fifty-three eleven

When I picture Jesus on the cross I feel the weight of his love bear down on my chest, so heavy I physically sense the buckling of knees. The sorrow over sins is present with this picture, but when I see him in my mind’s eye, it’s joy I feel—a deep, almost painful joy. It radiates through my bones, and keeps them from idleness. I am the blind healed, the woman restored, the mute given voice, the prisoner set free, and I am powerless to the driving force that is grace. It always seems so strange to me, reading the gospels, when he tells the healed to keep to themselves. Because surely he knows, they too are driven by this same impetus that sets feet to motion and mouths to loud, endless words of praise. He too was moved to the wild dancing, the bubbling up from your depths- jump to your feet agalliao- rejoicing. So when I close my eyes and am at his feet and see them, beaten and destroyed for my deep joy- my body aches for movement. The very marrow of my being catches flame and I begin the slow mournful sway of the bereaved. And as I mourn that mirror of broken body, I am startled by one, jarring sound. In his final moment he is the beautiful-soled messenger, crying out to all “It is finished!” Three words that brought life bursting into a barren land. Three words that say to my shaking joints, “Strengthen those weak hands, make firm your feeble knees, He has come to win you back!” He lifts my head and binds my wounds, and in those three words my sackcloth becomes a garment of praise, my ash-filled hair is washed clean with oils of gladness, and takes on a new glistening crown. My weary feet become oaks of righteousness, planted firmly for his glory- whose limbs will forever sway and dance with the reckless abandon of a prisoner set free. And I cannot help but believe, that as he hung there, eyes closed in agony, that he foresaw this coming freedom, soaked in the songs of the redeemed and was satisfied to invite us into the joy set before him.
“Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:11

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