by Barbara Ryan
There is a scene in the epic historical movie, The Last of the Mohicans, where a band of Huron Indians have captured an Army Major and two women escaping Fort William Henry. The Indians are about to burn one of the women, Cora, at the stake, when Hawkeye, played by Daniel Day Lewis, strides into the village and says, “Take me.” The Huron chief decides to release Cora to Hawkeye, but orders the Army Major to be sacrificed instead.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, our spotless Lamb of God, similarly said to his Father, “Take me. ” For even though Jesus knew from the beginning of the world that in the fullness of time he would come and live among us as the promised Messiah, He clearly dreaded what he had to endure to procure our salvation.
“Father, if it be possible, remove this cup from me” was his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. In spite of Judas’s betrayal, the disciples sleeping, Peter’s denials, and being beaten and mocked by men en route to Pilate, Jesus “loved his own to the end.” When asked, “Are you the King of the Jews?” his only reply was, “You have said so,” fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy: “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth” (Is. 53:7).
Having seen firsthand the futility of our efforts to earn God’s favor by works, or to not sin, Jesus communed with the Father, agreeing that their righteous judgment about our hardness of heart and sin not fall on us, but on Christ. So on Good Friday, what do we see? We see the personification of love bearing in his body the weight of every sin that you or I ever have or will commit.
At 3 p.m. Jesus spoke these anguished words: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It is not that he did not know why he was being crucified; it was the horror of being utterly crushed by the weight of our sin and of being severed in that moment from the light and love of God, his Father.
Have you ever been completely lost, or experienced true abandonment? There is no terror greater than that of feeling isolated and beyond human reach. Jesus laid down his life so that we who believe in him would never be alone. The Spirit, the promise of the Father, has come. Jesus did this for you. He did this for me. He did not have to. He was and is God. But our Lord said, “Take me” and voluntarily “gave up” his spirit. (Luke 23:46)
Having a Savior who said, “Take me,” will you not take him as your Lord and Savior this day? And will you not seek so to abide in him that you sin less and less, not wanting to add one ounce to the weight of sin he bore on the cross for you?
Lord, you have loved me with an everlasting love and have bought me for yourself with your most precious body and blood. I take you today to be my Lord and Savior. I repent of my laziness and dedicate the rest of my days to being your hands and your feet here on earth until that great day when I join you or you return! Amen.
Barbara Ryan is celebrating her one year anniversary as a member of The Falls Church Anglican. She enjoys adventure and caring for people who need a word of encouragement.