Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Beyond the likeness of human . . .

Reading in Isaiah today, and this verse caught my eye:

Isaiah 52:14, "His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man, and his form marred beyond human likeness."

And it kind of stuck in my craw. Not the verse itself, but the way some preachers like to sensationalize the cross event. The way they play it up. You know what I mean, those guys who make out like Jesus had more physical pain inflicted on him than any man before or since.

Now I just don't think that's true. Certainly execution by cross was horrible and painful. After all, that's where the word excruciating (ex crucae, "from the cross") came from. But one man's pain from flagellation and then crucifixion would likely be as excruciating as the next. And yet you occasionally hear some guy who focuses on the pain and the disfigurement of Christ as though it were entirely unique in the experience of humankind.

It just makes me think, because it's not the extremity of Christ's pain that saves us, but the extremity of His sacrifice. It's not the sensationalism of His suffering, but the purpose of His passion. Whether He shed one drop of blood or buckets, it makes no difference. The difference is that He did it for me . . . despite every bit of obvious evidence that I am unworthy, He chose to suffer the indignity of those wounds for me.