In reflecting upon the events leading up the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ and his subsequent resurrection, three poems came to mind that I would like to share. From time to time I attempt to comprehend to a limited degree the unimaginable anguish and suffering that the Savior took upon himself on my behalf. The scriptures speak of “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith . . . who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame. . . .” As I read about or view in a film or some other graphic portrayal, I am sometimes tempted to scream, “Enough is enough.” Such sentiments I express in this first poem which was composed on Resurrection Sunday, March 31, 2001:
More than Enough
How much is enough?
Can you measure the length of each scar on his back?
Can you trace the depth of each gash and follow each track?
Can you extract and analyze sweat, like drops of blood?
Can you remove water and blood and then weigh the good?
Can you collect the tears and hold them in a vial?
Can you assess the shame and disgrace of trumped up trial?
How much is enough?
One more mocking bow, one more man to spit in his face,
One more taunting gesture, one more mark of disgrace.
One more lash, one more gash, one more blow to the head,
As he endured the cross, despising the shame as he bled.
To smash once more, one blow short of certain death.
He cried, “It is finished” then yielded his last breath.
How much is enough?
Who can assess the worth of his blood and establish a price
For the precious Lamb of God, unblemished, sinless sacrifice?
God’s bounty of mercy is sufficient. His deep love will suffice.
Despite the deficit, God balances each account to set it right.
Where sin once had free reign, now grace has abounded instead.
The Lord himself provided the Lamb, whom He raised from the dead.
In His gracious goodness Jehovah-Jireh reminds us
That He is more than enough, yes, so much more than enough.
Listen to this corresponding musical composition, “More than Enough” by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:
As is often the case, Holy Week, or the commemoration of the last week of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, takes place during the same period as the Jewish Passover celebration. Such was the case in 1998 when Passover began at sunset on Good Friday, April 15. The congregation at my church partook of the Lord Supper or Holy Communion, and although I had taken communion seemingly countless times prior to that particular occasion, I apprehended to a much greater degree the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ and was inspired to compose this poem:
Taking It Personally
Cursed with a curse, He was hung on a tree.
The suffering servant bartered for a price,
Battered and bruised for my iniquity.
Behold the Lamb, unblemished sacrifice,
Offered once, Jesus Christ, my Passover.
Afflicted, stricken, smitten that God should
Freely pour out His mercy, moreover,
Lay on Him the chastisement of my peace.
From His side flowed water and sinless blood,
A new covenant established that I might cease
From dead works by a new and living way.
God’s good pleasure no longer concealed
But memorialized this solemn day.
Man of sorrows, with His stripes I am healed
In spirit, mind and body, for I am
Quickened and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.
This morning I discovered this recording which expresses in part my response on that unforgettable Good Friday/Passover: “Just for Me” by Shekinah Glory Ministries
On a number of occasions, when I first awake on Resurrection Sunday, I would greet my wife or our daughters with the words “He is risen,” and the corresponding response would be “He is risen, indeed.” This phrase turns out to be the closing phrase in this poem:
The account of the women at the empty tomb
Though we did not journey with the women
In the dark before dawn that first day,
Nor were we walking, weeping with them when
Two angels spoke, nor did we hear them say,
“He is not here but risen as he said;
Recall that on the third day he should rise;
Why seek you the living among the dead?”
Though we did not see with our naked eyes,
In our hearts we know God’s desire to bless.
Though we did not touch Christ nor did we see
The open tomb, yet we still bear witness.
We have a more sure word of prophecy.
By the spirit, fruit of our Promised Seed,
We surely know He is risen, risen, indeed.
“My Soul is a Witness” is a tradition Black spiritual sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in a recording made in 1920. Here is a link to an article discussing the contribution of this musical ensemble who were pioneers in developing the spiritual and sharing it with the world. The group has a special connection with Columbus, Ohio where I presently live, as readers will discover:
Because of what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished through his suffering, his death, burial and resurrection, we can all be “a witness for my Lord.”