Friday, April 08, 2011

Day 27 of Lent :: Fountain of Life

“On that day a fountain will be opened
to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
to cleanse them from sin and impurity.”

(Zechariah 13:1)
The eighteenth century poet, William Cowper penned the famous words to the poem, There is a Fountain Filled with Blood. In it, Cowper vividly captures what the prophet Zechariah spoke of some five hundred years before Jesus.

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins.
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains,
Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains . . .

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die,
And shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

Jesus is the only true source of life. Ironically, it was brought about through death. That’s how the kingdom of God often seems – upside down. In the garden, humanity reached for the forbidden fruit. As they freely exerted their own will, they became enslaved to their own desires. As they acted as one who ruled their own life, they suffered death. At the cross, Jesus surrendered his very life, yet resurrected all of humanity from the grave of sin. He allowed human hands and forces of darkness to nail Him to the cross in the ultimate display of evil triumph over goodness, yet in doing so He led captivity captive, dethroning powers and principalities. This, in part, is the mystery of the Gospel. The cross, once only an instrument of death, now becomes an instrument of new life.
“The very existence of the cross, and of the crucified Christ,” writes Alister McGrath, “forces us to make a crucial decision: Will we look for God somewhere else, or will we make the cross, and the crucified Christ, the basis of our thought about God?”[i]

Prayer: Must I go on, Lord Jesus? I can barely stand to see myself through the gaping wounds on Your back. My stomach churns and I want to walk away. The journey to the cross is fraught with a thousand deaths, and I’m not sure if I am prepared to embrace each one. To know the fellowship of Your sufferings is not so simple. Sustain me in my quest, dearest Savior, and I will seek to share Your sorrow.[ii]

[i] Alister E. McGrath, The Mystery of the Cross, 13.
[ii] Prayer by Tricia McCary Rhodes, Contemplating the Cross, 71.

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