The courtroom was ready. It had been decorated with hanging cotton clouds, figures of robins, owls, lions, giraffes, racing cars, sailboats, little airplanes of all types, and sparkly ribbons. There were also all kinds of stuffed animals ready for the new adoptees: a huge panda bear, a tiger with large squiggly stripes, a monkey hanging by its tail from one of the beams, and a huge Orca whale with black and white stripes. There was a beautifully decorated chocolate cake with pink and blue colors and animal designs on the attorney’s table. The court was waiting for three boys and a girl ages 12, 10, 9, and 7. The judge was nervously pacing in the hallway just outside the courtroom but already decked out in his courtroom robe. The attorneys nervously peered out the windows to the parking lot. The courtroom clerk picked up the phone receiver several times while dialing different numbers. The tension was obvious.
Finally, she motioned to the Adoption Department attorney to pick up on the other phone. I was there to translate for the proceedings since the children did not speak English well. We could only hear what the attorney was saying. “Say what? You can’t make it today? What happened? Don’t you have transportation? We can send a vehicle to pick you up. No? Is one of the kids sick? No? Then, why can’t you make it? What? Please say that again; I didn’t understand. You are going to what?”
The attorneys and the judge were already around the phone trying to listen. At that moment, the attorney pressed the speaker function on the phone so that all could hear. The man’s voice on the other end was loud and clear, “My wife and I are getting a divorce.” There was a click, and then, the dull sound of the dial tone. We all looked at each other in disbelief, frustration, and disappointment. Everyone had something to say: “They were such a good couple for those kids.” “Why didn’t that come up during the investigation?” “I wonder if there’s something we can do.” “Where are the kids now?” “We better send the police to pick up the kids and place them in another foster home.” Then the courtroom went quiet again. Everyone was looking up at the teddy bears and monkeys hanging from the ceiling. Then down at the cake. Without talking anymore about what we’d do next, we all found a chair, and then there were several minutes of silence. Finally, the judge broke the silence addressing the court clerk. “The matter is off the calendar.”
He would not go back on his word, for his word is the word of the Father and the Spirit, and they all say “come.”
What if Jesus hadn’t shown up at the cross for our adoption? What if the entire human race would have been left waiting at the foot of an empty cross for its redeemer? What if a prophet would have appeared on Mount Calvary crying out, “He’s not coming, he can’t make it, he changed his mind, things got too complicated for him! There’s been a disagreement in the Trinity. The Son wants to adopt sinners by grace alone; the Father and the Spirit want conditions. They could not come to an agreement.”
If this were the case, every one of us would be left to our own misery, sin, and condemnation. The promise of the Seed that would bless all nations wouldn’t be fulfilled. There would not be any justification, nor any eternal life—no forgiveness of sins by grace through faith. We would have to do our best with only the law as your savior. Maybe some of us would make it, but there would be no guarantee. We would all be our own redeemers, our own Messiahs. Scripture wouldn’t be a promise, but only a way to get all the power you can to meet the requirements of perfection. The Seed won’t be wounded for your sin; he won’t be pierced for your transgressions; he won’t be crushed for your iniquities. It was all a major divine faux pas. The matter has been taken off the calendar.
The prophet would continue, “There won’t be a cry of ‘it is finished,’ you’ll have to finish it on your own. There won’t be a burial either. You’ll have to die to your sin all by yourself, just do your best when death overtakes you. Try your hardest to resurrect on the third day, and if you do, then you must make the long jump to the presence of God and stand there before the Almighty Judge. Wash your hands really well; they’ve got to be super clean. And your heart must be altogether pure with not even the tiniest spot of sin.” And so on. Prophets like these never run out of good advice.
Fortunately, however, we no longer need prophets of good advice. Jesus did show up; that’s the testimony of Scripture. The matter was always on the calendar:
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Gal 4:4-5, NIV).
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
“Having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire” (Eph 1:5).
At the cross, Christ signed our certificate of adoption, without presenting us with a list of preconditions, or any conditions at all. He had met all the requirements; he finished the entire adoption process on his own. He declared us to be his adopted children forever. He would not go back on his word, for his word is the word of the Father and the Spirit, and they all say “come.” By faith, we’ve already been ushered into the divine courtroom to be given our certificate of adoption with our own new names and then to enjoy the party. No empty banquet table there. Our entire family in heaven and on earth is there, all reconciled. Stuffed teddy bears aren’t necessary, either, for the Lamb himself will be our refuge. His unfailing presence will be our eternal home.