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The God Who Bleeds

I’m haunted by the mystery that Jesus was God in human form.

Not an ambassador from God, not one part of the Whole, but the entire fullness of the Godhead clothed in flesh. The Creator walking among the Created.

We have certain expectations for how a god should act. The myths tell us that a god should be angry, self-righteous, vengeful, petty, bloodthirsty. Armed with lightning bolts and a short temper. Obsessed with his own glory.

For thousands of years the prophets and priests and poets tried to understand our God, half-hid by smoke and fire and temple veil. They listened to the thundering voice and waited for the whisper after the whirlwind, penning a hundred inspired stories and prayers that offered just a glimpse of Creator.

Then the God Himself pulled aside the curtain that separated Time from Eternity, slipping nearly unnoticed onto the planet He had formed with His own hands. And He was nothing you would expect of a god.

You would expect a god to have a pride fighter’s tattoo carved into his leg. But Jesus’ feet were covered in dust from walking among us. You would expect a god to wield a sword in his hand, distributing vengeance on all his enemies. But Jesus’ hands healed his enemies who’d been wounded by the sword. For a moment it had seemed like he would be the god we had always imagined – overthrowing the Empire, leading a victory parade through the city streets, planting his flag in Jerusalem. Instead, He was betrayed with a kiss, arrested without a fight, and prosecuted without cause.

Then he was beat up.

I wonder what those soldiers thought as they punched and whipped and spat on Jesus. They had seen others worship him, the very man they were now beating. Who would worship a guy they could beat up? And the hopeful followers, who dreamed that this would at last be the end of the long oppression? They slipped away quietly in the shadows. As they heard the sharp sounds of fists on flesh, their hopes were broken. After all, who would follow a guy who gets beat up?

Every moment of Jesus’ story is a profound miracle. The Divine in human form. The Creator among the Created. The Word made flesh. A God who bleeds.

You would expect a god to make someone bleed. But our God? Our God shed His own blood for us, His enemies. He died to set us free. To make Creation Whole again. Our God appeared not with a tattoo on his leg but with sandals on his feet, with broken bread in his hands.

The Immortal died for the mortal. The Creator was beat up by His own Creation.

This is a God I can worship.

[ image: “The Bleeding Heart of Jesus” – by Luigi Petro ]

published October 23, 2013

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