I took this picture a few years ago in Kolkata, India.
This striking crucifix stood tall, affixed to the side of a Hindu temple that housed Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying. The man on the tree, with the words inscribed beneath him declaring his heart for humanity – I thirst.
It takes your breath away. Quite literally. I remember gasping as I walked out of the Kalighat temple area, a place dedicated to the worship of idols. And when I turned around and looked up, I could hardly believe my eyes.
I saw the cross.
But honestly before I saw the cross above me, I felt it. There is no other way to describe it. I felt such a strong sense of Peace, like my breath was caught in it. And these words of Jesus, a declaration into the very soul of humanity – I thirst.
He thirsts for the broken ones. He thirsts for wounded ones. He thirsts for us.
His arms outstretched wide on this cross – in the middle of the bustling worship of things. He is naked, bruised and broken on the cross beckoning us to lay down our idols and come.
He who is thirsting says, come.
Come and drink. Come and buy without money and without price. (Is. 55:1)
Come to the One who says I thirst, and be filled with living waters that will never run dry.
The man on the tree bids us come, lay down your idols of self-sufficiency.
In his weakness, he calls out to me.
Jesus he is not unfamiliar with weakness and vulnerability. We can be weak in his arms.
I had an interesting encounter with the Lord recently. I was telling him about my day, just ordinary things, and I found myself in tears.
I had this strong sense of Jesus just sitting with me, and letting me cry on his shoulder. I didn’t know exactly why I was crying, but I knew that he was inviting me to be bare before him. He was drawing me into a moment of deeper intimacy – more vulnerability.
Because it is his nature to heal hidden wounds.
When we show him our scars, he heals them.
I am the Lord who heals you.
How vulnerable was he on a cross? He let all of his pain be shown – all of his bruises for the world to see. He was bare on a cross before you and me. So that we could know that we can come to him – broken, bruised, naked, bare, bringing nothing of value.
Jesus displayed the ultimate vulnerability on the cross.
When he had the power to cover up, to remove himself – he did not.
He hung on a tree for all to see – pain and suffering on display for you and me.
So that we may know that we can simply, come.
All of our scars,
All of our failures,
All of our imperfections,
To them, the man on the tree says –
Jesus, the One on the tree,
He takes bruised and broken things,
pierced and wounded things,
and calls them
He makes all things like brand new.
Only this Creator could do such a thing.
With your life and mine, and all our suffering.
He makes everything beautiful in its time.
Behold the Man upon the tree.
He bled and died for you and me.
All we have to do is come and see –
There is this one promise that spans eternity.
If you will come, he will set you
There is the promise of freedom at the foot of the cross.
In the place of vulnerability, weakness, humility, we admit that we cannot save ourselves.
We are in need of a Savior – Christ the King.
In this Lenten season, may you find yourself again and again at the foot of the cross, beholding this One who gave everything, so that we could know him intimately.
Jesus longs for intimate relationship with you. It is the reason that he died as he did, and rose from the grave, that we might live as he lived.
Perfect union in the Father.
Perfect union in the Son.
Perfect union in the Holy Spirit.
Our great God – Three in One.