Jesus will bind our wounds. The Gospels are full of Him doing just that - giving sight to the blind, speech to the mute, wholeness to the cripple, and life to the dead. It's one of the things we love about Him. In fact, it may be the thing we most love about Him.
We spend a lot of our time talking about how Jesus is going to heal us, about how He will mend our broken hearts, about how He will bandage our wounded souls. We are encouraged to come to Him with our aches and pains, with our bleeding and brokenness, with our questions and concerns. That's what He's there for.
And when we envision Jesus on the Cross, He's there for us. Healing, mending, redeeming us.
It's a beautiful theology, really, and absolutely necessary to any good love of God. After all, if the God who claims to love us can't heal us, then is He worthy of our love? Is He worthy of our adoration? It's nice to be loved, but what is love without tenderness? Without mercy? Without compassion? There is no such love; there can't be.
The problem, however, is that this type of theology doesn't bring us into the depths of the heart of God. It makes us, of all things, thankful for the Cross, as though the Cross were only the most glorious thing that could ever happen.
Glorious. Bruised and beaten, broken and bloody, gashes wide open across His back, shoulders dislocated from the weight of His own body, blood dripping down His face like tears, pouring out of His side, breath getting shallower and shallower until.... Glorious. It's so beautiful, we say, as though that were the point of it all. It's so amazing, this whole episode of the Cross.
And we'd do it all over again simply for the glory. For the beauty of it all.
It's how we came to wear the Cross as a fashion accessory. Wrapped in gold or silver, adorned with precious stones, as if the Cross was only something beautiful. As if the Cross was meant to make us beautiful. We carry our crosses as decoration, not burden. And it makes us feel beautiful. God did this just for us.
None of this is bad theology, per se. It's all true. God sent His Son to die on a Cross and redeem us from our sins. He sent His Son to suffer this horrible, terrible thing for the sake of glory. Something beautiful happened on Calvary that day...
...but let us not forget how ugly it really was.
To do that, to bring the fullness of the Cross into focus, we have to reconsider how it is that we read these words: Jesus will bind our wounds. Because they're true, absolutely true. Every bit of them. He does. But there's more than one way to read those words. One way, the way we so often read them, will mend your heart.
The other way...will break it.