Who, for the JOY set before Him, endured the Cross
Almost 30 years ago, I was lying in a hospital surgery room for the specific purpose of donating my left kidney to my then – 18 year old son. A few years later, on Easter morning, sitting in a Sunday School Young Married Class, I wrote this poem: FORSAKEN? The failure of my son’s kidneys and subsequent transplant process taught me an important and very personal lesson about why GOD allowed his Son to be nailed to that tree.
It’s easy to hear or read or even memorize John 3:16, “For GOD so LOVED the WORLD He gave…” and accept the truth of it. After all, He was dying for all mankind! But these next two phrases take it to a whole different, very personal level:
“*I* was on His Mind, when He was on The Cross.” and:
“If I was the ONLY person on earth, Christ would have died for ME!”
I was awake before 5am this morning in order to pick up my friend and take him to his appointment for surgery. When I met him 3 years ago, he explained he was an agnostic. He accepted the thought of “something or someone being in charge,” but he also acknowledged serious doubts of ever being able to know who or what that could be. (An atheist makes the claim “There is nothing or no one in charge, it all just came to be.”) In spite of our declared differences, we made a connection. Later, he commented to me… “Jim, you give me a lot to think about.” Months later, he began describing himself as a “praying agnostic with an open mind.” My daughter has since said: “Dad, you and Ronnie are good for each other.”
This morning, as we neared the surgery center, I posed this Query to him: “So, let me ask you, what are your current thoughts about this JESUS Guy?” He said he has accepted the historical truth that Jesus walked this earth, and died on The Cross, but he’s not sure what that means to him today.
As we sat in the parking lot, I told him; “Scripture says ‘For the JOY set before Him, He endured The Cross.’ Ronnie, I’ve come to realize that I AM THE JOY, FOR WHICH JESUS ENDURED THE CROSS! The possibility of having a personal relationship with ME brought Him a Joy that surpassed the agony.”
It was not the Son’s obedience to the will of His Father that brought Him Joy. It was not finally gaining victory over His arch enemy, Satan that made Him want to dance with Joy. It was not the possibility of finishing His work on earth and finally going home. Jesus was looking forward some 2000+ years into the future to the possibility of having an ongoing, growing relationship with JIM CATLETT! It’s TRUE, *I* was on His mind as He drew His last breath and declared: “IT IS FINISHED!”
Pssst… He wants me to tell you… YOU were on His mind, too!
I can in no way compare the kidney transplant surgery my son and I experienced to the absolute agony of Christ’s Death. But the fact that I gave life to him (again) has connected my son and I in a way we did not have before. The morning after the surgery, as I agonizingly lay in bed and watched My Son bounce into the room with a new color in his face and a brightness to his eyes that he had not had for 10 years, my JOY knew no limits. He grabbed the crossbar of the bed next to me, swung across and plopped down on the bed with a huge grin. Today, almost 30 years later, he still has that part of me living in him, doing its job!.
Today, I have CHRIST living in me. Simply because God Loved Me enough to offer me the Gift of His Son’s Death. And… I said “YES!”
He makes YOU the same offer!!
Have you given an answer?