Anglican Morning Devotion, 11 May 2021
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“ Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 16Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”
(Isaiah 49:15-16; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Can you imagine purposely going to Jerusalem to be tortured and cruelly executed for the sins and crimes of others. Our Lord did just that. On the way he continued to heal, forgive, and even restore the dead to life. No other man could demonstrate such love as to suffer the death penalty for others and, yet, continue to take time out of the few hours left to show such magnanimous compassion as our Lord.
Jesus was a man like unto us all with flesh, blood, troubles, temptations, and needs for rest. Yet, Jesus was also God. His Spirit was greater than any man’s. He suffered rejection and ridicule, but He was bigger in His soul than any personal desires or considerations. He grew tired and weary, hungry and thirsty,+ and could feel the hurt of rejection – and the strength of both His Human and Divine nature were still bigger than those hurts.
He had no place to lay his head except a manger at birth and a stone tomb at last.
That kind of power seems beyond reach of the common believer; but Christ imbued us with the power to overcome evil in ways much as He did. If our love is just strong enough to rise above our fears and temptation, we can be a burning light and a torch to the majesty of our Lord, Savior, and King.
As they nailed our Lord to the cross, He proclaimed, “. . .Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”(Luke 23:34) Do you see the profound meaning of that statement? Jesus had always forgiven every sinner brought before Him – but not those who crucified Him Why? It was because they were crucifying the only Begotten Son of God. The grave sin was not only against Jesus, but God the Father – the one and only sin Christ was unable to forgive.
But even the horror of crucifixion did not hinder His undyong devotion to those whom the Father and placed, and would in future millenia, place in His hands.
As our Lord hung on the cross, drained of all life’s energies and even His life’s blood, His weary, blood soaked visage looked out over Jerusalem and even the Temple beyond the wall. The pain was excruciating. He looked down at His mother, Mary, and the other women who, emboldened by His love which He showered on them, could now demonstrate that same love back to Him. He saw His beloved John – the Apostle of Love and only man with the courage to stand there as His disciple. Even at that moment of unbelievable hurt, He uttered, “. . . Woman, behold thy son!. . . John . . .behold thy mother!” (John 19: 26-27) From that moment, Mary was cared for by John.
But there were others, too, on the mind of our beloved Savior. As the prophet Isaiah proclaims:
“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” (Isaiah 49:16) Our names were CUT into the Master’s hands with the cruel, sharp nails.