Turn your Eyes on Jesus.
Look on his face. No, not the post resurrection face as yet; you may not see the love in that except you have seen him prior to his death and resurrection: he died and rose for you. I bet you see anguish, torture written all over it. He’s got a crown on his head. It’s not the customary representation of greatness, neither is it a display of grandeur, nor grace. It’s the crown for offenders, made of thorns, to inflict pain: a retribution for his never committed or will be committed offence. He wore it still. Firmly placed on his head, his scalp nearly as good as severed from his face; blasphemers tagged him ‘a blasphemer’. I cannot tell if he screamed from pain as the crown was placed on his head, or if he shrieked to keep from screaming, I believe it must have caused that much pain.
Look just below the crown, intently into his eyes. You need not look long to see the mixture of hurt and love in them. He, chief among men, had tears rolling down his face. Watch his nostrils expand and contract rapidly in an attempt to breathe, having been hung (on that rugged cross) in the most unfavourable positions for breathing.
Look at his lips, dry from thirst, crackles on porcelain they seemed like. He’d had no food or drink come close to his lips in hours, and he wasn’t on a fasting exercise. None cared of the men who had him crucified or asked for him to be. They all just cast sneers at him.
Now, look to his palms. See those nails, hardheartedly driven into them, palms that never hurt, never so much as cast a stone at a transgressor. Palms which passed on virtues to heal the sick, worked with fingers too tickle the little ones, ruffled their hairs: all out of love. The same nailed to the cross. The carpenter’s hands held to his wood, with his nails, by his hammer. Talk of ironies!
Look to his feet. They bear a semblance with the hands; held firmly to the foot of the cross. No space for adjustment or shifting for a bit less pain.
Take a few steps towards his left; see that fleshly divide to his side, his skin separated by a spear. The inside of a king: out of which flowed water and blood; two of life’s most vital; the designated soldier making a cut so close to his heart to confirm his death. There was to be no margin for error.
Move a few steps further around him till you are just behind him. See the wounds on his back? There’s almost no non-wounded part to his back. I bet it’s without form. That was born of metals, broken bones, and such like attached to the whips with which he was beaten.
Now complete your walk round him and return to where you started. Look him over once more. Take in every detail. Capture his formlessness. Imagine the torture which brought that. You are pardoned if you do not notice the spittle on his face. Oh! Such disdain, for the one who created, loves and came to rescue man.
Such was the lot of the One who took our place and gave us grace. Was the sight too gross to watch? I’ll help you out. Gently but firmly I’ll hold both sides of your face between my palms and slowly turn them in the direction of the cross where he hung and suffered, then I’ll watch with you. I care enough to make you go through the pain of beholding him; for in beholding him, vividly reliving the experience and adequately appropriating its derived benefits will you conform to him, from inside out, till you can see beyond his death to the glory, grace and grandeur of his resurrection. Then will you look beyond the world and receive strength to run patiently the race set before us all.
I once beheld (and still behold) this scene, and in doing so saw my depravity, and came to the realization that I had been cut from the same mould as the men who’d afflicted and crucified him. But in beholding the scene of his crucifixion and death, I could see beyond him crucified to his glory that makes all else grow dim.
Helen Howarth Lemmel writes in the The Heavenly Vision:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus;
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will go strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.”
If you haven’t turned your eyes upon Him, I will help you turn them.
Image courtesy flickr.com