The Rescue Mission or Parental Theology

The Rescue Mission

Monday, February 25, 2013

5:48 PM

John 19:30 - "When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished', and He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit.


I walked into my son's room last night to spend a little time with him while he was going to sleep, and right away I noticed that he had been crying.  It wasn't a huge, full blown cry but instead a soft, truly sad whether you see me or not cry.  I just looked at him and waited for him to begin the conversation, which he did.

"Daddy, is it going to rain tonight?" he said as he glanced out the window.

"I don't think so," I replied.  Instantly I knew this was more than a weather related question.  My son isn't really scared of storms much less rain, so using my keen daddy detective skills I was able to deduce that something was wrong.

"Why are you worried about it raining," I asked, hoping this would lead him to share the problem with me.

"Just wondering," and then silence.  Until he finally said, "I left my monk outside."  Monk is not a member of a Catholic monastery but rather his stuffed monkey.  I had one when I was his age and I named it the exact same thing.  Monk was left outside and he was worried about him.

I realized at that moment that I had a decision to make.  It was late, it was dark, it was getting cold, and who knew where Monk was.  It would have been easy to say, "its not going to rain, I’ll find Monk tomorrow."  But that isn't what he needed.  He needed Monk to be rescued.  So I said, "don't be upset, I'll go find Monk."  As I said those words I was nervous, what if I can't find him, then what?  But out the door I went.

I turned on the flashlight on my phone and I began the search.  I looked on the steps, on the walk, on the picnic table, on the patio, but I couldn't find Monk.  So I went into the grass and I searched high and low, still to no avail.  One more place I thought, the swing set, and so I shined my light on the ladder leading to the swing set's play house and there Monk sat.  Honestly he was sitting on that ladder looking like he was waiting to be rescued.  So I scooped him up with a smile on my face and brought him back in.  Monk was rescued and so was the night as my son smiled from ear to ear and went to bed happy.

Later on that night I went to bed as well, and I thought about what had happened.  I hadn't done anything really but what little bit I did put a smile on my son's face because Monk was rescued.  It didn't take long to complete but it was an important rescue mission because it made a difference to my son.

2000 years ago there was a much more important rescue mission (infinitely more important in fact), as Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God come in the flesh went to the cross to redeem fallen humanity.  It was an event that changed the course of history and it was an event that made an eternal and everyday difference in the lives of the children of God. 

You and I were slaves to sin, to fear, to death, and to hell, that is until Jesus came and rescued us.  The Bible uses many other terms to describe what happed; Jesus redeemed us, Jesus was the propitiation for our sins, Jesus forgave us, Jesus expiated our sins.  He did all of that and more.  He truly set us free, He truly rescued us. 

When He bowed His head on the cross and said, "it is finished", Jesus wasn't admitting defeat.  Instead He was proclaiming victory.  Victory because He had fulfilled and finished God, the Father's plan.  Victory because He was getting ready to conquer death and hell.  Victory because He had redeemed us and set us free. 

Notice that the Bible says He gave up His Spirit.  He gave it up willingly they didn't take it from Him.  At any moment Jesus could have rescued Himself and come down from the cross.  In fact some of the soldiers mocked Him and said, "if you truly are the Christ then come down from the cross and save yourself."  But of course He didn't.  Why not? Because if He had rescued Himself He couldn't have rescued us (D.A. Carson calls that one of the ironies of the cross).

Jesus could have been selfish.  He could have chosen to save Himself, but He didn't.  Why not? Because saving us was that important. 

One new theologian (I use the term loosely) said that Jesus dying on the cross amounted to "cosmic child abuse."  He would be 100% wrong.  It wasn't abuse because Jesus willingly chose to go to the cross, and He could have chosen to come down at any point.  He chose the way of the cross, God the Father didn't forcefully put Him there.  Jesus went willingly.  That is why the Bible says, "He endured the shame of the cross for the joy set before Him (my paraphrase)" 

Jesus willingly chose to go to the cross.  He willingly chose not to rescue Himself, so He could rescue you and me.  Jesus is the Lamb of God who took away the "sins of the world" when He conducted the most important rescue mission in history and He redeemed us from our sins.