Undoubtedly, ‘Sing to you’ is my favorite song on the “Today We Rebel” album. And it is all because of one line in the second verse where KB makes reference to the humanity of Jesus. I can’t begin to talk about the whole album and what it has done to me these past few days. Lyrically. Sonically. Message-wise. For the first time in a long while, I have found no reason to play my worship playlist on my ride to work. Why? ‘Today We Rebel’ is a worship album and I can’t get enough of it.
“Sing to you” is a song that encourages us to sing to God even in the midst of the storm. The question is, will God hear me though? Won’t the sound of the stormy winds drown out my voice? Why should we sing through our pain? I ask myself these questions every time. It is amazing how we read and appreciate the story of Paul and Silas singing and praising God in prison till their chains fell off yet when it is our turn to lift up holy hands to God and sing our lungs out despite our burdens, we choose to plunge ourselves further into the mire. Which is very unfortunate because we turn away from the anchor of our hope when we decide against worshiping God in the bad times. It is hard dear friends. However, there is no hope elsewhere than in the arms of God.
In KB’s second verse of the song he said:
All night I couldn’t sleep
Thinking about all this joy that I couldn’t keep
All these holes in my heart it just seems
I’ve been pierced more times than I can speak
I got another hole from a friend last week
Lord, Lord why so many holes in me?
Then I saw the hands that were holding me,
He said ‘I know you, son, I’ve got holes too’.
I will tell you why these lines are so special to me. I have not studied all religions, but from the little I know, Christianity is the only one that has at its center a deity who has tasted of the worst kind of suffering a human being can ever go through. How is this so? God came down to earth as a man to live amongst us, to suffer like any of us. He became one of us that we through him might become like him. That for me is enough. Because then when I go to God to tell him about my pain, I can never say something like ‘you won’t understand me’. Why? Because he does! He does because he became man and walked amongst men as one of us. He bore the cross on his sore back and was nailed to it, naked and battered like a thief. It is painful to go through torture of that nature. But to go through undeserved torture and having the power to speak a word for it all to go away yet choosing not to do so, is twice as torturous. I come to God with my problems knowing that he wouldn’t dismiss me and blame me for not being strong enough. In fact, he admonishes us in the gospels to come to him when we are heavily laden and burdened and he will give us rest. There is no shame in approaching God in your pain. Very few things can be more shameful than death on the cross. If he went through that and is now seated victorious and high above every power, best believe he understands you and your pain. It is very exhausting trying to explain your pain to another person. First, what you deem painful might not be regarded as such by whoever you are telling. When you step up to God in prayer, do so in all confidence that he has gone through excruciating pain too and understands how you feel.
Our High Priest
Not only should we confidently approach God in prayer because he has gone through pain before, also we should be bold to talk to him about the weights and the sins that easily beset us. Sin is shameful and dwindles our confidence in coming before God. However, if you think about it, Jesus who never sinned became sin literally on the cross so that you and I may become the righteousness of God. The bible says he never sinned yet he was made sin. This is a very unfair exchange but all this was done for the sake of you and me. Therefore, if we sin, it shouldn’t deter us from running to him. He became sin for goodness sake! He knows the shame of sin. He knows it all.
In the Old Testament, the High Priest went in into the Most Holy place to offer sacrifice for the sins of the children of Israel once every year. The sacrifice was accepted based on how pure the animal was and how pure the high priest was. The high priest could lose his life if he stood before God having sin in him. Thanks be to God our high priest doubles as the sacrifice. Thanks be to God also that he is very pure. Therefore, our confidence of righteousness is not in our deeds but totally in the purity of the sacrifice that bought our redemption. The writer of Hebrews put it this way:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14 – 16
Our high priest was tempted in every way as we are right now yet he was without sin. He isn’t oblivious to the weight of temptation. Neither does he judge us unfairly. Therefore in all confidence, we approach the throne of God that we may receive mercy if we sin and to find grace to keep us from sinning.
The Humanity in the Trinity
The WORD became flesh and dwelt amongst men as Jesus. The WORD literally took a demotion to become a man so as to accomplish the divine assignment of redeeming man from sin. Hence in that line, ‘I know you, son, I’ve got holes too’, what Christ is actually telling us is that he has been a man before. For who can wound God? Who can inflict physical pain on God? Had he not condescended to mortal man would he have ever known pain? There is humanity in the Trinity now because the WORD which became flesh has gone back to his former estate having experienced human suffering. That is why he is the one constantly interceding for us. And we cannot express our gratitude for this enough.
The first part of the line that says ‘I know you…’ deserves every bit of attention as we give the entire line. When God knows you, it is way different from being known by any human being. At best, our closest friends, parents, and spouses can only be familiar with our ways. But God knows as through and through. He told Jeremiah, ‘before you were a clot of blood in your mother’s womb, I knew you and ordained you to be a prophet to the nations’. God’s knowledge of us is the reason he predestines us. He knows you that’s why he has destined you to become who you are and who you will be in the near future. Way before you were a clot of blood in your mother’s womb, there was a calling on your life because God knows you. Therefore it is so remarkable that before he tells us he has holes too, he states that he knows us (according to the song).
Finally, it is very likely most of us look at the image of Christ on the cross and assume he only had 4 holes in his body and that was all he had to deal with. Note KB didn’t talk about physical holes in the song. He spoke about holes in the heart. These are marks of pain, anguish and sorrows that we suffer from being hurt emotionally, psychologically and even spiritually either by events or people around us. If that is so then we would have to come to the understanding that the 4 holes in Jesus’ body – the two in his wrist and the two in his feet – were not the only source of pain for him on the cross. A few days prior to the cross, he had been sold for 30 pieces of silver by one of his close allies. He was arrested after he had prayed so intensely that his sweat turned into blood. This points to the fact that Jesus was in a severe psychological and emotional distress before the Roman soldiers could ever subject him to any physical torture.
While being taken away he was denied three times by one of his closest disciples. At the cross, 10 of his disciples had gone into hiding leaving only John there. Even God had ‘forsaken’ him to the extent that he had to cry out in pain and ask why God had done that. I haven’t been this forsaken in my life before. We are talking about one who had been whipped with a flagrum the previous day and a crown of thorns forced onto his head. Then on the cross, he was pierced at his side with a spear.
When someone who has been through this level of torture assures you he understands your pain, you are left with no option than to understand your own pain. If you can just see the hands that are holding you, you will notice the scars. That ought to comfort you.
When Jesus assures you he understands your pain and does nothing about it, it is because he was also made to endure the worst kind of pain a man can ever be subjected to. If the joy that was set before him was the reason he endured such excruciating pain, then the joy that is set before you should be enough reason for you to endure too. The hope of our calling is the joy that is set before us – that one of these days we will see him as he is when he returns. May this joy remind you of the hope and purpose that is in you even in your darkest hour.