William J. Stewart | Faces Surrounding Calvary
We have looked at several individuals and their relationship to and significance surrounding the cross of Calvary. It would be an injustice if we were to neglect focusing at least one of our articles on the One by whom the plan of salvation was devised. God, the Father in heaven brought about the topic on which we have focused for this series of articles. If it were not for His love and concern for man, Calvary would have been just another countryside hill.
By the good grace of God, we have been given the opportunity to partake of the choicest of blessings. The greatest of these is that of salvation full and free. His own love and sincere concern for His creation caused Him to devise a way by which man could again come to a right relationship with Him. Our sin, an abomination before Him, had separated us from Him, as the prophet Isaiah reminds us, and thus, we needed a solution to sin.
God provided. From before time began, the Almighty, knowing that man would sin, and desiring that we again be His children, instituted a plan by which we could have our sins removed. In like manner of the Old Testament sacrificial lamb, He provided for all a Sacrificial Lamb, the Lamb of God. Jesus, the central figure at Calvary in many ways (not only was He on the center cross, but to those who know Him, He has become the center and fullness of life itself), was given to die in our stead, and to become the bearer of our sins.
The picture is vivid as we look at Calvary. Jesus, desiring to fulfill the will of His Father, and wanting to see the redemption of man, endured all sorts of hostility, anger and beatings. He bore the cross on His back. At the hill of Calvary, His hands and feet were nailed to the cross, and He was lifted up. Sometime, within the next six hours, a cry was heart, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” Of all the readings one might do in Scripture, these words may cause some confusion. One might be compelled to ask, why did the Father forsake the Son at some a time as this?
The reason is rather simple. As put by the apostle Paul, “…He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” God had to turn His back on His own Son. I cannot begin to imagine the pain which accompanied such an act as this, but it was necessary for the redemption of man.
To appreciate the relationship held between the Father and the Son, recall the words spoken by Jesus in prayer to the Father. He referred to Himself and the Father as One, for such they were. The Father had to turn away from His own Son, the One with whom He was One. Upon this One was placed our sin, and thus, He had to turn away. We’ve all had hard things to do in our time, but we must ever come to appreciate this act of love and mercy granted by the Father. He turned from His perfect Son, that He might be able to look at us, sinful men and women. How marvelous and special that is.
After Jesus had died and rose the third day, according to Scriptures, we see a wonderful event taking place. We see Jesus going home. He spends some time with His disciples, eating a meal of fish with some, giving them encouragement and instruction, and then we are aware that He returned to the Father in heaven. He went home. What a joy it must have been in heaven when Jesus again entered that wonderful realm. What an event it must have been to have the Son again with His Father. His task was done. He had fulfilled the will of the Father. He had done what He was sent to do.
I’m sure we can all recall a time when we were out of town for some needed purpose. It is truly an enjoyable time when we are able to say we have finished that which is required of us, and are going home. No doubt, Jesus was overjoyed to have the opportunity to return again to the right hand of the Father. He was glad to go home.
Someday, you and I will have that opportunity to go home. What father is not overwhelmed to have his children come home. God is no different. He awaits our coming home. We have things to do while here, but such a time as is right, we too will be able to go home.
We must grab hold of the example given us. Jesus came to serve the Father and then He went home. Let us be of the same mind, that the will of God might be at the forefront of our daily thoughts and conversation. And when the time is right and our work here is done, we too will enter the heavenly realm.