Thursday, January 14, 2010


In Exodus 33, we see Moses take some alone time with God. We get a glimpse of the incredible intimacy Moses enjoyed with the Lord. In a moment of overwhelming gratitude, Moses cried out, "Now show me your glory."

God's response? Moses could see His glory, but not from the front - for no one could see the face of God and live. No one was worthy enough for that. So God hid Moses in the cleft of the rocks. After God passed by, then Moses saw God's glory from the back. Now according to my theology professor, Martin Luther felt that 'back' wasn't the proper translation. He maintained the proper translation was instead 'backside'. (Luther dealt with this in a sermon titled The Ass of God.) When I first heard this, I leaned over to one of my classmates and whispered, "You gotta be kidding me. Luther's telling us that God mooned Moses."

My warped imagination, remembering how Moses came back from his encounter with God white as a sheet, conjured up this imaginary exchange between Moses and Joshua as Moses returned. (I've got Pa Grape's voice from the VeggieTales in my mind).
  • Joshua: Moses! Moses! You're white. What happened?
  • Moses: Oh Joshua... I asked to see His face... Don't ever ask to see His face, Joshua.
Where am I going with this? Today, in my Life of Christ class, we covered the crucifixion of Jesus. Amidst all the tragedy, one indignity Jesus suffered really stuck out to me. Jesus hung naked on the cross. The Roman soldiers performing the execution had stripped Jesus of his clothes and divided them up amongst themselves. Jesus hung on the cross... naked. In the movie, The Passion of the Christ, they showed every grisly detail of Jesus' torture, but they didn't show that. They couldn't show that.

The God, who back in Exodus 33 had to hide His face because He was so holy, was hung naked on a cross for all mockers and mourners to see. This probably didn't hurt His body like being flogged and crucified. It probably didn't hurt Jesus' spirit like being separated from His Father. But really... the indignity of it all. What incredible restraint to not wipe everyone on the scene out. What incredible love to forbear such dishonor. I don't even know what to say.

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