I was reading Radical again and was struck by a paragraph in the chapter entitled “Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the Gospel.” I decided a little mini study would be fun.
Platt discusses how we often minimize Christ sufferings on the Cross. Even here at camp some preachers on Sat night preach the gospel and include the sufferings Christ went through on the Cross. I heard one preacher say something along these lines: “He was whipped and scourged until he was bleeding all over his body, He was spit on, and on top of all that He had a crown of thorns pushed into His scalp.” Now let me be clear, I do not intend to down play Christ’s physical sufferings, they are important and worthy of notice, but were there not two others hanging on similar Cross’ right next to Him? And did not Paul experience many more lashes than Christ? So why does ALL the focus stop at on His lashings and death? I believe the suffering that all too often gets looked over is found in Christ’s words after the beatings, the nails and the thorns. He cries out to His Father “WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” I am saddened that we do not discuss this more often in our presentation of the gospel and instead exalt His beatings to make us feel emotionally connected to the physical sufferings of Christ. But as Christians we will never experience what it is like to be forsaken by our Father, to drink of the cup of His wrath which He poured out upon His Son as Christ graciously paid the penalty of our sin. In fact, in Hebrews we are promised that we will never suffer to the point of blood. Platt states, “Why was he trembling in that garden, weeping and full of anguish…he was a Savior about to endure divine wrath.” Platt goes onto say that Christ plead with His Father: “may this cup be taken from me,” referring not to His sufferings on the Cross, but the cup of God’s divine wrath. This is what we must see when we look at the Cross. Beatings we may one day endure, persecution we may one day experience, but because of Christ we do not have to know the wrath of our just and loving Father.
Platt references places in scripture where this cup of wrath is mentioned:
Psalm 75:8 speaks of the cup in the hand of the Lord that He will pour out on the wicked of the earth who will drain and drink down its dregs. *I looked up the word dregs and it has the connotation of that which is stored up, like the dregs on wine, as if the Lords wrath was stored up to be released on His enemies, and later His Son for the remission of sins.
Isiah 51:22 References the Lord taking up the cup of wrath from Israel and pouring it out to torment His enemies.
Jeremiah 25:15-38 again a reference to the Lords wrath being poured out as a punishment.
As the Lord’s children we receive correction through discipline for our good that we may share in HIS holiness, but we will never have to receive the PUNISHMENT that we deserve and we will never experience to wrath that was poured out on our gracious Savior because He drank the cup in our place.
I still have much to learn and all that I know now is only because of His grace on my life. I don’t deserve the knowledge that I have and I am so thankful for His mercies that keep me close to Him. I am praying for a new view of the Cross and a further understanding of the Gospel. Not one that encompasses a decorative Cross and pictures of my bloody Savior, but one that takes into account the wrath of God that He endured to pay the penalty that I deserve so that I might gain in HIS inheritance and be righteous before Him. We must stop preaching Christ on the basis of emotional decisions provoked by a humanistic understanding of His sufferings, we must see Him in truth and embrace all aspects of the Cross, even the ones that we don’t yet fully understand.