Monday, September 16, 2013

For the Sake of a Friend

I have been close to tears many times on my treadmill, mainly because I see just how long it takes to walk off one chocolate-chip cookie’s worth of calories!  This time when a single tear spilled over, it had nothing to do with my workout.  This tear was brought on by a commercial that played on my television, a tool to distract me from my exercise.

I had no idea what the commercial was for as it played and assumed it was for a Wounded Warriors project or something similar.  There were two basketball teams of sweaty men shown, playing the game fiercely from a seated position in wheel chairs.  They bumped into each other as they competed ferociously for the ball.  They cheered and high-fived one another when they scored.  One player took a spill and righted himself with his muscular arms.  The game ended, the wheelchairs disentangled and it was at that point that tears welled in my eyes.  All the players but one stood to their feet and in that moment you realize these men were playing the game in wheelchairs all for the sake of their friend.  They took on his limitations so they could understand him, to truly know what it was like to live with his challenges and most importantly, to show their love for him.

I don’t know if the advertisers who created the commercial knew it or not, but the Gospel message was beautifully hidden in their ad.

We have a Friend who willingly relinquished everything to come to earth and wear our infirmities.  He faced every challenge of our flesh.  He felt pain, rejection, grief, loneliness, betrayal, hunger, thirst and every temptation--and unlike the men in the commercial, at the end of the “game,” He didn't just stand up and walk away.  Instead He went to the cross and truly took on our deepest pain.  As all our sin and filth covered our precious Jesus, He, for the first time, knew intimately what separation from God feels like.  I believe His agony at that moment was worse than the beatings and nails.

He KNOWS us, He has WORN our crippled flesh, He UNDERSTANDS our pain and He has REDEEMED it all. If He never does one more thing for us, wouldn't that be enough?

 And He did it all for love. Incredible, grace-driven and mercy-rich LOVE.

Surely He took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by Him, and afflicted.
 But He was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
    and by His wounds we are healed.
 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all. ~ 
Isaiah 53:4-6
 ~Cyndi Word

*That commercial? Turned out it was for Guinness beer. Could this be a non-threatening opening to share the gospel with someone in your sphere of influence? You can find the add on YouTube or Google. Just search "Guinness beer commercial with basketball players"

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