This penetrated my heart and found its way to my pen and my passions when I was a young pastor. Its impact on me has never diminished.
“Son, why don’t you ask the pastor your question?”
“What question, Daddy?”
“Well, you remember, the one about communion.”
“Oh, yeah!…Pastor…how old do we have to be before we can take communion?”
“Tell me,” asked the pastor, “Do you know what communion means?”
“Uh huh,” the little fella said, “Communion means that we are remembering all about Jesus.”
“That’s right,” said the pastor, “and can you tell me what we remember about Jesus?”
With this question, the pastor saw the little boy’s eyes fill with tears and begin to turn red.
With lips trembling, eyes gazing down, a deep swallow, a quivering voice, the little boy responded, “We remember that Jesus…died for us…Jesus was buried for us…Jesus was raised for us.” No longer able to hold back his tears, the little fella stood up and bolted down the hall. Running, escaping, he sought the sanctuary of his own room.
The pastor, confused, disturbed, awed, turned to the parents asking, “Is he okay?”
“Yes,” they replied, “Our little boy is fine.”
Indeed! The little boy is fine. The tears? Tears of sadness from the heart of a child. And why sadness? Great is the pain, deep is the sorrow, when, like a child, one realizes the awful reality of our Lord’s sacrifice. Isaiah said of the man Jesus, “His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men.” The gospels tell us a battalion of soldiers beat him without mercy. Upon his head the crown of thorns ripped skin until blood flowed freely, covering his face and drenching his hair. Again, Isaiah said, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows; and acquainted with grief.”
As the Savior –very God of very God– he took upon himself the filth of human sin. His garden prayer reflected his divine agony, “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Upon the cross he died. And somehow, some eternally transcendent way, God the Son felt the terrible pain of separation –torn asunder, crushed, offered for sin, alone. Perhaps his garden prayer welled up more from his perfect holiness than from his human frailty. Thus, upon the cross, he cried, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Slowly the pastor walked down the hall to find the little boy whose tear-stained face lied buried in his bed covers. “Why are you crying,” asked the pastor.
The precious lad answered, “It makes me sad.”
“And so it should child,” the pastor whispered. “Remember your tears. God will honor you for this tenderness, for this love. Remember, too, his death is not all sadness. We must remember that God the Father thought it pleasing to offer the Son, so that you and I, and your Mom and Dad, and your sister, and so many others could accept him as our Savior. God loves us that much.”
Isaiah wrote, “He shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous One, My servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities.” What great love is this!
Indeed! The little boy is fine.