I recently heard this true tale of a poor peasant girl during the Korean War who was expecting a child during the cold winter months while her husband was away at war. A snowstorm came, triggering early labor pains that wouldn’t subside. She knew that a missionary doctor had a clinic a mile or so away, so she bundled up and started walking towards it. But the blizzard was harsh, and she was forced to stop under a bridge and give birth to her baby boy all alone. A good while later, the same missionary came traveling past that bridge, and heard the sounds of a baby’s cry. He rushed down to see where it was coming from and found the baby in his mother’s arms. The mother had frozen to death. She had removed all of her clothing to keep her baby warm.
The missionary took the baby to his home, and found a way to bury the mother’s body. He raised the child as his own son. Years later, he decided to tell the boy the whole story of his birth. He led him to the grave of his mother and saw the tears flow as he recounted what she had done for him. He watched the little child remove his clothes, lay them over her grave and then lay down on top, as if clinging to her. “Oh my mother!” the boy wept in Korean, “How cold you must have been that day.”
A simple story of love and sacrifice for a beloved child is enough to bring us to tears. But this beautiful love of a mother is only a small reflection of the enormous love Jesus has shown to us by allowing Himself to be beaten and crucified in our place.
How alone He must have been when the Father turned His face away – because He had become a curse for us.
How much agony He must have felt, carrying every curse, every infirmity, every sin of every sort upon His body that day.
How much agony He continues to feel today, though He died to set us free 2000 years ago, the world continues to ignore, reject, mock and revile His perfect sacrifice.
He paid the highest price for the most glorious and undeserved reward for us to become His own children – if only we would surrender our will to Him, DIE to our old sin and LIVE in that new life. But not all who call Him Lord honor His sacrifice with the response it deserves.
This is the time of Easter and Passover when we ought to be on our knees in gratitude for all He has done. But are we really? Or are we just caught up in the busyness of another holiday? Another special church event? Will we congratulate ourselves for a good Easter because we accomplished all our holiday duties?
If we haven’t been moved to the core of our being to sacrifice our entire lives because of what Jesus has done for us, we haven’t even come close to honoring Him as Lord on this day. The maternal instinct of that young mother was to give her life for her baby. God’s holy paternal instinct was to allow His Son to be brutally killed in exchange for our own lives, so we could become His children. The instinct of a true child of God is to live in gratitude to Him through every action, attitude, thought, desire and decision. But unlike that young mother, Jesus will continuously bless, care for, speak to and guide us for eternity. Don’t let another Easter go by without choosing to honor Him forever, from today forward.
But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:20-24, MEV