“Look at him…a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Luke 7:34)
Our friend is extremely ill. No, it’s much worse than that. Our wonderful friend is dying. We hear the news and agonize at the thought of not seeing his face again. Time with him always made us better. His stories made us laugh out loud. His love for us was reliable. He asked us hard questions and gave us helpful answers. We relished his friendship in the way only very fortunate people are allowed.
With his loving family by his side, our friend has been aggressively fighting an invasion of leukemia for over two years. They tell us the onslaught has returned, has reared its ugly, unwanted head like a lethal snake. What on earth can we do? We live far away, but of course we must fly to his home. We have no choice but to go, to leave our trivial duties here and make our way to where he is. We scurry to find an available flight and rearrange our less-than-earth-shattering plans. Minor adjustments, to be sure. Love propels us forward; love always sacrifices, always finds a way.
Our Savior has always moved toward us with the deliberate intent to rescue and save. Knowing all of mankind was diagnosed with incurable sin, knowing we had no way to manage this devastating spiritual disease on our own, he left all the glories of heaven to come to our rescue. At outlandish cost to himself he hurdled to our side. The Good Shepherd became the Lamb of God; the Bread of Life was broken to feed starving souls; Living Water poured out to bring the endless satisfaction of life eternal; fullness rushing into our empty selves; richness overflowing our impoverished hearts.
The Son of God and the Son of Man. The Friend of Sinners and the Savior of Mankind. The cross-bearer and the curse-breaker forevermore.
Elizabeth A. Mitchell
Photo: Paul Westel