THE EMPTYING OF GOD – In the shadow of Golgotha



The Emptying of God – Gesthsemane

Music by Andre Lefebvre
[Kenosis - The Emptying of God]

by Andre Lefebvre

There was a day, and there was a night… and it was the last day, and the first night… after these, the universe would never be the same, for the rightful heir was to be enthroned… but for now… the darkest curtain was falling… and the stage was set…

Yeshua ben Yosef drew sin out of people like a mega-magnet would scream out of a wall all the nails holding it up. That day, the bottomless pit of all the rampant twistedness that followed him around, a marked man, a marked God, threw away all restraint in a public display of hellish arrogance, revealing the heart of hell it spewed out all forms of disfigured insanity, unrighteousness, perverse horrors that bottom-dwell in the hearts of hardened sinners, and there, for all to see, he was butchered in full view, in plain daylight.

All his life had crawled to this still point of death, God now a nail being hammered into the depth of human flesh, so deep it disappeared from our sight, the hammer ripping the flesh inward in an effort to really drive the nail’s head under the skin… and so it was…

Many were his followers… most fled the scene. Mothers however had a strange understanding and resilience, despite their helplessness they followed and shared the pain… What could one do? This was such a strange turn of events, and we were unprepared for it. Nothing made sense, and we needed logic, stability, grounding, but there was none to be found. Nobody could really fathom the meaning of this drama, suddenly this wasn’t about us anymore, something else was up, and we weren’t prepared for it… no…

NO. Our senses were assailed by barbaric and deadly waves of people oozing out of Jerusalem, people screaming like beasts making no sense, a Babel of intents, raving about things they didn’t know, whipped into frenzy by slogans they could not take time to understand and weigh, only the madness mattered, it was contagious. Thousands were dragged, as if in a stupor, to the place of execution, actors in a play they could not understand. Ah, such a parable of their lives in the clutches of sin and sickness, shells tossed by the streams of hell through abused rituals monitored by religious leaders… threatened, using all their cunning to get rid of the … competition… so sad… so ignorant and what a display of their actual enslavement to their own gods: satan, sin, pride, power, fear and deceit.

Dragged by a cyclone of mockery, they now have surrendered all to the will of their spiritual fathers, the priests, and spiritual godfather – the devil and his busy minions. The poor and needy, the fat and selfish, too many join hands and collectively become the hammer that will hit Yeshua, not just with physical nails, but that hammer-crowd will ram into his very soul the rejection that all hell is hurling at God: “No KING but Caesar!!!!!!!!” … what a sight… they all want to be Caesar… their eyes are wild and confused, betraying a terror, the terror of those who realize too late the horror they are about to commit, but too far gone to stop, afraid of standing in the way of that rushing wave of madness and share the fate of the Nazarene… after all, THEY didn’t speak like him, THEY didn’t act like him, THEY would never betray the authority of the religious order and God’s commandments…

And now, they have reached the mount, and the seething crowd has become a crown of thorns around the forehead of Golgotha, and around Yeshua’s, who, like a lamb, is letting himself be treated worst than a criminal, a canvas for the sheer inhumanity that is driving the people of Jerusalem daily, now out of the city with all their dark princes and demonic rulers all exposed in broad daylight. No place to hide! Except deeper in sin. No place to run! Except further away from God, or so they may think. But on the contrary, the deeper they go, the more starkly they reveal themselves.

The dark side of the human soul is finally out in the open, about to justify every single word Yeshua has pronounced, by putting him to death they are adding to the fullness of their sins the crime of killing the son of God… oh they are about to find that out… this public massacre and execution is a parable once again, they cannot get rid of the prophet, the friend, the healer, the breather, the soul whisperer, their strange Messiah …

All goes so fast, and yet so slow, the sun is mercilessly beating like molten lava the exhausted throng, drones, and hell is heaving with anticipation… for the kill. The cross is waiting, the flesh is whipped on it, the nails planted, just as the cross is also soon planted, a grain of wheat readied to die… on that desert hill, so dead it is called Golgotha, hill of the skull, for indeed one would agree, all intelligence has deserted this place.

And darkness descends on the hill, on the land, in midday, once more, for all to see, such a powerful, simple and accessible parable… A little while longer, and Yeshua, he cries his vulnerability, his distress, his pain to his Father, his humanity…

33Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Even then, the people around don’t make sense of his words… their hearing is so irremediably impaired, twisting every last word of his, just like the day before, and the month before, and the year before…

35Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, “Look, He is calling for Elijah!” 36Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.”

As if to fill up the measure of his pain, like throwing salt on the back of a man who just has been severely whipped vinegar is brought to his mouth, and Yeshua bites into this last gift from his tormentors: he was thirsty all along, and he often got served the vinegar of sarcasm and rejection, threat and insults, and this time they all see each other repeating the same abuse, for all to see, and they can know what they are like deep inside… cruel and lost.

Surrendered, Yeshua bites the sponge and sucks forcefully the burning poison. I think he’s got enough now, some say he pronounced the words “it is finished” … 46And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice…

Oh but he screams!!! He will take nothing of his life with him, the agony, the pain, even the air in his lungs, everything is given up.

“Father, “into Your hands I commit My spirit.” The words unleash him from earth… He breathes His last and is stolen into Sheol.

Let’s pause here… let’s close our eyes and see the moment… all his life has gushed out, his words, his love, his power, his tears, his prayers, his future, his blood, his breath, his very life… the fullness of it, delivered in the hands of his enemies. As they swallow the bread of their victory, as death swallows Yeshua ben Yosef into the womb of hell, after 6 hours of darkness, something gives.

As Yeshua’s spirit departs from his body, the unpredictable happens: “38Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” As life was ripped from him by the very hands of hell gloved in human puppets, so is the holy temples’ curtain, that sacred veil covering the Holy of Holies, that symbol of demarcation, separation between the profane and the holy, it ripped in two.

Oh but wait… where was God all this time? Where was the Father? Yeshua’s Father was there, present to everything, hurting, walking with the crowd, determined to surrender to the wickedness so that there would never be any doubt in the mind of anyone that day, that wickedness ruled the human heart, and that He wasn’t there to destroy them, but to relate, connect and save. Oh how He longed to hold the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve into the embrace of the new Eden that would pour out of the empty tomb in a few hours!

And now, at the moment of death and utter rejection from His people, the Father allowed Creation to be covered with a veil, truly, He weeps, and He may have screamed along with His son… and now as the son hangs his head, his spirit departs, clutched in the shroud of death and dragged to the bottom of the abyss. And the veil of the Holy of Holies is torn from above… Yahweh, true to the Hebrew tradition, has ripped his garment in the throws of his own agony… Heaven and earth are united in grief, something beyond the scope of the deepest mysteries is taking place…

Yes, the way into the Presence is now opened through the veil, but God’s grief has also reached the apex of agony, not a god preparing a vengeance, but a Father falling to His knees, tears streaming down his face, ripping his clothes exposing his soul to His creation, earthquakes and storms, the barrier between death and life also being torn… who can appreciate what is truly happening!

As for me, I pause at the scene of a father tearing his garment out of a grief that’s so purely human and real, it baptizes me into the revealed mystery of the incarnation of Christ. In the shadow of the cross, the Father is tearing his garment as a scream of agony, the scandalous and sinful deed performed in spite of heaven’s presence.

And every time a heart is crucified on the cross of wickedness, the Father tears His garment again, sharing in the agony, opening a way to His heart, extreme and complete holiness, divine vulnerability… when the thorns of our sin lay against the breast of His purity, our naked brokenness finally assumed, we stand in the shame of our nudity, but this time reaching not to cover it, but reaching to be accepted despite our fallenness… as we cross the torn veil, we are received in the womb of redemption.

Swallowed up by the divine grief, our sins are no longer the treacherous bridge taunting our despaired souls; they simply are no longer our human garment. The Father has covered us with the garment of Christ. By tearing the veil, the Father also declared Himself free, with us, from the prison of religion and atoning rituals. No more. He will not be our slave, and we will not be His. We are acknowledged, accepted, embraced. Exactly what He has always wanted as well. Relationship.

Unveiled thorns, torn veil, unveiled nakedness, torn garment, canvas for wickedness, tapestry of our redemption, gift of a heart of flesh, gift of a divine heart, the soul of God in a wild embrace with the human soul! So raw, so real, my God! Oh Eternal Son, what depths the nails have pierced in your flesh, what light has shined in this present darkness, eternity has torn the veil of time and embraced a stunned Creation into its destiny… revealing the heart of heaven…

Oh my God, my God… I stand amazed… carry me inward!