You cannot rescue someone who does not want to save himself.
You cannot force freedom on someone determined to chain himself.
You cannot pull someone to safety if she keeps throwing herself back into a pit.
Of course that never stops us from trying because only God knows the heart of a person struggling through life, and maybe this time…one will be saved.
But for the ones intent on wrapping their own wrists in chains – the ones who continue to sit inside prison cells while the doors remain open…we cannot force them to walk free.
We are unable to perform a procedure to save – incapable of reaching inside brokenness and mending a wound someone is intent on ripping open, over and over again.
If it were possible, there are scores of families who would have already tried it for their loved ones – would have gladly healed their precious ones by excising addictions, dependencies, compulsions…would have gladly sawed off those ugly chains for them.
Constraints…they come in every size you can imagine. From small to middling…to deadly and devastating…
Some of us have deluded ourselves into thinking we live unbound, all the while, continuing to throw ourselves into pits of unforgiveness, or legalism, or negativity.
Or we carve anger into our hearts like a tattoo.
Or pride – we harbor pride — too puffed up to see that we need to be saving.
And don’t forget shame – because shame is a form of pride – a form of saying, “Oh no…I don’t care what anyone says…I could never be forgiven…” As if our shame could ever be stronger than the power that raised the dead to Life.
AND FRIDAY? FRIDAY IS ALL ABOUT THAT…
All about that pain that we judge in others – that shame we assign to ourselves, and that compulsive war we humans wage, between knowing we should change – but not wanting to make the change.
Friday forces us to watch Someone refuse to help Himself. And that gets uncomfortable because we know we’re behind it.
Friday is all about Someone who has the power to overcome the whip, but allows it instead to rip the skin off His back.
It’s about allowing humiliation to crown His head and corruption to nail flesh. It’s about the permission He gave for defilement to pierce His side and disgrace to dishonor His dignity.
Friday is all about Divinity covering humanity – and crushing the head of a persistent serpent who tries to convince us of his authority, when he has none.
Painfully, Friday pulls our eyes and our hearts to a hill outside a city.
Where ignorants are taunting Glory to “Save Himself” having no idea that He is Salvation.
His desire was never to save Himself from the horrific – His desire was to save us from the fatal.
He chose to throw Himself into the pit of humanity and the depths of our sin. He consented to chains that bound Him, and refused to walk through any door that would lead to His comfort, but our death.
So He stayed in what must have seemed like confinement, in human form, for the sole purpose of our liberation.
A veil was torn that Friday – from top to bottom – with His last breath providing access to Holiness for broken hearts and wounded souls.
An endless supply of Mercy that binds a wound each time we reopen it, and strength for us to finally accept that we are lovely to Him – standing there clothed in the righteousness of His Son.
Friday was all about a Lion confronting a snake, death clashing with Life, and a Sacrifice whose blood covered our offense and restored our dignity.
It was brutal that Friday – horrendous, horrific.
There was just no way anyone could see through the appalling to the Glory that lay beyond it.
And there was just no rescuing Someone who had no intention of saving Himself – and every intention of saving us.
“For the Son of man came to save that which was lost.” Matt. 18:11