For movie night this week, we left our typical stereotypical movie genres (StarWars, silly kid movies, and old school movies that we loved as children and forgot may not be appropriate for children) we watched an incredible documentary about the man who free solo climbed El Capitan in Yosemite. As we watched this eccentric young man process and prepare for an unthinkable feat, about the only climbing we did was up our few stairs to get more mini Oreos.
We all went to bed with white knuckles and heads full of his daring (arguably dumb) feat. The image of a man climbing up a 3,000-foot granite rock face with no ropes, no water and little to no fear was beyond shocking. Even his closest friends and comrades with cameras had to look away often, as fear of watching him take the slightest misstep and plummet to his death overcame them.
I wish I could say watching the National Geographic film inspired me to want to go bouldering, but, alas, it did not. However, it did leave me with a troop of wall-climbing boys and a different image of the gospel that led me to more awe at the Savior.
After His baptism at the hands of John in the Jordan River, a heavenly-affirmed Jesus was led by the Spirit into the nearby wilderness where He was sorely tempted by His Father’s former-friend-turned-fiend.
After the Enemy’s initial temptation to provide his own bread after 4o days of intense fasting, Matthew continues to record the second temptation.
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands, they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test”.’ Matthew 4:5-7.
The temptation He was enticed with would have him prove to the world in a flashy way His Father’s particular favor and care. Yet, Jesus refused. Rather, He would live a mostly obscure, common life and would allow His father to lead Him to a very different hill on which He would die a criminal’s death.
Allowing for some poetic license, it is as if the Son of God, who created mountains like El Capitan allowed himself to be tossed down, plummeting to His untimely death when He could have had angelic hosts swoop to His saving. He allowed Himself to be crushed, that He might belay us to the heights of heaven where we might enjoy fellowship with the Father.
The Risen Rock
The One who made the mountains
Free soloed Himself to the top.
He whose fingers pinched the pinnacle
From its heights would willingly drop.
A host of angels might’ve caught Him,
But He bid them watch in shock,
His Father did not cushion Him,
As the ground obliterated the Rock.
In a shocked and stunned silence,
The whole world hung its head.
The Mountain-Making mighty one:
Scattered, slaughtered, and dead.
Until undoing eternal entropy,
The Rock of Ages once again rose,
Carrying with His costly reward,
Friends who had long been foes.
He would gladly belay His betrayers,
Harness them who caused his harm.
He holds and anchors His siblings
With His strong and saving arm.