I have been crucified with the Messiah, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I have my Yeshua time the first hour and the last hour of every day. But besides that, during this one week, he had been waking me up during the night to show me things about this one specific topic. So on this night when I woke up and heard his instruction, I figured we would be on the same topic.
While I was lying on the bed, he told me to raise my arms. I did that and praised him and told him I loved him. Then my arms got cold, so I turned over and covered up.
But I kept hearing him instructing me to raise my arms. Again I figured he had something he was going to show me. So I obeyed him. And he did!
So there I was lying on my bed with my arms raised. He wasn’t saying anything and my arms got cold again. I started to lower my arms and reposition the covers to find a way to get warmer. But I could hear him say, “Stop trying to get comfortable.” I thought that was curious, and then he said, “I wasn’t comfortable holding my arms out either.”
Oh wow! I realized he was referring to his crucifixion. This is not the topic I assumed it would be. I started to understand that he wanted to show me some things about his experience on the cross. He was encouraging me to imagine myself in his position. And pretty soon he started showing me things I’ve never seen or thought of before.
The first thing I thought of was how long Yeshua was on the cross. Six hours. I wondered if I might be there in that position for six hours. I looked at the clock and it was 12:42 am. I thought, “Well, if that’s what you want, I will do it because I love you.”
He replied to me, “That’s why I did it for you, too.”
Several years ago, I bought Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion.” But I had to turn if off when it got to the flogging. I couldn’t watch it, and I never picked it up again. It’s enough for me to just imagine it vs. actually seeing it.
On this night I had been praying for him to show me things from his perspective, and I thought, although it was a surprising topic, this definitely qualified. I remembered Paul told us that Yeshua endured the cross “for the joy set before him.” (Hebrews 12:2) That’s what I was doing – I wanted to do whatever he told me for what I would gain on the other side. I had asked to see things from his perspective, and this is what he wanted to show me.
I thought my arm muscles would ache. How would I hold my arms up that long? I thought about Moses during the battle with the Amalakites. When his arms were raised, the Israelites prevailed, but if he lowered them, the Amalekites prevailed. So Aaron and Hur held his arms up when he couldn’t do it anymore. (Exodus 17:8-13)
While that was likely a foreshadow of Yeshua’s outstretched arms winning the victory over the enemy, there was no one holding up Yeshua’s arms.
In a crucifixion, there are a lot of ways to die. Mostly crucifixion was used because the pain could be prolonged. It was a slow, agonizing death. The most common way to die would be asphyxiation or suffocation. When you’re hanging in that position, you can’t get enough air. You have to keep lifting yourself up in order to breathe. And when you can no longer do that, your airway and arteries become blocked and you die. It can take hours or even days.
So, I thought “if he wants me to lay in my bed with my arms up for six hours, I can do that.”
It started out with an itch. I started to scratch it. But Yeshua couldn’t scratch an itch, so I didn’t scratch it.
I started to move around to try to get more comfortable. But Yeshua couldn’t move, so I didn’t move.
Then I became so cold, I started to shiver. I thought about Yeshua. He was nearly naked, he was outside and losing blood. The sun became dark for the last three hours from noon to 3:00. He had been flogged, and now his raw back was pinned against the wood of his cross. His feet and hands had nails through them. If he shivered from a chill, he would have had excruciating pain from his wounds against the wood and nails. Or, if he were hot from the sun before it was darkened, his sweat would have run down into his open wounds.
I started to realize what he was doing with me. He was bringing me into his experience on the cross. He was showing me things that I had never considered. He was personally telling me what it was like, and helping me imagine a fraction of his experience.
Pretty soon, I felt hungry. Yeshua’s last meal, the Passover meal, might have been 12-13 hours before this, after sunset the previous day. Since that meal, he had walked to the Garden of Gethsemane where he was arrested. He had walked back to town and then back and forth between Pilot and Herod. He had been flogged, 40 lashes, beaten with a stick to his head, and then carried his cross through the streets as far as he could. He was weak, and he was hungry probably well before he got to the cross.
After that, I noticed the hair band holding my hair back felt like a knot in the back of my head. I said, “Yeshua, when did the back of your head hurt?” He reminded me of the crown of thorns. If it was still on his head or put on his head while he was on the cross, he couldn’t lean his head back without the thorns digging into him. He had to keep his head forward, which makes it even harder to breathe. And it forces the blood from the thorns in his forehead to stream straight down into his face.
At one point I opened my eyes. I realized even that – Yeshua probably couldn’t open his eyes. The blood streaming down from the thorns in his forehead would’ve collected up and dried in his eye sockets, sealing his eyes shut. There might have been flies on his face and head, and on his back, and hands, and feet.
But before the blood flowed into his eyes, if he had opened them and looked down from the hill, he likely would’ve seen the temple. He would be reminded that he was becoming the temple. He would’ve been reminded that he was the very last lamb that ever needed to be sacrificed for sin.
In that scene, the temple literally represented “the joy set before him” while he was on the cross. His death would do away with the need for a temple made by hands and the sacrifices for atonement.
Previously, during that week, our parsha included Numbers 19. I remembered verse 5 standing out to me, and it came to mind now. Numbers 19:2-5:
“This is a requirement of the law that the Lord has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke. Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the tent of meeting. While he watches, the heifer is to be burned—its hide, flesh, blood and intestines.”
When I read that earlier in the week, I remember wondering why they would have to watch it burn. Why would that be part of the commandment of an offering? And now I could see why. Yehovah, too, had to watch while his son was sacrificed. I believe in this commandment, the Father is asking us to identify with him in his sorrow and grief at the sacrifice that he would make for us. Instead of an animal, it’s his own son.
But then something funny happened. At one point I was crying with gratitude that, here I was doing something so simple and so small – the size of a mustard seed, and he was blessing me with so much revelation in return. I remembered Matthew 13 that I had read that morning. It tells us that the mustard seed has the smallest seed, but produces the largest plant in the garden, it can grow into a tree. He’s so generous. And at that moment, while I was thanking him for this experience, I had a hot flash. It was so enjoyable, as if Yeshua was putting a blanket over me.
And with that, he showed me that the Father didn’t just watch Yeshua die, as the priests had to watch the sacrifice burn. He was there with Yeshua comforting, encouraging, reassuring him. The father did not delegate this to angels or cherubim. He put the temple and the sacrifices right in front of Yeshua to help him focus on why he was doing this. And Yeshua could see the holy of holies, where his Father’s presence dwelt to remind him that his Father’s presence was with him. And that he heard every cry, every sigh, he saw every drop of blood, everything going on inside his body, he knew every thought in his mind. He did not forsake him like some mistakenly believe.
Why, then, did he say “Eli, Eli, lama sabach thani?” “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Yeshua was quoting the first line of Psalm 22. (Please Read Psalm 22.)
“For the joy set before him.” He was announcing to those that knew the scriptures, those who had ears to hear, that the fulfilment of this prophetic Psalm was taking place in their presence at this moment. He was declaring that he was in agreement with the plan. He was explaining why he was letting this happen.
I thought about the people passing by on the road, jeering, mocking, spitting, accusing, judging. Why did he keep himself alive for six hours on that cross? He could have stopped lifting himself up to breathe. He could have stopped breathing at any time. He was on the cross from 9 am and died at 3 pm. What happens at 3 pm on Passover?
He died at the same time that the Passover lambs were being slaughtered. They were slaughtered after the burnt offering that was offered every day at 3:00.
Yeshua knew he was the Passover Lamb from the beginning. But how did he know when it was 3:00? The Father likely prompted him as to when he could give up his spirit. Remember, he only did what he saw the father doing.
But here’s another clue. He could likely smell the lamb on the altar from where he was hanging. In Hebrew that specific offering at 3:00 is called the “olah.” It happens twice a day and would have been a familiar smell.
This is the fragrant aroma to Adonai that we read about in the offerings of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers.
The olah sacrifice of that Passover had to be the most fragrant, pleasing aroma that the Father ever smelled, the smell of victory over the enemy once and for all, the smell of eternal life for all mankind.
I had not set a six-hour alarm. I figured Yeshua would tell me when I was done. When I remembered about the olah, I wondered if there would be a smell associated with it when he wanted me to stop. He could do that if he wanted.
Perspective, Then Transformation
What I was really struck with throughout the experience was that he did it all willingly. He could have given up his Spirit right away. He could have loosened the nails and come down off the cross and healed himself. He could have called down fire from heaven to prove he was the Messiah. But he didn’t.
Remember John 10:17-18:
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
He chose to willingly put himself on that cross and everything that led up to it, and then to hang there for six hours, so that everything was accomplished: Tetelestai. That’s what he yelled out before he died. It means “it is finished.” It’s a Greek word that was written on receipts to show that they had been paid in full, no more was owed.
I thought about Isaac. (Genesis 22:1-19) At likely 37 years old when he and Abraham climbed the mountain to make an offering to Yehovah, Isaac had to put himself on that altar. He had to tell his father, “Let me do this, I’ll be the sacrifice.”
But in that moment also, Yeshua was the ram – the ram with his horns tangled in a crown of thorns, offering himself to Abraham. Yeshua gave himself up to save Isaac. This shows Yehovah’s heart when he says, “to obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) Isaac was obedient, so Yehovah provided the sacrifice.
Abraham told Isaac that God would provide the lamb. But when they got to the top of the mountain, they didn’t look for a lamb. They weren’t just trying to check the box and make a sacrifice, just trying to follow the letter of the law. No, when Isaac realized what God was suggesting, he agreed to it. He didn’t have to do it. He volunteered himself. I’m sure they didn’t understand why it needed to be done. He didn’t even have Yeshua as a role model. They didn’t know that Yeshua would eventually give his life for Isaac and for all mankind.
It’s something beyond obedience to Yehovah’s instructions. It’s listening to his heart and being willing to align with his plan, and giving yourself to it without being forced into it, or having to be cajoled or coaxed into it.
We see this again with Isaiah. Isaiah volunteered himself in Isaiah 6:8. After seeing the Lord in all his glory, Isaiah feels completely inadequate to speak for him. But as soon as he’s purified, he hears the Lord is looking for volunteers, and he jumps in and raises his hand. He says, “Here am I.” This word in Hebrew is “Hineni.” It means ready to be fully available, ready to pay attention, ready to obey instructions. It means “I bring everything I am to you. I’m all in – body, soul, heart and mind.”
In fact it’s the word Abraham used in Genesis 22:1 right before Yehovah asked him to sacrifice his son.
Isaiah doesn’t even know where he’ll be sent or what message Yehovah may give him to speak. He doesn’t ask who he’ll be speaking to, or how long he’ll be gone, or what the circumstances might be. He doesn’t count the cost first, he doesn’t wait for God to tap him on the shoulder and instruct him to do this or that. He doesn’t come with “what if’s” and “what about’s.” He doesn’t take the week to think about it. “Can I let you know?” “I’ll get back to you.” No, he jumps in whole-heartedly once he hears that the Lord is looking for someone. He volunteers. (Isaiah 6)
Contrast this to Moses. I love Moses, he’s revered among the patriarchs for good reason, and this is one of the lessons we learn from his life. He also answered with “Hineni” when Yehovah called to him from the burning bush (Exodus 3:4). But what was his reaction when he learned of God’s request? “I can’t do it, can’t you get someone else? There must be others more qualified than I.” (Exodus 3-4)
Haven’t we all felt that way? Isaiah felt that way, but he confessed that, and when the angel reassured him, he jumped right back in the game.
Moses not only didn’t volunteer when he heard the Lord’s heart, he tried to get out of it even when it was a direct order. In the end Moses’ anger with the people caused him to sin to the point that he was not allowed into the Promised Land. He blames that on the Israelites. (Contrast Numbers 20:7-12 with Deuteronomy 3:23-26.)
I wonder, if Moses had volunteered for this job and aligned his heart with God’s Instead of going in kicking and screaming, if maybe his attitude would have been such that he could’ve made it into the Promised Land? Just a thought about I wonder if the way we see our circumstances affects the trajectory of our attitude down the road?
Sometimes we’re afraid that if we offer ourselves to God — hineni — that he’s going to make us live in the desert for 40 years, or make us sacrifice our son, or allow what happened to Job to happen to us. So we hold back from offering our whole self. “I surrender all… well, except for this, or certainly not that, and of course I don’t want this to change.”
But Yeshua, but Yeshua — he raised that bar. He showed us that to have the complete joy that is set before us — all of our eternal rewards — the bar is not just obedience to bring a sacrifice, but to climb up on the cross or the altar and become the sacrifice, without trying to use our power to get out of the situation, without having to make sure things are fair or equitable, without minimizing our suffering. But instead, doing every single thing asked, so that when you’re finished, “Tetelestai,” there’s nothing else owed, nothing else needs to be added.
When my husband, Dan, was sick and started needing more care, I stepped up my efforts. But it was hard, and I was frustrated trying to do it all. Finally something had to give. So I reluctantly gave up many of my own pursuits — blogging, singing in a choir, other projects I was working on.
But, when I devoted myself whole-heartedly, sacrificially, to taking care of him, I found that things got so much better for both of us. I was much happier being able to do everything I knew he needed, without rushing, without shortcutting, without frustration of what I wasn’t getting to. And Dan was much happier when he didn’t feel like he was a burden, or like he was stressing me out.
Dan was dying, he didn’t need health care as much as he needed to feel God’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are the things that gave him comfort and hope and the will to keep going. Once I willingly gave myself to it, I was able to give him what I call life-changing love.
He eventually died of a condition we could not correct, and that no nursing home could have corrected. When it came down to it, getting him the best possible care was not as important to us as being together and bringing each other love and joy every day.
The day I first gave this message was the 2-year anniversary of his death. And looking back, I would not change anything I did. Nothing I gave up compares to what I was able to give him.
And on that day I was talking about the death of my eternal husband – Yeshua — who I’m positive feels the same way. He wouldn’t change a thing. He would do it all again if he had to.
When we see God’s heart and volunteer with our whole selves — Hineni — as Yeshua did, that’s what brings more life, abundant life, extended life, resurrection life. I’m sure you have experiences of that in your life.
Paul says it in Galatians 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Yeshua; it is no longer I who live, but Yeshua lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
That has a lot more meaning for me now, after Yeshua showed me this from his perspective.
I have a space heater on a timer in my bedroom. At that time I had it set to come on in the morning, so that my bedroom was warm by the time I got out of bed. That night as I lay there with my hands up, I thought I heard it come on. But I thought, “No that couldn’t be the heater, it’s not time.” So I kept my arms up. And then I began to smell the heat. So I looked at the clock, it was 4:42 am. The experience went on for exactly four hours. Yeshua was merciful, he did not keep me there for six hours. But he did end it with the smell of the heater in my room, just as his time on the cross ended with the smell of the olah offering on the altar.
When you see God’s heart, say yes, say hineni!