Melody From The Cross
The Son of God showed us the way to worship from the cross and became the Chief Worshiper leading the angels in heaven and His Church on the earth in worship of God the Father.

Melody From The Cross

        Just before moving to the Gethsemane Park Lord Jesus’ saying that the ‘spirit is ready but the flesh is weak’ is almost like a taunt to the devil for the Lord always was in total control over His body, soul and spirit. It was this that made Him oblivious to the pain of the scourging and made Him turn to warn the ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ to worry about their children’s future rather than crying for Him. Even when every breath on the cross was an ordeal, He considered seeking pardon for those who had put Him there more important. Not only did He arrange for the future care of His mother but also answered the faith filled cry of the criminal on the adjoining cross. When the darkness of the sins of humanity was being heaped upon Him and even the just God had turned His face away, the Lord worshiped the LORD by singing hymns of praise before offering Himself as the atoning sacrifice.  

          Is Abraham’s testing a precursor to the cross? – The story of Abraham being asked by God to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice on mount Moriah is called ‘Aqedat Yitzac’ or ‘The Binding’. There are various interpretations of the same by different set of people.

          The Jewish perspective – The Jews have different versions about the reason for this demand by God. In the first version, firstly, death was never a possibility for Abraham and God and Isaac was only ‘to be raised up as an offering’ and also that this act was to teach mankind that human sacrifice was never going to be acceptable to God (Jeremiah 19:5). The second perspective  is that Abraham complied with God’s command to test God, after arguing with God to save lives in Sodom and that Abraham was putting pressure on God to act in a moral way to preserve life (Genesis 18).  Abraham told his servant to stay ‘the boy and I will go to worship and come back’ and the act of offering was perceived by Abraham as a call to worship only (Gen 22:5). The third interpretation is that Abraham’s willingness shows the limit of humanity’s capability to love and fear God and secondly, that he acted on the faith in the prophesy of Isaac being his heir a defining truth as value of prophesy or revelation. Thirdly that is was an act to silence Satan’s protest before God that Abraham had not brought any offering to God after Isaac was born and finally to prove that he is the true God-fearing man.

         The Christian view – Firstly that Abraham acted in faith that God would resurrect his son in fulfillment of prophesy of Gen 21:12 (Hebrew 11:17-19) and secondly that this event prefigured the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross as a symbolic event. The indicator symbols are placing of wood on Isaac’s shoulders; the act of   sacrificial offering being on the third day of the journey and Isaac being referred to as his only son whom he loves (Genesis 22:2;4;6;12 &16).

       The Muslim view is that Ishmael was the sacrificial offering and on being told about this command of God, the son willingly offered himself to fulfill God’s command. As a result God rewarded Abraham with the righteous son Isaac and promised more rewards and this day is celebrated as Eid-al-Adah by offering animal sacrifice.                   

        The actual reason and origin of this and the sacrifice on the cross is from the first three chapters of Genesis where the creation of all else was completed before man and everything was external and visible in tangible form. God created man from dust and God breathed ‘ruach’ or breath or spirit into Him and with this God put part of Himself inside man to be internal to mankind. Therefore to know and worship God knowledge of all that was external was not necessary but that of the internal was made available through God’s daily visits. The warning of forbidding the fruit of ‘Tree of knowledge’ was for this reason and man was free to eat of the ‘Tree of Life’. After sin the situation reversed for we pushed God out and took the knowledge of all else in and our focus shifted to visible signs from the invisible. Mankind’s desire that ‘Let us make a name for ourselves’ was not an effort to glorify God and their language was confused to stop their effort to reach heaven like Satan had tried. As a result man started worshiping all that was seen and the custom of idolatry started.

       Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 and was the son of old age, the son of promise and heir. God labeled Isaac as ‘the son you love’ (Genesis 22:2) for by then Abraham’s life revolved around his son to become important and internal thus replacing God and defeating the purpose of shift from Uz. This was a test of his love for God and Isaac being an adult or at least a teenager was obedient to the end. Everything lost importance to Abraham after that and this step of sacrifice reminded him of YHWH as YIREH – the Provider who had added His own name to Abram to make him and his wife Sarai to be a blessing to the nations (Genesis 17:5 & 15). The command of sacrificing Isaac was to remind Abraham that God is the provider of everything and His gifts must never be allowed to take first place.

         Is the fourth saying on the cross a complaint? – The prayer in the Gethsemane Park contained the most important element ‘not as I will but as You will’ (Matthew 26:39). Lord Jesus in fullness of the Holy Spirit had total control over His spirit, soul and body and His thoughts, words and deeds were always in total obedience to God the Father. Lord Jesus declared that ‘I can do nothing of My own, I only do what I see My Father doing’ (John 5:19). The prayer to remove the cup of God’s wrath is a prayer to avoid His momentary separation from the Father while bearing the sins of all of humanity of all times – past and present. Even after suffering repeated brutal assaults on His body that marred His face beyond recognition (Isaiah 52:14), He still cared for others and not for His own self. He turned to the women grieving for Him to say ‘Daughters of Jerusalem do not weep for Me but weep for yourselves and your children’ to warn them of the coming trials (Luke 23:28). On the same was His prayer ‘Father forgive them for, for they do not know what they do’ was to seek pardon for the Jewish leaders (Luke 23:34). The Savior Lord, honoring the rare cry of faith of the criminal on the cross who alone could recognize His Divine status on that day, blessed Him thus ‘Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise’ (Luke 23:43). When every breath was a battle in itself, He ensured the future care of His mother Mary by entrusting her responsibility to Apostle John (John 19:26-27).

        Darkness over the whole land – Before the creation process commenced ‘darkness was on the face of the deep’, God revealed His glory to light up the earth at that time till sun and the moon were created. Creation of all things including the living beings started only after that (Genesis 1:2 -27). The first prophesy about the Savior Lord’s mission was made by God and His task was rebirth of mankind through faith in Him (Genesis 3:15). In this rebirth of mankind again the darkness of our sins covered the face of the earth and the ‘cup of God’s wrath’ was poured out on the Son making Him suffer the momentary separation from the Father (Mark 15:33). Lord Jesus is identified as ‘a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts’ and this Light was engulfed from all sides by the darkness (2 Peter 1:19). Lord Jesus did what He had always done and what King David did when suffering such isolation, worship God.

           Lord Jesus’ worship of God from the cross – When King David was alone in the darkness of the cave at Adullam, he wrote, ‘How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? -But I have trusted in Your mercy… I will sing to the LORD’ (Psalm 13:1; 5-6). Before moving to the Gethsemane Park Lord Jesus was ‘singing a song of praise’ after the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:30 & Mark 14:26). Again our Lord was ‘singing a song of praise’ (Hebrews 2:12) when He raised His voice in worship of His Father and by doing this He accepted and joined in the disciples humanity, participating in their human experience. As a perfect worshiper, He continued to sing hymns to the Father and Lord Jesus is presented as a worship leader by Apostle Paul in reference to Psalm 18:49 (Romans 15:9). Like King David, His earthly ancestor, the Messiah in His darkest hour glorified God on the cross not only by submitting to His plan of redemption of mankind but also by singing a hymn of praise. The fourth saying on the cross ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me’ is the recitation of the prophecies where the Heavenly Worshiper sang, unheard by others ‘they have pierced My hands and My feet, they have numbered My bones’ and ‘they divide My garments among them, and for My vesture the cast lots’ (Psalm 22:1; 17-18). 

          On and beyond the cross the Lord fulfills a two directional ministry as our intercessor, first for our relationship with God as God the Son to man and secondly, He mediates in all our worship to God by becoming our worship leader as man to God. This intercessory work of the Lord is inseparable and we worship God as a result of the finished work of the resurrected Lord Jesus and He is a Perfect Worshiper of His Father. Now in heaven He acts as the Chief Worship leader of His house the global church and ensures that our prayers and songs of worship ascend to God with the smoke of the incense (Revelation 8:4). The burden of all the sins of humanity tries for a while to overwhelm the humanity of our Savior and Lord Jesus admitted ‘this is your hour’ (Luke 22:53). On the cross the Son of God is not complaining to a Righteous and Just God but identifying Himself with all of humanity that when in our hour of deep darkness we feel all alone, to teach us to not lose faith but glorify God in our worship.  

            Thirst on the cross – Lord Jesus preached to the Samaritan woman on the cross ‘Everyone who drinks of this water (of the well) will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up into eternal life’ (John 4:13-14). The entire chapter in the Gospel of Apostle John is symbolic of spiritual things through the representation of physical or worldly things. Dr Gopal Singh, a Sikh scholar who translated the Sikh Scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, into English language has written about the Samaritan woman in his poem on the Lord ‘The Man who never died’. The the five husbands of her past and the present sixth one have been identified by Dr Gopal Singh as ‘Ego, wrath, Envy, infatuation and greed’ and the sixth one is time that our Savior said to her ‘is not your husband’ (John 4:18). Her saintly status was confirmed by her fellow villagers who then said, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that He is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world’ (John 4:42). She had been telling them spiritual things in the past and then cried out about the identity of the Messiah and she was a prophet not a wayward woman for she was the first person who received the blessed revelation of the identity of the Messiah (John 4:26).

           ‘I thirst’ is not physical but a spiritual thirst – This statement is in continuation of the worship of God and start of a new hymn by the Ideal Worshiper of the Father. The heartfelt cry ‘I will say to God My rock, ‘Why have You forgotten Me?’ causes the thirst for Him to say ‘ As the deer pants for the water brooks, so My pants My soul for You, O God. My soul thirst for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God’ (Psalm 42:9 & 1-2). This thirst is again expressed when the Risen Lord tells Mary Magdalene, ‘Do not cling to me for I have not yet ascended to the Father’ (John 20:17). I must first go to My Father to satiate the thirsty soul, receive past glory and only then will I come to meet all of you. He surrendered His spirit to the Father blessing us with this heavenly relationship of being part of the heavenly family.

      The Son of God came not only to reveal the Father God to us but also to place before us an ideal follower and worshiper of God. Today seated on the right hand of God the Father in heaven, He is our Advocate Intercessor as well as our Worship Leader. Lord Jesus still sings in heaven where the angels join Him in worshiping the Father for He is our Head Priest. The thief on the cross heard the song on His lips and cried out in faith whereas the High Priests in their deafness wanted Him to first come down from the cross so that they could then believe Him. Those ‘who have ears to hear will be able to hear His song’ but others will miss it altogether as a complaint to God.

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