19:32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
The soldiers thought their job was to make sure Jesus was dead. They thought He needed to be killed. They thought His life was in their hands...
It's amazing how strong our desire is to be right yet how often we are wrong. The truth is we are often 180 degrees from the Truth. I am actually starting to realize that it is our desire to be right that often blinds us to seeing and hearing the Truth.
It seems a simple mistake. The difference between thinking Jesus was killed versus Him giving His life is a mere technicality it would appear. But is it?
Abel worshiped God by offering a lamb on an altar. Cain worshiped God by offering garden produce on his altar. Seems such a small difference. Again a mere technicality perhaps? After all they were both worshiping God and it's the heart that counts right?
The soldiers were right there when Jesus died yet they had no idea what was happening. They stuck a spear in His side to ensure He was dead. They didn't understand...
Understand what? What didn't Cain understand? What have most people missed throughout the centuries and millenia? Do you remember how the disciples reacted when Jesus announced He was going to die? Weren't they there when John the Baptist said of Jesus "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world."? Didn't they just eat the Passover meal? Didn't they understand what happened to the lambs? Didn't they grow up reading Genesis 22 where Isaac was saved from death by the ram who took his place? Didn't they perceive in Isaiah 53 the suffering and death of the One who though innocent would die in the place of the guilty?
Clearly they didn't. My favourite author describes the centuries of the Israelites offering animals on altars as an act of worship this way: "The sacrifices that should have revealed His love were offered instead to appease His wrath."
All those centuries, all those animals, all that blood spilled in vain. They were right there and missed the entire point. Cain was not rejected on a technicality. Cain's offering was rejected because it clearly demonstrated Cain had no idea what he was doing. It was clear Cain thought he was offering something to God instead of realizing the whole act was symbolic of what God would one day do for him.
God did not give His Son to appease His own wrath. He gave His Son to reveal to us His love. This is why religion has done so much harm in the world. We have completely misunderstood the Story. We think God is making demands on us rather than seeing and hearing the Truth, that true religion is about what God has done, is doing, and will do for all people.
Trying to kill the One who came to die. It shows how backwards we have it. It's like insisting on paying for a gift. It's like trying to force someone to love us or obey us. It's all backwards. It all destroys the very intent of the Truth.
They could not kill Him because He had already given His life and all that was left was blood and water. We'll talk about that tomorrow.
My New Year resolution is to find every way I can to reframe the Story into the Gift that it has always been - Good News! Why? Because if history is full of people worshiping yet have the whole Story backwards is it not possible that many or most going in and out of churches, synagogues and mosques today have it all backwards too? Is it possible that the secret to ending the war on terror and bringing down bad religion is to infuse Truth where darkness and error have so long ruled the day?