Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I remember the day I helped someone move a piano. I have the scar to remind me. Four of us were carrying the old upright until we reached the narrow entryway at the front door. There was only room for one man on each end of the piano, and without notice, the guy next to me let go. I was holding up my end all alone. I felt a twinge. Sure enough, two days later I was having hernia surgery.

It’s tough to carry all by yourself a load that was meant for two or more. It’s even tougher when you have had help for a while and then the help is gone. When facing a difficult and seemingly impossible task, no one likes to feel forsaken.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

The fourth saying of Jesus from the cross is probably the most difficult for us to understand. The sinless Son of God, suffering as none can imagine, had been sustained to this point by the constant loving fellowship of the Father. But when the full weight of the sin of mankind was placed onto Jesus, the Father let go. To be clear, Jesus did not cease to be God. But to fully suffer the wrath of God against sin on our behalf, Jesus had to bear, in His full humanity, without His Father’s help, the full weight of our sin. When the sins of the world were put upon Jesus there was, for the first time, a separation between the Father and the Son.

The Bible records something happened between them that we can only understand through the eye of faith. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). Yet figuratively, God did not have a hold on the piano. The piano represents sin – the sin of the world – and Jesus would bear the weight of it and the punishment for it alone. His scars are proof that He did it.

Why would Jesus willingly submit Himself to such a load that would cause so much pain, even to the point of death? Because he fully understood and accepted the Father’s redemptive plan for you and me.

For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus, the sinless son of God, became our sin for us. Everyone’s sin. The full load of sin from all created history and all future sins. Jesus was determined that once the load was placed upon Him, he would not let go, not matter the pain, the agony, the suffering, or the scars. Jesus did not drop the piano when the Father let go.

Try to remember a time when someone you love left you feeling forsaken or abandoned. Add to that multiplied intimacy of an eternal love relationship like the one between the Father and the Son. Imagine the pain of feeling forsaken – left alone to carry the weight that had been previously shared.

The only way to endure such emotional and physical pain is to have our eyes fixed on a higher goal than the removal of immediate pain. That goal is the glory of God to save sinners. Let us fix our eyes on the salvation of sinners. Let us join Jesus in the ministry of the Gospel to reconcile the world to God. Only then will we be able to endure the pain and suffering of this life, and keep carrying our pianos.

Pastor John

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