A Spike-Torn Hand Twitched

The following is my favorite excerpt from one of my favorite books of 2011: Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ by Russell Moore (Crossway, 2011). The quote is worthy of a slow and careful read (from pages 124-125):

Part of the curse Jesus would bear for us on Golgotha was the taunting and testing by God’s enemies. As he drowned in his own blood, the spectators yelled words quite similar to those of Satan in the desert: “Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe” (Mark 15:32). But he didn’t jump down. He didn’t ascend to the skies. He just writhed there. And, after it all, the bloated corpse of Jesus hit the ground as he was pulled off the stake, spattering warm blood and water on the faces of the crowd.

That night the religious leaders probably read Deuteronomy 21 to their families, warning them about the curse of God on those who are “hanged on a tree.” Fathers probably told their sons, “Watch out that you don’t ever wind up like him.” Those Roman soldiers probably went home and washed the blood of Jesus from under their fingernails and played with their children in front of the fire before dozing off. This was just one more insurrectionist they had pulled off a cross, one in a line of them dotting the roadside. And this one (what was his name? Joshua?) was just decaying meat now, no threat to the empire at all.

That corpse of Jesus just lay there in the silences of that cave. By all appearances it had been tested and tried, and found wanting. If you’d been there to pull open his bruised eyelids, matted together with mottled blood, you would have looked into blank holes. If you’d lifted his arm, you would have felt no resistance. You would have heard only the thud as it hit the table when you let it go. You might have walked away from that morbid scene muttering to yourself, “The wages of sin is death.”

But sometime before dawn on a Sunday morning, a spike-torn hand twitched. A blood-crusted eyelid opened. The breath of God came blowing into that cave, and a new creation flashed into reality….

Astonishing.

Dr. Moore’s book will be released in April.

7 thoughts on “A Spike-Torn Hand Twitched

  1. This is a very powerful excerpt from what looks to be a solid book.

    However, in the last paragraph (A blood-crusted eyelid opened) I can’t help but wonder, wouldn’t they have washed the body? Can anyone shed some insight on this?

    I look forward to reading this in April.

  2. Austin, that’s a really good question. In fact none of the burial passages say that Jesus’ body was washed. Basically his body was wrapped in a clean linen shroud and John tells us he was also wrapped up with 75 pounds of aromatic spices. But no mention of washing (see John 19:38–42, Matt. 27:57–61, Mark 15:42–47, Luke 23:50–56).

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