[This is an edited version from a post in 2007; Father’s Day]
“When the father is going on in his journey, if the child will not go on, but stands gaping upon vanity, and when the father calls, he comes not, the only way is this: the father steps aside behind a bush, and then the child runs and cries, and if he gets his father again, he forsakes all his trifles, and walks on more faster and more cheerfully with his father than ever.” -(Thomas Hooker;Puritan Pastor, 1586-1647)
I lost my earthly father about 10-15 years or so ago. I did not know much about my father, except that he was a musician and a bank manager, since he and Mom divorced when I was on the brink of celebrating my boyhood in my early teens. Very few memories linger in my heart upon which I can cherish my father’s life today.
Yet, I cannot imagine the spiritual depths of the child-like cry of Christ on the Cross in brokenness. This meek and humble Christ, a holy and just God, who “knew no sin” came to be stripped, laid bare, naked, shamed,mocked, disdained, whipped and crucified alive on the Cross. His back was torn from scourging, his face swollen from punching and full of spittle from mockery; his head bloodied by the crown of thorns; his hands and feet mangled with the nails; his side pierced with a large spear and was shamefully naked as he screamed with a “loud cry.”
Who would not scream in agony when nails are driven through their hands and feet? It ought to have been your hands and feet (and mine). It is our sin that killed him. We were there when they shouted with abomination and slogans of hatred, “CRUCIFY HIM, CRUCIFY HIM.!” Love and Godly sorrow for the world mingled when he cried like a desperate child longing for his father’s embrace, “Father, Father why hast thou forsaken Me?” Something utterly dark and terrible happened at that moment of loneliness; that moment of silence from God the father; pouring out His divine wrath upon His spotless son in our place. “From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land” (Matthew 27:45). The darkness began at about our 12 o’clock at noon, and lasted until three o’clock in the afternoon. Dr. Mac Arthur says:
“This is mid-day, high noon, the sun at its apex in the middle of the sky, blazing brightness, instantaneously pitch blackness. The sun goes out. There’s no moon. There are no stars. Pitch black. You can’t even imagine the shock. Can’t imagine it. They knew what they had been doing…mocking, blaspheming. And all of a sudden in an eerie, frightening, panicking, disturbing moment, shattering their security, sobering their frivolous minds, without warning their world goes pitch black. No electricity, only those…. little oil lamps with a floating wick and nobody had those in the middle of the day. It falls over the whole land. We don’t know how far. Calvary, Jerusalem, Judea, we don’t know how far. But it engulfed that nation.”
Hell suffered when He triumphed over them by the means of shedding his untainted blood (Colossians 2: 15). Our curse became His curse so that we could stand before God the father and say through the Holy spirit: “ABBA, Father.” God receives his glory when his children prayerfully cry in unison, “Our Father who art in heaven; HALLOWED be your name!” Imagine such a praise echoing throughout the nations! How sweet and pleasant would it be in His hears!
And finally, like that little child in the beginning that “stands gaping upon vanity, and when the father calls, he comes not,” the prodigal son said to himself,
“I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father SAW him and was filled with COMPASSION for him; he ran to his son, EMBRACED him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate” [Luke 15: 18-23].
Imagine, how the child came to his senses, repents and approaches his father in brokenness over the horrors of his own sins. Only this time, he finds deeper joy and satisfaction in his father’s company that no silver, gold or earthly riches could ever replace. Although he is “no longer worthy,” to be called a son, the father calls him worthy because of the sacrifice Christ paid on the cross. Wow! How beautiful the Gospel is!