Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The Father's Love
It is a gloomy day today. Dark clouds are moving swiftly across the sky with occasional breaks of sunshine. Periodically the rain pours down and the wind whips through the branches of the live oak trees, scattering leaves across the lawn. It seems, to me, appropriate weather for the days leading up to Good Friday.
I think often about Jesus – about what He must have been feeling in those days – but for some reason this year I have been thinking more about The Father and what He must have been feeling. Perhaps it is because of the difficult diagnosis my son has had recently and knowing how my own heart aches for him. Whatever the reason, I find my thoughts going to the Father who would soon watch His Son suffer untold agony.
I remember another father who must also have suffered similar feelings hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Abraham, a giant of the faith, one day heard the Lord say, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” As I read the words I cannot help but notice how the description of Isaac becomes more and more intimate – “…your son, your ONLY son, WHOM YOU LOVE….” (Emphasis mine). God knew how deeply Abraham loved his son, and in the end He spared that precious boy providing a ram to be sacrificed in his place.
From before the foundation of the world God knew the day would come when His son, His only son, whom He loved, would become the sacrifice for the sin of the world. I wonder what their conversations must have been like as the time approached for Jesus to step into history. Did the Father’s heart ache as He watched His Son, knowing what the future held? We aren’t privileged to know those things. There are times, though, when the Father gives us a glimpse of His heart. At Jesus’ baptism He says: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” - A Father looking with such love on His only Son that He couldn’t keep silent. And then on the Mount of Transfiguration once again: “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”
My thoughts take me to the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus’ agonized prayer, “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.” It is difficult to comprehend the depth of love God has for us that He would not spare this beloved, perfect Son. There are no recorded words in reply to Jesus’ plea, just as we don’t know what Abraham said to Isaac as he tied him to the altar. We can know, however, how the hearts of both fathers must have cried out in pain.
I can never adequately thank Jesus for what He has done for me. He has taken the punishment I rightly deserve. He has made a way back to the Father for me – clothed me in His righteousness – and given me a hope for eternity. And I can truly never thank a Holy God who loved me, and you, enough to send His son, His beloved Son whom He loves, to save us from our sins. We have a Father who loves us more than we can comprehend. He spared not His own Son, so that you and I might have eternal life. What love.