“The Painful Story Begins”
~from Joni and Friends
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity.” Hebrews 2:14
[A few days ago] Jesus was born. His last true comfort was that final moment before slipping from His mother’s womb and out onto the rough straw and the cold night. Moments later, His mother wrapped Him tightly in swaddling clothes. Then, a borrowed feeding trough met Him. The story of His pain had begun.
Months later, did He taste tension in His mother’s milk as she hastily fled in the night from those searching to murder Him? What did Jesus feel when He grew up to learn what His presence had cost the baby boys of Bethlehem? He would have known the slaughter had been secretly laid at His family’s doorstep. How old was Jesus before realizing what neighbors thought about His mother and her morals? Was He ever taunted for being illegitimate? Did the young boy with His family in Egypt ever feel like a refugee? Was He treated like He didn’t belong?
Years later, growing up in Nazareth and plying his father’s adz in the carpenter’s shop, He no doubt saw Roman soldiers pass outside the shop window. Their plumed helmets reminded Him daily that foreigners owned His country. We never read in the Bible that this young man drew appreciative glances from girls in His neighborhood. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). This is the way Jesus lived His young life. He shared in our humanity and became acquainted with pain from the manger to His ministry at 30 years of age.
We celebrate a Savior who, from the moment of His birth, empathized with our humanity. Our God is not a deity who leans over His ivory tower, uncaring or unfeeling about His subjects far below. Whatever hurt is hounding you today, God is here, near, real, and empathetic.
Our God is a God of love. Knowing this truth is the best gift to carry forward, 2014.