of sorrow in the Divine Godhead? That is not the case, nor will it ever be. Indeed, perhaps the Lord Jesus retains His wounds to symbolize that a cross will always exist in the heart of God, namely, the eternal realization of Calvary's horrors made necessary by the love of God and our great need.
Finally, it is also true that the Lord Jesus did not return to Heaven for the purpose of reestablishing the relationship He has always known with His Father and the Holy Spirit. He rather goes back as a Son espoused to a bride, the body of Christ. He loves His Father and the Spirit no less, of course, but His loving attention also looks toward the church. "He ever liveth to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 7:25). Perhaps this is why human husbands are called to the holy sacrifice of "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). In His own and far greater way, this is the sacrifice made by the Lord Jesus, and by the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Relationship that constituted the triune God no longer exists in the way it once did. Our need and the cross made sure of that. Certainly the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit still exist as the one, true living God. Perfect love continues to flow between the wondrous, glorious Persons. However, something that once existed in God no longer is. Again, we tread carefully and reverently on this most holy ground. We must nevertheless realize that the sorrows of Calvary involve more, far more, than three days can ever encompass. The perfect blessedness, glory, and devotion of "from everlasting" was forever sacrificed in order that the prayer of the Lord Jesus for us might be answered at the highest cost imaginable to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to bless us with the glory of "to everlasting" in the love of God…
"He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all… "It pleased the Lord to bruise Him. He hath put Him to grief."
(Isaiah 53:5-6; 10)
"And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them."
Weekly Memory Verse
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.