In Memory of Ruth Bailey -- By Duane Gordon

In our last visit together the evening before Ruth’s death she shared with me a profound truth, which I wish to share with all of you.  Before leaving her beside that night, I held her hand and prayed for God’s healing.  And as was usually the case, when I finished praying, I was weeping.  Ruth took this opportunity to remind me that the sorrow I felt for her was nothing compared to the sorrow the Father felt when His son Jesus was beaten, abused, spat upon, tortured and killed for you and I.  Through Ruth’s insight, I caught a glimpse of the Father that I had never seen before and I want to share this with all of you.

Imagine with me as I substitute the name of my firstborn, Matthew, into the following scripture.  But instead of imagining my son, I ask you to imagine your child.

Matthew grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.  He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  Matthew was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely Matthew took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  But Matthew was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on he the iniquity of us all.  Matthew was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.  By oppression and judgment he was taken away.  And who can speak of his descendants?  For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.  Matthew was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.  Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.  After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 

And Matthew asked me, Dad if it is possible please rescue me from what is about to take place…

Then Pilate took Matthew and had him flogged.   The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.  They clothed him in a purple robe  and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!"  And they struck him in the face.  Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him."  When Matthew came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!"   As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify!  Crucify!"  But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him.  As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him."

Carrying his own cross, Matthew went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).  Here they crucified him, and with him two others--one on each side and Matthew in the middle.  Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross.  It read: MATTHEW OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.  Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Matthew was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.  The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write `The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."  Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."   When the soldiers crucified Matthew, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. 

 

…And Matthew cried out, “Dad, why have you forsaken me?”

…When he had received the drink, Matthew said, "It is finished."  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

I don’t know about you, but ever fiber of my heart cries out to rescue my son from this unjust and cruel treatment.  Would any of us stand by and watch this happen to our child?  Would we not trade places with them in a second?  Yet, the Father, out of His infinite love for you and I, spared not His only begotten son, so that you and I might be saved.  What kind of love is this?

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."  John 3:16,17

Eternal, unfathomable, agape, unimaginable love from the Father!  What a kind and loving God we serve! 

Friends, next time you are in the unfortunate position of grieving a loved-ones suffering, remember the Father, and the grief He endured, for you.

Father, thank you for your incredible gift of Jesus.  We are in awe of you and your goodness, your kindness, your mercy and your love.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts as we receive the gift of salvation that is in your precious son, Jesus.  Amen.

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen."  Galatians 1:3-5

God bless,

Duane Gordon