When I was in college, I worked on the grounds keeping crew. That meant it was my job to keep the campus looking beautiful. Every morning, I would go out on campus with a bucket and a garbage grabber, which was a long tool that would enable me to pick up trash without bending over. Friday mornings were the worst, because Thursday night was party night. Beer cans, fast food bags, and other (unmentionable) paraphernalia would be littered all over campus. I would roam around for hours, picking up trash and filling up my bucket. I went to every corner of the property and gathered together all the trash that I could see.
Alec Motyer has a kicking translation of Isaiah 53:6. Here’s how he renders the Hebrew:
“All of us, like sheep we strayed. We each to his way turned aside. And Yahweh! He brought together upon him the iniquity of us all.”
I envision God as the cosmic trash collector, going out to every garbaged corner of the earth in order to clean it. He picks up every single piece of trash and puts it in his bucket. He gathers together all of the trash from every place and every person and every period of time. He gathers it all together, bundles it in one monstrous bag, and then drops it on his Son, Jesus. “He brought together upon him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus carries all of our garbage upon himself on the cross.
And we are left clean. We’re a beautiful campus. We’re not trashed, nor are we trash. Our sins have been bundled and brought to the cross. On the cross they were exterminated. We’re clean, don’t you see? Clean.
You’re not ugly, guilty, or a poor excuse for a human. You’re combed through by the King; you’re a Paradise for him to live in. You don’t believe me? Hear the verse plainly speak: you have no iniquity. Your sin is gone. That means you’re as clean as Eden and ready to be inhabited by the Holy.
And try not to be too offended that I called God a cosmic trash collector. But he had to become what we are, so that we could become what he is.
© Samuel Kee, 2012