A poem by New Testament scholar and pastor D.A. Carson, from his book Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus
On that wretched day the soldiers mocked him,
Raucous laughter in a barracks room,
“Hail the king!” they sneered, while spitting on him,
Brutal beatings on this day of gloom.
Though his crown was thorn, he was born a king–
Holy brilliance bathed in bleeding loss–
All the soldiers blind to this stunning theme:
Jesus reigning from a cursed cross.
Awful weakness mars the battered God-man,
Far too broken now to hoist the beam.
Soldiers strip him bare and pound the nails in,
Watch him hanging on the cruel tree.
God’s own temple’s down! He has been destroyed!
Death’s remains are laid in rock and sod.
But the temple rises in God’s wise ploy:
Our great temple is the Son of God.
“Here’s the One who says he cares for others,
One who says he came to save the lost.
How can we believe that he saves others
When he can’t get off that bloody cross?
Let him save himself! Let him come down now!–”
Savage jeering at the King’s disgrace.
But by hanging there is precisely how
Christ saves others as the King of grace.
Draped in darkness, utterly rejected,
Crying, “Why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus bears God’s wrath alone, dejected–
Weeps the bitt’rest tears instead of me.
All the mockers cry, “He has lost his trust!
He’s defeated by hypocrisy!”
But with faith’s resolve, Jesus knows he must
Do God’s will and swallow death for me.