There is One who walked this earth long ago, who shared this life, and who felt the same emotions we do… the One who walks this road beside us still. One who understands our fears and anxieties, telling us to come and bring all our cares to Him, to rest in His peace.
I suspect we tend to think of our Lord’s journey on this earth as one which was just as perfect as He was. We have the ability to look backward with Scripture in hand and see that Jesus’ three years of ministry were anything but a life of ease. Though we realize He was fully God, He was also fully human… and maybe we tend to forget that just a little from time to time. I know I do.
At the beginning of his ministry, he graciously changed simple water into the best wine for a wedding feast at Cana which He attended with his mother. (see John 2:1-11) But, He also had an intense righteous anger at the money changers in the temple. (see Matthew 21:12-17)
Jesus got hungry, yet He taught that man should not live by bread alone. With these very words, he resisted Satan’s temptation in the wilderness. Fasting for 40 days, Jesus was tempted by Satan to throw himself down from the highest point of the temple and let the angels catch him. Satan then offered to give him all the kingdoms of the world if he bowed down and worshiped him. Instead, Jesus trusted in His heavenly Father, and commanded Satan to get away from him, “For it is written: ‘worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Jesus was being prepared for the demands of His ministry ahead by facing His own human temptations. (see Matthew 4:1-11)
Jesus ate with people considered sinners and unworthy by the pious wealthy and religious men of society. He taught small intimate groups and large boisterous crowds. He felt sorry for them in their hunger, and fed them with just five little fish and two loaves of bread… recovering 12 big baskets of leftover crumbs! We can hardly fathom the excitement that must have run through the great crowd of thousands. Did you see that? How can that be? That’s beyond amazing! That’s a miracle!
Jesus was the embodiment of love and compassion. He had compassion on those who were ill, and healed them when they came to Him in their faith. He forgave their sins, just as He heard their whispers asking who this man was… for no one but God could do that! I marvel at the awe and respect they felt toward Jesus. They didn’t have Scripture in hand to tell these stories like we do. They witnessed it!
He had compassion on a group of ten lepers and healed them. Afterward, only one man returned to thank Jesus for healing him. I’ve always thought the other nine were so ungrateful to accept their healing without one word of thanks. It’s as though they took their healing for granted… like we often do with our own blessings. And I have to ask, where is my heart in response for all God’s done for me?
Yet, Jesus was so like us in many ways. He got tired after a long day. He needed to get away from the noisy bustling crowds. He would slip off to a quiet place, away from the pressing urgency of people all around Him as they clamored for more teaching, more miracles. Jesus needed to rest and have quiet time alone with His heavenly Father… just like we do. He needed time to pray, time to meditate, and time for simple rest to refresh His soul. That’s why I enjoy time in my sitting gardens… time to think and pray, to give thanks, and to rest in the beauty of God’s awesome creation around me.
Jesus also showed compassion and forgiveness to a woman caught in adultery, an offense punishable by stoning to death. When the men brought her to Him with their accusations, he stooped down to write in the sand. Standing up, He told them that whoever was without sin to cast the first stone. One by one, each of her accusers silently walked away. I’ve always wondered what it was He had written in the sand that confronted each of them… Perhaps, Jesus began writing down their sins, for not one of them, or us, is sin free.
Jesus knew the adoration of the crowds. He had awed them with many miracles of healing, but told some not to share their good news with anyone. In every fiber of His being was humility. He did not go about looking for the praise of the people. Yet, how often don’t we hope for praise for something we’ve done.
On Palm Sunday, He rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey as the crowd spread their cloaks on the road ahead of him, waving palm branches and praising Him for all He had done. This was the one time He allowed such adulation saying the rocks and stones would cry out if the people didn’t!
Yet, Jesus also knew rejection and scorn, mocking and ridicule. His own disciples argued about who should be seated next to Him in His future kingdom. They really didn’t understand what His ministry was all about… not yet, anyway. He knew and heard the accusations swirling around Him. Jesus knew His days were numbered. He knew that the powerful rulers within the Jewish community wanted Him silenced. They believed He was a blasphemer to call himself God. And so, He was sold… stabbed in the back, so to speak, by one of His own disciples, Judas, for a paltry 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave.
Even the night before He was killed, just like we might do, Jesus prayed to God that the agony of what was in front of Him would pass Him by. Yet, He was obedient to His heavenly Father. He understood that the shame He would soon face … the ultimate sacrifice for each one of us and our condemning sins… would all be borne on His shoulders on that cross. It was His ultimate gift to each of us, ours to accept in simple faith, as He welcomes us into His kingdom – our eternal heavenly home.
What love… what incomprehensible love!
Who’s Walked This Road Beside Us?
Linda A. Roorda
Who’s walked this road each step beside us?
Who knows the way? Who’s been there Himself?
Who’s felt our love and adoration?
Yet knew the pain, rejection and scorn?
Who’s been tempted, tried and tested?
Just as we are was He among us.
Hungry and weary, needing time alone
Away from the crowds, away from demands.
Who’s walked among the poor and needy?
Who’s shown true love for outcasts of life?
Who called the broken to draw from His well,
And gave His life for the least of these?
Who’s walked with those just clinging to faith
With nothing left but a seeking heart?
Who gave His words, a beacon of hope
To carry forth His light in this world?
Who’s walked beside those who are mourning?
With tears of sadness, who’s shared in our loss?
Who’s eased our pain with comforting peace
That we in turn may console sad hearts?
Who’s walked beneath humility’s grace
To freely carry our burdens of guilt?
Who willingly faced mocking and shame
That we might know redemption’s mercy?
Who’s walked alongside that we might yet share
Our hopes and fears in honest release?
Who’s cared enough to guide every step
With wisdom’s voice when to Him we pray?
Who’s held our hands when life overwhelms?
Who’s taught us to trust by giving our heart?
Who’s picked us up each time we stumble,
And lovingly drawn us back to His side?
Who’s walked each step so we’d learn from Him?
Who’s given of self that we might receive
Showers of blessings to meet all our needs
That in this bounty His praises we’ll sing?
Who’s walked with us and covered our soul?
The great I Am who calls each His child!
That upon life’s path we’ll safely abide
When under His wings, sheltered by His love!
Dec 2014 / Jan 2015
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