By Pastor Hartman
This has been somewhat of a hard week for us. Charlie, our black (and graying) Labrador Retriever is no longer with us. She has been a part of our family for over 15 years. She was pretty old for a lab, they say. I, my wife and three grown children are affected by her sickness and her passing.
Since my wife was on the way to the hospital for a non-life-threatening procedure, it was my duty to take Charlie in to the local veterinary clinic. She had gotten so weak, she had bladder cancer, and suddenly lost the use of her back legs. The night before I took her in she had crawled using her front legs to our bedroom door, asking to go outside. She was actually too weak to bark, and had lost control of her bladder before we were able to put her outside.
After we cleaned her up, as well as the floor, we put her on her bed and threw a cover partly over her. My wife left and I was getting ready to do what I had to do. The whole time she was giving out a little whine. It was so interesting to me that she stopped whining when I told her it was time to go. She never made a sound from that point on as I drove to the vets.
I couldn’t help but think of Isaiah 5:7, “He 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 its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
Late that afternoon I picked up my wife and we went on to be with Charlie for a few more minutes. We got to say our goodbyes, and praise her for being such a good dog. She was alive, but barely with us. Then the doctor gently allowed her to leave a body that was used up. I admit, tears flowed, and do so now as I write this. As hard as it was, we did the right thing for her.
As I write on, please don’t be offended as I make a comparison between our dog and Jesus’ death. I in no way do I consider our Lord to be like our dog.
My dear friends,
When the Lord Jesus went to Calvary’s cross, he went in the very prime of his life. He could have reviled, but didn’t. He could have called heaven’s angels to release him, and smite his enemies, but he didn’t. It was not a used, diseased and worn out body, but a pure, undefiled one that was being crucified. He submitted himself to a heavenly plan to bear our sins and diseases.
Those that thought him to be weak we’re wrong. He was God in the flesh, manifested to take away the sins of the world. He was strong in resolve… He was strong in his love for humanity… He was intent to do God’s will.
He 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 its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
I am so glad he went willingly for you and me… He died so we could live forever with him. Some reflect their love with only words. Jesus reflected his love through words, but when it was finished, he reflected his love for us, in silence.
As I praise the living, loving Lord of heaven, I also pray for you, my brothers and sisters. May God bless and keep you today, and forever.