You are loved.
by Stan Faryna
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
To say that Joseph and Mary did not have it easy would be an understatement.
Weary from travel, homeless (in a manner of speaking), and on the eve of delivery, they shared an inadequate and uncomfortable shelter with animals. Not long after Jesus’ birth, their government murdered children in a desperate search for their newborn – to murder Him. And they would flee in the night to a far away and strange foreign nation.
If this Christmas is difficult for you, you are not alone. Even if all your celebrations have been difficult, you are still loved.
Jesus came into a world of trouble, sorrows and danger. Triumph would not come until He had been falsely accused, tortured, humiliated and murdered on the cross and resurrected from death.
Contrary to the “PG” image of Jesus on the cross, He hung naked on the cross as He died. Betrayed by a friend, denounced by another friend, His mother, a redeemed prostitute and a few friends wept for Him there at the foot of the cross to which He was nailed. And there on the cross, Jesus took all of humanity’s sins and curses upon Himself.
His humiliations, His torture and His hanging on the cross was the least of His trouble. Nothing could compare to His receiving the complete horror and guilt of humanity’s sins and curses, past, present and to come. Imagine all of the atrocities of the holocaust as they were being done to each victim of that evil. That horror is but a small drop to what Jesus received as He paid our debt.
Your sins and mine were laid upon Him. All of them. We have afflicted Jesus on the cross. Forgive me, Jesus! Please forgive me.
You and I are not innocent bystanders. We are with him on the cross but we are not there as friends. You and I persecute Him on the cross through our failures and faults. You and I are there at the cross – we deepen His agony, add to His pain and humiliation AND we torment Him through our sins.
In that moment, Christ was truly alone in the world and He cried out in an agony that you and I will never know. Could never bear. Cannot imagine.
24 December 2013