rebelling against low expectations

The Great Rescue


The Great Rescue

The following is excerpted from our big brother Josh’s book, Boy Meets Girl.

Why the Cross? Because sinners have no other hope. Why the Cross? Because it is the unassailable proof that we can be forgiven.

Let’s gaze on it together. As we draw close, don’t assume that you already know or understand what happened there. Come to the Cross as if for the first time. In the book When God Weeps, Stephen Estes and Joni Eareckson Tada give the following account of Christ’s death. As you read, refuse to let the scene be familiar. Let its reality shock you and break your heart.

The face that Moses had begged to see—was forbidden to see—was slapped bloody (Exodus 33:19-20). The thorns that God had sent to curse the earth’s rebellion now twisted around his own brow…

“On your back with you!” One raises a mallet to sink in the spike. But the soldier’s heart must continue pumping as he readies the prisoner’s wrist. Someone must sustain the soldier’s life minute by minute, for no man has this power on his own. Who supplies breath to his lungs? Who gives energy to his cells? Who holds his molecules together? Only by the Son do “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). The victim wills that the solider live on—he grants the warriors continued existence. The man swings.

As the man swings, the Son recalls how he and the Father first designed the medial nerve of the human forearm—the sensations it would be capable of. The design proves flawless—the nerves perform exquisitely. “Up you go!” They lift the cross. God is on display in his underwear and can scarcely breathe.

But these pains are a mere warm-up to his other and growing dread. He begins to feel a foreign sensation. Somewhere during this day an unearthly foul odor began to waft, not around his nose, but his heart. He feels dirty. Human wickedness starts to crawl upon his spotless being—the living excrement from our souls. The apple of his Father’s eye turns brown with rot.

His Father! He must face his Father like this!

From heaven the Father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes his mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross. Never has the Son seen the Father look at him so, never felt even the least of his hot breath. But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognize these eyes.

“Son of Man! Why have you behaved so? You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped—murdered, envied, hated, lied. You have cursed, robbed overspent, overeaten—fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh, the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned! Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name? Have you ever held your razor tongue? What a self-righteous, pitiful drunk—you, who molest young boys, peddle killer drugs, travel in cliques, and mock your parents. Who gave you the boldness to rig elections, foment revolutions, torture animals, and worship demons? Does the list never end! Splitting families, raping virgins, acting smugly, playing the pimp—buying politicians, practicing exhortation, filming pornography, accepting bribes. You have burned down buildings, perfected terrorist tactics, founded false religions, traded in slaves—relishing each morsel and bragging about it all. I hate, loathe these things in you! Disgust for everything about you consumes me! Can you not feel my wrath?”

Of course, the Son is innocent. He is blamelessness itself. The Father knows this. But the divine pair have an agreement, and the unthinkable must now take place. Jesus will be treated as if personally responsible for every sin ever committed.

The Father watches as his heart’s treasure, the mirror-image of himself, sinks drowning into raw, liquid sin. Jehovah’s stored rage against humankind from every century explodes in a single direction.

“Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?!”

But heaven stops its ears. The Son stares up at the One who cannot, who will not, reach down or reply.

The Trinity had planned it. The Son endured it. The Spirit enabled him. The Father rejected the Son whom he loved. Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, perished. The Father accepted his sacrifice for sin and was satisfied. The Rescue was accomplished.

Don’t move too quickly from this scene. Keep gazing.

The Rescue accomplished here was for you. John Stott writes, “Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us (leading us to faith and worship), we have to see it as something done by us (leading us to repentance)… As we face the cross, then, we can say to ourselves both ‘I did it; my sins sent Him there,’ and ‘He did it; His love took Him there.'”

Did you see your own offenses on the list of sins that necessitated the Cross? If not, name them yourself. Name your darkest sin. Now reflect on the fact that Christ bore the punishment for that sin. He took the punishment you deserved. Do you feel His passionate and specific love for you? He died for you. He was condemned and cursed so that you could go free—He was forsaken by God so that you would never be forsaken (Hebrews 13:5).

That’s what Jesus’ death on the cross has to do with our past sin right now.

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Thanks for this post! It’s always so wonderful and humbling to reflect on God’s love, to see the wretchedness of our sin and the magnitude of God’s love. We serve an amazing and forgiving God!!

    “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”- 2 Corinthians 8:9

  • A band I love to listen is called ‘Seven Places’, for the seven places Christ bled. And on one of their song on their album “Lonely for the Last Time”, they put a part of a John Courson (a pastor somewhere) sermon on a song they did, and it always gets me crying. It talks of the Seven Places that Christ bled at. His head…His back…His hands(right and left)…His feet…and His side. And I would ask that everyone listen to this track. It’s called “Awakening” by Seven Places. It’s good.

  • wow. i have never read any of this stuff before but a friend of mine from my church has started a study group on the book. so i decided to check out the site. and wow. that post just blew me away. i have never been able to find a way to put into words the way that stuff makes me feel.

  • Thanks guys, for that reminder. Our sin looks so horribly ugly sometimes…but we have to remember that we have been forgiven! Christ died for MY sins, as he did YOURS! It’s a glorious thing to have a King so Holy and forgiving.

  • Hey guys, I put the song (Awakening) up on my(our) blog and I would like you to listen to it. There is one theological mistake he makes at the beginning, see if you can find it and comment it on my blog.

  • wow, its such a powerful message. Most people, including myself, overlook the true meaning of Christ dieing on the cross. It seems hard to even think about what our lives would be like if He didn’t.

  • It is inconceivable how many sins, feelings of disgust, depression, and things so unholy to God that were put upon Jesus Christ at the cross. It is so hard to imagine the pain and suffering he went through, the knowledge of innocence, and yet the willingness to accept responsibility for every single person born past, present and future. He did these things for us but we continue to ignore it and attempt to live our way instead of following the plans and blessings God has in store for us. How selfish and contemptible are we? Blessed is he who follows in the name of the Lord.

  • Wow. Thanks for posting that. That is such a beautiful way to look at the cross and what the Father and Son did for us. It blows my mind away. To think that He died for me when I least deserved it……. It’s amazing.

  • Wow that’s powerful. Even though I’ve heard the crucifiction story so many times, I don’t think I’ve ever quite seen it from such a reality-saturated perspective. So many things about the Jesus story tend to seem otherworldly or glorified for me, so it’s always amazing to be reminded that Jesus’ life on earth wasn’t otherworldly or glorified: it was just as realistic as ours is today. Thanks so much for the post.

  • Thanks for that guys. I really needed that today. There’s nothing better for growing our humility than looking at the precious cross of Christ as if for the first time. And realizing that He would have died even if it was my sin alone that He bore. What a Savior! 😀

  • Wow! That was a wonderful post. Thank you so much for posting it. It made me think of the cross in a completly new way. It brought tears to my eyes to thing of my Creator willingly suffering so horribly and dying for me. I need to read this every day to remind me to live for my Savior. Thank you so much.

  • That was a wonderful post! I’m growing up in a Christian home, and have heard this story all my life, so sometimes it seems just like an old fairy tale. Thank you for helping it come to life again!

    Romans 8:39 “…nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Not even death on the cross, covered with our sin!

  • Thanx! What a great reminder! These last few days I’ve started wondering if there was really something for me to live for;looking for something to keep me going, and now this…
    Praise God!!

  • Wow, what a reminder. Thanks so much for posting it. We get so caught up in all our everyday thoughts and practices that we need a reminder constantly of what Christ bore for us. What He paid. I’ll have to show this to my Mom. Thank you again!

    And I’m hopefully going to the Dallas conference on the 28th! Can’t wait to be there and hear everything!!

  • Wow. That was amazing! Thank you SO much for this website-it is so very helpful and uplifting. That exerpt from Boy Meets Girl is INCREDIBLE. I’m definately putting that book on my birthday list! Tell your big brither that he is an amazing Man-of-God and that he’s on my prayer list (as are you!). Thank you for this post-I LOVED it!

  • And to think that the guilt we feel after reading that is not even the half of what we should. And to think the utter thankfulness we extend to God for this greatest of all sacrifices is not even close to what it ought to be. And to think that the overwhelming love we feel poured down on us every day is not anywhere near the whole.

    This entry blessed me. Thank you.


  • Wow! That took my breath away. It reminds me of a song I’ve listened to a lot lately: “The Power of the Cross” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

    A song I listened to today convicted me about the sins within the Church. Even with all of our stumbling and sinning against one another, Christ is still holding on to His bride. He hasn’t given up on what He laid the way for on the awesome cross:

    “And as you hung in naked grief bleeding for our crimes
    You saw our fickle hearts and cried
    I love you-you are mine

    For we crucify each other leaving a battered wounded bride,
    But Jesus loves the church
    So we’ll walk the isle of history towards the marriage feast
    For Jesus loves the church”
    -“Jesus Loves the Church” by Phil Keaggy and Sheila Walsh:

  • Wow, I’ve heard stories of the crucifiction but never have I heard something so powerful as this. Thank you for posting this. A friend of mine stated something that is so true: “At the heart of everything, there are three words that all of history seems to point towards: ‘It is finished.'”

  • One of the most beautiful depictions of the cross I’ve ever read. Thank you for posting this. (I’d read it before, but it always strengthens one’s faith to read it again.)

    May this glorious truth never loosen its hold on my heart. May we always remember.

  • The paragraph where the Father is pooring out his wrath on Jesus… hit me dead on. Sometimes it is so easy to look at the immediate world around you, the ‘good’ (or at least better) people, and not see the revolting sin that is dishonoring our God. But it is even easier to not look any deeper than the surface of your heart where the very same slander is taking place in the temple of the Holy Spirit.

    I always find that when I am doing well in all the ordinary things of life, it is then that stop fixing my eyes on the cross and the increadible meaning that it takes in my life, and I start walking on my own. Of course I fall–but that is another amazing thing about the cross: we can always go back to it. On our good days and on our bad days. Like you guys said, “Come to the cross like it was your first time” that is so important. . .

    Thanks for posting.

  • I’ve bookmarked this page. It made me cry. But it’s the answer to the prayer I’ve been praying: for God to help me understand more and truly appreciate what He did for me. It’s freeing and wonderful.


  • Wow! Perfect timing… I needed that. I was close to tears. Thank you for posting this. It is truly amazing.

  • i absolutely loved the application to today’s word and a picture of “today’s” sins. It really passionatly connects it to our lives. Thanks so much!

  • That was amazing…it literally took my breath away. I can’t even imagine such love and such suffering. How can we ever doubt God’s love for us?

  • Thanks so much for putting that up. I’ve never heard it described quite like that. The irony of it all is stunning. I don’t know what song it’s from, but this line comes to mind: “Ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.” My sin did all that.

  • That’s graphic! It reminds me of a sermon I read that Was by Johnathan Edwards[if you’ve heard of him] He say that we are like a spider hanging by a single thread over the Lake of Fire the flames are lapping up at our feet and we are dying. It so scary to think about going to hell to live eternal condemnation. I’m glad Jesus died but he was in so much pain. Physically: he was whipped, stabbed, hit with rods, fed vinegar, and had thorns forced into his head. Mentally: he was mocked, taunted about His power, and the biggest one was that he was bearing the sins of the world! How Amazing is that. Our Savior has conquered sin and death and those he has chose will live with Him forever It blows my mind every time I think about it. We are sinful He is the Savior! I love it!

    Thanks for posting this!

  • Wow. Incomprehensible love. Sweet Saviour.
    I’m reading “Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ” by John Piper, which I would highly recommend, and just today I read a chapter about the sufferings of Christ. I’ve been feeling fearful and weak lately, and to be reminded of Christ’s beautiful love is exactly what I need. Here is a quote from the prayer at the end of that chapter of Seeing and Savoring: “Waken dead parts of our hearts that cannot feel what must be felt– that we are loved with the deepest, strongest, purest love in the universe.” The deepest, the strongest, the purest, the most faithful, the most fulfilling love in the universe. We are loved with that love. Glory to God forever and ever!

  • I never thought about it that way. They vivid descriptions used just put that whole picture into perspective. This passage truley backs up the statement, “How great is our God”

  • I lead a Bible study on Wednesday mornings and I shared this with my group. When I finished reading it, everyone was silent. The excerpt from the book was so amazing. It revealed the horror and pain in the familiar, often brished over, story of Jesus’ death. Thanks for posting it!

  • I could never do what Christ did, and neither can the rest of you! I could not even go through what Messiah had experienced without giving up midway through! This put me in mind of the Newsboys song, “Amazing Love” especially where the chorus is concerned. “…Amazing love! How can it be
    that You My King would die for me?
    Amazing love, I know it’s true
    And it’s my joy to honor You!

    In all I do
    let me honor You!” Enough said!

  • Thanks so much for that! Not much can be added to what was said there except a continuation into the ressurection which is equally amazing.

  • God’s love is Amazing. one of my favorite songs is by hillsong united..Its called Mighty to Save. Everyone needs compassion
    Love that’s never failing
    Let mercy fall on me
    Everyone needs forgiveness
    The kindness of a Saviour
    The hope of nations

    He can move the mountains
    My God is mighty to save
    He is mighty to save
    Author of salvation
    He rose and conquered the grave
    Jesus conquered the grave

    So take me as You find me
    All my fears and failures
    Fill my life again
    I give my life to follow
    Everything I believe in
    Now I surrender

    Shine Your light and let the whole world see
    We’re singing
    For the glory of the risen King

    This song talks about how mighty our God is…His compassion and love is inconceviable and amazing…Sin is sometimes more than you can bear…For me and can be…Sometimes in those dark hours when I convince myself that God can’t forgiv me for the terrible lie I told or the hate I felt…He reveals his Amazing Love and his Mightiness to Save…

  • Hi, I’m new to this blog stuff so please pardon me if I’m not too up to date on this… I just finished reading this book. That said, I would like to share my experience with this portion of the Boy Meets Girl. As I read this I began to cry uncontrollably. The realness of what Christ did for me had overwhelmed me once again. I got on my knees and began to pray. I prayed for forgiveness because I should remember this part of history every second of every minute of every hour of every day. I heard a still small voice say to me… “Do you know how I proposed to you?” I asked God “how?” and my Heavenly Father responded “When my Son hung on the cross” WOAH! This blew me away… I started crying even more. God asked me to marry Him when He laid down His life for me, an act of love by the romantic God that we serve. I told my God that I accepted His proposal the day I accepted Him as my personal Savior. I am so excited because we are going to get married in Heaven. I don’t know about you but I want to marry God. I love Him so much! After that revelation, I can’t stop telling people about God’s love. He is truly awesome!
    I am currently reading Do Hard Things, and now I want to write a book on how God proposed to us. Any thoughts/suggestions/advice?

  • Step by step, it gets heavier and heavier.
    Blood, Your precious blood,
    drip, drip, and drip.

    Day by day, it gets harder and harder.
    Heart, Your passionate heart,
    burn, burn, and burn.

    You carried the cross,
    You paid the cost,
    You cried
    “All you who have fallen short,
    walk to the cross, see it for yourself.”

    Gaze. Don’t stop gazing.

  • […] A Highlight I would encourage everyone to check out this article from the Rebelution. Also a book I highly recommend is Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper. Maybe we could even all read it together. Here is the link for the article: The Great Rescue […]

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →