Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? (Isaiah 66:1).
God made Adam and Eve and walked with them in the cool of the day. They had perfect love for their neighbor, knowing no shame before each other. There was one place where they could show love for God above all else: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Reserved by God, this was their Holy of Holies. It was not God’s heavenly throne, but it was the place where His Word was enthroned above all else upon the earth. Here they were to harken to God’s Word, obey, thank Him, and pray for deliverance from temptation.
Here they were deceived by the Father of Lies, grasping at the Throne of God. Here they first failed in loving neighbor as self, covering their shame. Here they first recognized shame before God, fleeing from His voice, hiding, no longer loving God above all else. Here they came to know good and evil. And here is where God promised to come into the world to conquer Satan, sin, and death. They lost their access to the Tree of Life. But the Promise would be fulfilled through the Root of Jesse, the Man who would sit on the Throne of David forever.
“Who on the tree of the cross did give salvation unto mankind that, whence death arose, thence Life also might rise again; and that he who by a tree once overcame might likewise by a tree be overcome, through Christ, our Lord” (Proper Preface for Lent).
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. Who could imagine that the Omnipotent God would descend from His Throne on high to dwell as God among us? His own did not receive Him. The thrones of the earth sought His death. “Man hath no offering for Thee save – the stable, manger, cross, and grave” (ELH 144, v.3).
He made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:7-8).
Soldiers stripped Him, put a purple robe on Him. Twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on His head and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him. Pilate then went out, saying, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”
Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”
And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”
Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”
Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. They took Jesus and led Him away.
And He, bearing His cross, went out to Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. (John 19)
Behold how sinners adorn the eternal King of Glory: a crown to tear His head, a robe of mockery, a scepter to beat His body, attendants on the right hand and on the left, the title above Him. Behold the throne of disgrace–the tree of death to which He was nailed.
It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. We preach Christ crucified… Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (I Corinthians 1).
It pleased the Lord to bruise Him. The Father made Christ’s soul an offering for sin. And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
So it is that the cross that was meant to be a throne of disgrace, God has made a throne of grace.
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-10).
He has returned to his proper throne.
We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry (Hebrews 8:1-2; 6).
Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations (Luke 24:46-47).
Our glory is found in the humility of God on the Cross, a disgraceful throne made by man but changed by God for us into the Tree of Life. Therefore we preach nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Reverend Joe Abrahamson
Faith Lutheran Church, Clara City, MN