I wonder when it was.
I wonder what it was like.
“It” being the moment when Jesus realized what He had to do, and that it would cost Him His life.
Was it when He first saw a common criminal suspended on a cross? Was it when He first gave life back to a dead body? Was it when Satan tried to compel Him to leap from the temple’s highest point? Or when He closed the scroll in a little synagogue and said “This prophecy is fulfillled today” – realizing all the import of Isaiah’s words about the suffering servant?
In this life, we may never know when it was.
But I think I have the vaguest, shadowy picture of what it was like. For every once in a while, I get the stark, electric realization of something I have to do to follow Christ – and that it will cost me my life.
Not – so far – to the point of causing my immediate death, mind you. But what I do will cost me my life as I know and cherish it. I will lose something I have treasured; something I have valued … more than Him. It will be gone forever and there will be no going back to it. And leaving it behind will just lead me to more and more such choices, as God slowly strips away my protective wealth and armor and clothing to leave my naked soul before Him.
So He can clothe me with Christ.
All too often I meet such moments of epiphany and choose the transient few pennies, the rusty armor, and the moth-eaten rags.
I know I’m in trouble when my choices are less and less frequent. God is being patient with me. I, however, am delaying His effectiveness through me while He waits.
You see, I don’t know that there could be only a single moment in Jesus’ life – or ours – when the cost is realized and must be counted. I think God sends them in His own time, at His own rate. He can stop sending them when He chooses.
And that kind of epiphany freezes me right down to the marrow.