Summary: One story began at Christmas and goes to the cross and Easter!
God to the Rescue
April 7, 2001
We’ve celebrated the meal that Jesus left us to remind us of Him and His work on earth, as well as the work that followed from His ascension to heaven. We celebrated Jesus, and each time we do, we celebrate some different facet of our Saviour. We’ve just seen the (children’s) play about the Good Samaritan, which says so much to us, about the work of our Saviour!
I’d like to share a story that speaks rather eloquently about what we celebrated in the Lord’s Supper last evening.
“Grandpa walked into the family room and found his little grandson, Jeffy, standing up in his playpen, crying.
“He looked so pitiful, standing there in his little baseball T-shirt and diaper. His face was red and tear-stained from crying. When Jeffy saw his grandpa, his face lit up in a way that smote the old man’s heart. He immediately reached up his chubby little hands in supplication.
“Out Papa, out!”
“What grandpa could resist such a plea? Not this one! He walked over to the playpen and reached down to lift his little buddy out of captivity and distress.
“Just then, however, Law and Order stepped into the room.
“Jeffy’s mother walked out of the kitchen with a dishtowel in her hand and spoke sternly. “No, Jeffy! You are being punished. You have to stay in bed! Leave him right there, Dad.”
“Oh, fine. Now what’s a grandpa to do? His grandson’s tears and reaching little hands tugged mightily at his heart- but he didn’t want to interfere with a mother’s discipline either.
“He couldn’t stand staying in the same room with the boy, reading his newspaper and pretending to be aloof. Nor could he turn around and walk out the door without feeling like a betrayer to his little pal. What could he do?
“Love found a way.
“Since Grandpa couldn’t take Jeffy out of the playpen, he climbed in with him. “If you’re in the playpen, Buddy, I’m in the playpen. What’s your sentence? How long are you in for?” And finding a big, jolly grandpa suddenly filling his little prison cell, the little boy found comfort even in his captivity.”
What Jeffy’s grandpa did is a picture of what Jesus did for us. As much as God would have liked to have picked us up and drawn us close, because of His holiness, he could not.
Habakkuk writes, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong” (Habakkuk 1.13).
David declared, “You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell” (Ps. 5.4). This could be said as “Those who do what is wrong can’t live where you are”. Evil has no home with God. Evil could never stay with Him, lodge with Him, and be near to Him.
Isaiah captures a lot of the human situation in his words in:
Yet, as we considered when we last took the Lord’s Supper, about a month ago, “God so loved the world.” He had compassion for us. He yearned for us. What was a holy God to do? And, the message of the play must not be lost on us, either. The Good Samaritan ‘climbed into the playpen’ with the man who had been beaten and robbed and did what no one else ‘could’ do, for various reasons. He did what was necessary for the saving of this precious human life! The Samaritan- the most unexpected helper- was much like God- the most unexpected helper- in the drama of our lives!
Because God’s love was so great, he sent His son to ‘climb into the playpen’ with us. We couldn’t live with God, so God came to live with us. Jesus couldn’t bring us to His house, so He came to our house. John writes:
Jesus pitched His tent among us. And the story of the entire work of God that we see between the celebration of the birth of Jesus and the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus is about the only way He could bring us home to Himself. The only way was for Him to become a man and then come and save us!
Oftentimes when a big project is about to begin, there is an official groundbreaking. Officials gather with hard hats and someone who may never have handled a shovel before, has to dig the smallest bit of dirt to officially begin the project. This is met with all sorts of fanfare and celebration, and some sort of champagne reception follows, normally.
There was a groundbreaking for God’s greatest work, too, but it didn’t begin with public officials wearing ties and hard hats and smiling into TV cameras. It didn’t begin with ribbon cutting or handshakes or speeches in front of the media. In fact, construction of the ’new and living way’ began in the middle of the night, in a little stable behind a busy hotel. It began with the moans of a Jewish girl in the pangs of birth… and the tiny cry of an infant.