Cover image for A violent grace
Title:
A violent grace
Author:
Card, Michael, 1957-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Sisters, Or. : Multnomah Publishers, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
182 pages : illustrations ; 19 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
He was born to die-- so I could be born to new life -- He suffered temptation-- so I can experience victory -- He was betrayed-- so I might know his faithfulness -- He was arrested and bound-- so I could be rescued from bondage -- He stood trial alone-- so I might have an advocate -- He was wounded-- so I could be healed -- He endured mockery-- so I could know dignity and joy -- He was condemned-- so the truth could set me free -- He was crowned with thorns-- so I might crown him with praise -- He was nailed to the cross-- so I might escape judgment -- He was stretched out between thieves-- so I could know the reach of love -- He suffered thirst-- so I can drink living water -- He said "It is finished"-- so I could begin my walk of faith -- He was God's lamb, slain-- so I could claim his sacrifice as my own -- He was forsaken by the Father-- so I would never be rejected -- He chose the shame of weakness-- so I can know the hope of glory -- He shed his blood-- so I can be white as snow -- His heart was pierced-- so mine could be made whole -- He died and was buried-- so the grave could not hold me -- He arose again-- so I might experience eternal life -- He is known by his scars-- so I will take up my cross and follow him.
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9781576736883
Format :
Book

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BT431 .C29 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Based primarily on passages in Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22, this book guides readers on an exploration of the suffering and sacrifice it took to achieve salvation. A Violent Grace can give readers a renewed appreciation for God's eternal love and an important reminder that this love came at a terrible cost.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One HE WAS BORN TO DIE SO I COULD BE BORN TO NEW LIFE | Anyone who is hung on a tree | | is under God's curse.| | Deuteronomy 21:23 | T he sounds of the first Christmas....     The clip-clop of the donkey as Mary and Joseph enter the quiet streets of Bethlehem. The rustling of straw as they make their bed for the night. The music of angels over those lonely hills. And the cooing of a baby.     The sounds of that night are full of joy. Even the angels' announcement of Jesus' arrival roll out like hymns of grace-- Immanuel, Savior, a light for the Gentiles, the Son of the most High, glory ... !The notion of violence is nowhere to be found.     You and I would like to keep it that way. Who wants to ruin a story of such beauty and hope with even a hint of pain?     Certainly Mary and Joseph didn't. But when the proud parents took their newborn to the temple for His dedication, it was there. A hint. A scarlet thread. After Simeon, an elderly, devout temple attendant, blessed the child, he turned to Mary and said, "A sword will pierce your own soul" (Luke 2:35). His words were unexpected. How could Mary have understood them? How could she not have been frightened?     Simeon's words were the first faint whisper that the grace baby Jesus had come to lavish on a fallen world would be bought at a terrible price. Within months, the scarlet thread turned to blood in the streets. Herod's soldiers swept through Bethlehem and the surrounding towns, slaughtering all male infants under two years old. Cries of horror and disbelief rose from the lips of bereft mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and grandparents. Those, too, are the sounds of Christmas.     Only Jesus understood. During His ministry, Jesus often spoke of hard-to-grasp paradoxes: He was both king and suffering servant; both healer and wounded one; both everlasting God and crucified outcast.     Once when Jesus told His disciples that He would suffer and die, Peter cried out, "Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!" (Matthew 16:22). No doubt he spoke for the Twelve. If I had walked with Jesus then, Peter would have spoken for me as well. But Jesus sharply rebuked Peter. He would not be turned aside from His mission. Luke wrote, "As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51).     Every day of His adult life stretched out ahead of Him like a narrow road. More than anyone else He knew that the script for His life had already been written across the pages of the Old Testament. As He made His way toward Golgotha, with every step He knew--detail for detail, agony by agony--how it would end and what it would cost. * * * Many Christians are surprised to learn that there is more detail about the crucifixion of Jesus in the Old Testament than in the New. In the New Testament, the actual crucifixion is usually described within the confines of a single verse: "They crucified him" (Mark 15:24; Matthew 27:35; Luke 23:33; John 19:18). The Gospels, for example, don't tell us about the piercing of Jesus' hands and feet. We see Him pointing to those wounds only after the Resurrection. On the other hand, Old Testament predictions about the crucifixion of Jesus are numerous, and many of them are unsettling: * He will be rejected by his own people. (Isaiah 53:3) * He will be betrayed by a friend. (Psalm 41:9) * He will be sold for thirty pieces of silver. (Zechariah 11:12) * He will be accused by false witnesses. (Psalm 35:11) * He will be silent when accused. (Isaiah 53:7) * He will be scorned and mocked. (Psalm 22:7) * He will be spat upon. (Isaiah 50:6) * He will be crucified with criminals. (Isaiah 53:12) * Soldiers will gamble for his clothes. (Psalm 22:18) * He will be given vinegar mixed with gall to drink. (Psalm 69:21) * He will pray for his enemies. (Psalm 109:4) * None of his bones will be broken. (Psalm 34:20) * He will be buried in a rich man's tomb. (Isaiah 53:9)     Yet these are only the factual details. As astonishing as they are, what I find even more remarkable is the Old Testament's account of Jesus' emotional and spiritual experience on the cross. King David and the prophet Isaiah wrote the most important prophetic passages some seven hundred to one thousand years before that joyful night in the stable or that dark day on Calvary.     In Psalm 22 David memorably captures the agony of the cross. I encourage you to take the time to read the entire psalm. But look with me now at a few high points: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: "He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him." I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. (Psalm 22:1, 7-8, 14-18)     In this anguished cry of an innocent man, we have a detailed account of Jesus' death--centuries before the torture of crucifixion was even invented! No wonder this psalm is quoted in the New Testament more than any other.     Some scholars believe that Jesus quoted the entire psalm on the cross and that the evangelists recorded only the first line. In Jesus' day if someone quoted the first line, everyone assumed that the entire psalm was meant. These scholars say that Jesus was moved to recite Scripture in order to give voice to the depths of His experience. People in torment, however, are unlikely to quote long passages. They groan and struggle to say anything coherently. As you would expect, all the words of Jesus from the cross that were recorded are short, gasping outbursts, as when Jesus cried, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"     But was Jesus quoting David, or did David prophetically quote Jesus? What seems more likely to me--and even more amazing--is that it was, in fact, David who quoted Jesus. I believe David was granted the spiritual insight to enter into Jesus' experience: the abandonment (v. 1), the shame (vv. 7-8), the memories (vv. 9-10), the hope (vv. 19-20), and, finally, the praise (v. 23).     Other prophets experienced God's emotional life as well, most notably Jeremiah and Hosea, who were inwardly moved to feel His deep grief over wayward Israel. Later, Paul commended the same level of identification to all believers when he wrote, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death" (Philippians 3:10).     We find further evidence of David's identification with Jesus' trauma on the cross in Psalm 69. David compares his sufferings to the terror of sinking hopelessly into mud: Save me, O God, for the waters have come up around my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. (Psalm 69: 1-2)     Further on in the psalm, there is more foreshadowing of Christ's suffering: You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you. Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst. (Psalm 69:19-21)     There is a terrible irony in David's musical notations, which preface these two prophetic psalms. Imagine hearing about bones being out of joint and a heart melting like wax to the sweet melody of "Doe of the Morning" (Psalm 22). Try to picture singing about slow suffocation by drowning in muck to the tune of "Lilies" (Psalm 69). As a musician, I think it adds to the emotional impact--like listening to the dinner music of the ship's string quartet as the mighty Titanic sinks into the sea.     Isaiah writes less intimately, but no less emotionally than David. In Isaiah 53 (see following sidebar), you'll notice that he is more of an onlooker--more of a prophetic eyewitness--than a participant. To describe the life and death of God's suffering servant, Isaiah begins with the tenderness of Jesus' childhood and the ordinariness of His life: He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2)     But Isaiah, by the power of the Spirit, saw beyond outward appearances into the heart of Jesus' earthly experience: He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3)     Now hear the melancholy beauty in the prophet's familiar refrain. Let the majesty of God's redemptive plan sing in your own heart: Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)     In this message from across the centuries, Isaiah tells us why Jesus--the innocent babe of Christmas--would be struck with infirmity, suffer affliction and piercing, and be wounded, crushed, and punished: * Because only by this unequal exchange could He    pay the cost of my sin. * Because only by this pain could He purchase my peace. * Because only by this injury could He provide me with healing.     Like David, Isaiah sees the ultimate prize, first for the risen Savior, and then for us, his redeemed ones: "After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life" (Isaiah 53:11).     Jesus was born to die ... so that I could be born again to new life. It is the miracle of a violent grace: God securing for us the priceless treasures of His grace--one violence at a time.     Will you open your heart to receive now these costly gifts from your loving Savior? * * * PRAYER    Lord Jesus, You knew from the beginning what the cost would be, and yet still You came.            You took on flesh and blood   so that You could bleed and die, all for me.         Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.    Let me see what it means that You were born            only so that You could die    and that You died only to make it possible             for me to be born again.        And as You enable me to see, Lord,            let me live in like measure                by Your grace. Amen ISAIAH 53:1-12 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LoRD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LoRD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LoRD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. * * * Copyright © 2000 Michael Card. All rights reserved.