THE PERFECT MODEL
“Acts of being wearied for others are highly commendable and speak of sacrifice and self-giving love. The greatest and most perfect model of this is Jesus Himself.”
WHEN WE WANT TO THINK of one who wearies himself or herself for another, we readily think of a devoted mother who suffers sleepless nights nursing her very sick child into health, or a father who takes on two full-time jobs just to make ends meet for his poor family, or a soldier who carries his wounded friend from the certain dangers of the frontline to the relative safety of more friendly territory.
Such acts of being wearied for others are highly commendable and speak of sacrifice and self-giving love. The greatest and most perfect model of this is Jesus Himself.
God spoke to His ungrateful and sinfully uncaring people: “But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your oﬀences” (Isa. 43:24).
Think of those divine words and bring them to bear upon the scene of the stumbling figure of the Son of God as He carried His cross to the place of execution (Jn. 19:17). His body, bruised and torn by the cruel whips of the Roman soldiers, could hardly bear the weight of the roughly-cut cross. But it was not just the weight of the wood He was carrying but the infinitely heavier weight of the sins of the whole world. It was an unimaginable burden that threatened to crush the pure soul within.
Perhaps there were voices within the Burden-Bearer. Why do you need to go through this? Do you want to do this for those who have beaten you to a pulp? Why carry the burden of these terrible sinners and hypocrites who have made fun of you? Is this worth going through? – these people are your enemies! (cf. Rom. 5:10). The weary Saviour blinked away the fresh blood that was dripping into His eyes and resolved to push on, breathing hard and labouring at every step.
“One more step, one more step …”
He told Himself as He stumbled along, leaving behind blood-stained footsteps on the old Jerusalem road. It was the infinite love in His heart for His miserable and sinful creatures, who had callously placed all their burdens on Him and wearied Him with each painful step, that carried Him forward to His death. Every fibre in His body screamed for relief, begging Him to stop. But He pressed on with undying love. Step by step, the Burden-Bearer went on to accomplish the greatest act of love in human history.
It was the same God who expressed His deep disappointment that His disobedient and disloyal people had wearied Him with the burden of their sins, who also declared “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isa. 43:25).
He endured the shame and the suffering, the pain and the humiliation, and the heavy burden and weariness so that He might deal with our sins and their consequences. It was as if He carried this huge burden of our sins, labouring every step of the way, to burn them up in a cosmic furnace. He relentlessly walked into this soul-killing reality for our sake – so that our sins can be destroyed and remembered no more.
How ungrateful we would be if we take lightly what He has done for us and reduce it into a nice story or just an annual ritual. We wearied Him with our sins and He silently bore the burden and won for us something far beyond our most optimistic dreams. We ought to be profoundly sorry for what we had done to Him, and we must be eternally grateful for His self-sacrificial act of love.
He is like an ancient warrior who carries wounded men to safety, his body riddled with the deadly spears of the enemy – and yet he perseveres and wearily carries the others to leave them in safety, beyond the line of danger. After finishing his supremely sacrificial and loving act, he gives up his life at the line that divides life and death. This is what Jesus had done for us.
This act of Jesus for us must be experienced personally. It is important that you and I realise that we have wearied God with our offences and have burdened Him with our sins. You need to be there along the path on which Jesus walked weary steps carrying the burden of your sin. You need to hear Him say to you, “You have burdened me with your sins.” You need to witness His every weary step that proved how far His love would go for you. You need to recognise that His burden had to do with your sins.
You also need to hear Him say “Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel” (Isa. 43:22) – and turn it into a personal message to you.
God is kind to us. He has not wearied us with the unreasonable and tiring demands of a religious cult (cf. Isa 43:23-24). His expectations are simple. Yet, we have not responded to His loving act. Our offerings of love and devotion to Him have been half-hearted, respectable and courteous but not arising from the depths of our being. God can see through the superficial piety.
The Saviour with the wounded face looks at us to ask: “I have wearied myself for you. Have you wearied yourself for me?”
None of us can match in any of our actions or attitudes what Jesus had done for each of us. But if we really understood the immensity and depth of His loving and sacrificial act, we would not remain in the muddy puddles of our superficial religiosity. Instead, we would readily plunge into the ocean-depth of loving gratitude and be prepared to weary ourselves for Him. When we do so, we would recognise that His grace is so great that instead of weariness, we would find rest, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Mt. 11:30).
Why is it then that those who wearied and laid such a heavy burden on Jesus are so unwilling to weary themselves for Him? In their unwillingness they remain strangers to the immense grace and presence of God. We, however – may we have a living encounter with the divine Burden-Bearer and have a life-changing conversation with Him!
ACT OF LOVE
“How ungrateful we would be if we take lightly what He has done for us and reduce it into a nice story or just an annual ritual. We wearied Him with our sins and He silently bore the burden and won for us something far beyond our most optimistic dreams. We ought to be profoundly sorry for what we had done to Him, and we must be eternally grateful for His self-sacrificial act of love.”
By: DR ROBERT SOLOMON