Rembrandt. "The Raising of the Cross," 1633
The Word for today:
I'm a Bible teacher. I take what I do seriously. I had better, or there'll be hell to pay:
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1)
You shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.
When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you shall surely die!' and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.
Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. (Ezekiel 33:7-9)
The Bible shows us our sin and then it shows us the solution--Jesus Christ.
Today--as I write this--is 'Good Friday,' an odd name for the day when we see sin on parade. There was, first, a staging area for this parade--at Herod's Palace and then at Gabbatha, Pilate's "Pavement."
Whenever you want an estimation of man's capacity to judge right and wrong, think Herod and Pontius Pilate. They took it upon themselves to judge right from wrong apart from the counsel of God as revealed in scripture.
The staging area on Good Friday also included the beatings administered by the Roman battalion. So merciless and sadistic was their violence against Jesus, that we are unable to repaint the scene they'd painted in blood. (As a corollary, if you want to see what evil seeks to do to the Bible, the Word of God, look what it did to the Word made flesh.)
Jesus now wholly desecrated, the parade of sin continued on its way to the cross. The cross was the pageant's big finale, an orgiastic climax of the twisted human heart.
The great artist Rembrandt understood. He painted himself in the scene at the cross as one of the torturers. Rembrandt knew his sin was on parade.
Unless and until you paint yourself next to us in the parade of sin, you can have no real concept of the cross; Rembrandt and I have managed to teach you exactly nothing.