Before you read any further, please take a few moments to stand up, look to heaven, stretch your arms out wide, and consider what Jesus did on the cross for us. This visual and physical act will help us realize a minute portion of Jesus on that cross. As He was hanging there in this same position you are now in, He was being drained of his life, harassed, mocked, and suffering in severe agony. Yet, He said,
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
Jesus’ arms remained stretched out for hours – the nails didn’t hold him there, his heart for us did.
He could have at any time come down, called out judgment against all that had abused, denied and betrayed him, but He did not. He cried out to the Father to love us in spite of our hatred and sinfulness. He had a pure heart of compassion for his lost sheep, and was willing to stretch out his arms to draw men to the Lord himself.
Sitting here and going through this portrayal myself, I have to stop and just hold my head and cry, because the Lord loves us, even me, SO much that He suffered intense pain on my behalf! MY sin brought him to this, YOUR sin brought him to this, but He did it to rescue us from this bondage that we could not free ourselves from!
His display of perfect love on that cross – to be sacrificed as the lamb would have been for Passover, is to be remembered with a humbled grateful heart, and to be seen as an example to us in how we should love others – without reservation.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
NO HOLDING BACK! Stretch out your arms and cry to the Lord on behalf of those that don’t know Jesus, on behalf of those that need to accept Him as their Redeemer from the bondage of sin and eternal death. Yes, literally cry out; that your family members, dear friends, neighbors, and even those that you totally disagree with and despise, would come to their senses and trust in Jesus as their Lord.
Our time here is short, so love all people without reservation as Jesus did.
This is true, perfect love.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
1 John 3:16
Food for thought:
“You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” John 15:14–15.
Fun facts: Arms serve as our primary connection to people and objects, through our reach and our ability to grasp things: through defensive postures, arms can also prevent connection that might cause us harm. These roles are reflected symbolically both in verbal figurations and in the non-verbal communication that is known as “body language”.
Photo by: Joshua Earle – Outstretched Arms