….after “hours of limitless pain.
Then Jesus is startled by a foul odor. It isnʼt the stench of open wounds. It is something
else. And it crawls inside him. He looks up to his Father. His Father looks back, but
Jesus doesnʼt recognize these eyes. They pierce the invisible world with fire and darken
the visible sky. And Jesus feels dirty. He hangs between earth and heaven filthy with
human discharge on the outside and now filthy with the weight of human wickedness on
The Father speaks: “Son of Man! Why have you sinned against me and heaped scorn
on my great glory? You are self-sufficient and self-righteous—consumed with yourself
and puffed up and selfishly ambitious. You rob me of my glory and worship whatʼs inside
of you instead of looking out to the one who created you. You are a greedy, lazy,
gluttonous slanderer and gossip. You are a lying, conceited, ungrateful, cruel adulterer.
You practice sexual immorality; you make pornography and fill you mind with vulgarity.
You exchange my truth for a lie and worship the creature instead of the Creator. And so
you are given up to your homosexual passions, dressing immodestly and lusting after
what is forbidden. With all your heart you love perverse pleasure. You hate your brother
and murder him with the bullets of anger fired from your own heart. You kill babies for
your convenience. You oppress the poor and deal in slaves and ignore the needy. You
persecute my people. You love money and prestige and honor. You put on a cloak of
outward piety, but inside you are filled with dead manʼs bones—you hypocrite! You are
lukewarm and easily enticed by the world. You covet and canʼt have so you murder. You
are filled with envy and rage and bitterness and unforgiveness. You blame others for
your sin and are too proud to even call it sin. You are never slow to speak. And you
have a razor tongue that lashes and cuts with its criticism and sinful judgment. Your
words do not impart grace. Instead your mouth is a fountain of condemnation and guilt
and obscene talk. You are a false prophet leading people astray. You mock your
parents. You have no self-control. You are a betrayer who stirs up division and factions.
Youʼre a drunkard and a thief. Youʼre an anxious coward. You do not trust me. You
blaspheme against me. You are an unsubmissive wife. You are a lazy, disengaged
husband. You file for divorce and crush the parable of my love for the church. Youʼre a
pimp and a drug dealer. You practice divination and worship demons. The list of your
sins goes on and on. And I hate these things inside of you. Iʼm filled with disgust for you
and indignation for your sin consumes me. Now, drink my cup!
And Jesus does. He drinks for hours. He downs every drop of the scalding liquid of
Godʼs own hatred of sin mingled with his white-hot wrath against that sin. This is the
Fatherʼs cup: omnipotent hatred and anger for the sins of every generation past,
present, and future. Omnipotent wrath directed at one naked man hanging on a cross.
The Father can no longer look at his beloved Son, his heartʼs treasure, the mirror-image
of himself. And he diverts his gaze.
Jesus pushes himself upward and howls to heaven, “My God, my God, why have you
Jesus whispers, “Iʼm thirsty,” and he sags.
The merciful centurion soaks a sponge in sour vinegar wine and lifts in on a reed to
Jesus pushes himself up again and cries, “It is finished.” And it is. Every sin of every
child of God had been laid on Jesus and he drank the cup of Godʼs wrath dry.
Itʼs six oʼclock, Friday evening, and Jesus finds one more surge of strength. He presses
his torn feet against the spikes, straightens his legs, and with one last gasp of air cries
out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
And he dies.
The merciful centurion sees Jesusʼ body fall far forward and his head drop low. He
thrusts a spear up behind Jesusʼ ribs—one more piercing for our transgression—and
water and blood flow out of his broken heart.
In that moment mountains shake and rocks spilt; veils tear and tombs open.
The merciful centurion looks up at that lifeless body of Jesus and is filled with awe. He
drops to his knees and declares, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
Mission accomplished. Sacrifice accepted.”