Just look at him. There’s something disgusting about him, don’t you think? Something that makes you squirm inside. He’s so pale and sickly-looking, with that dried blood round his mouth. He looks like a pedophile being led away by the police. He looks like something from under a rock; as if he doesn’t deserve the daylight. He’s a blot on the new day. Someone kicks him as he goes by, and whoops, down he goes, flat on his nose with the cross pinning him like a struggling insect. Jesus is a joke. He’s less a messiah, more a patch of something nasty on the pavement. And as he struggles on he recognizes every roaring, jeering face. He knows our names. He knows our histories.
And since, as well as being a weak man, he’s also the love that makes the world, to whom all times and places are equally present, he isn’t just feeling the anger and spite and unbearable self-disgust of this one crowd on this one Friday morning in Palestine; he’s turning his bruised face toward the whole human crowd, past and present and to come, and accepting everything we have to throw at him, everything we fear we deserve ourselves. The doors of his heart are wedged open wide, and in rushes the whole vile and roiling tide of cruelties and failures and secrets. Let me take that from you, he is saying. Give that to me instead. Let me carry it. Let me be to blame instead.
I am big enough. I am wide enough. I am the father who longs for every last one of his children. I am the friend who will never leave you. I am the light behind the darkness. I am the shining your shame cannot extinguish. I am the ghost of love in the torture chamber. I am change and hope. I am the refining fire. I am the door where you thought there was only wall. I am what comes after deserving. I am the earth that drinks up the bloodstain. I am gift without cost.
I am. I am. I am.
Before the foundations of the world, I am.
(From Francis Spufford’s book Unapologetic, via Tullian T.)