You have not wearied yourselves for Me
Bishop Emeritus Robert M Solomon // October 8, 2018, 6:00 am
Photo by Samuel Martin on Unsplash
When we think about one who wearies himself or herself for another, we may consider a devoted mother who suffers sleepless nights nursing her very sick child to health, or a father who takes on two full-time jobs to make ends meet for his poor family, or a soldier who carries his wounded friend from the certain dangers of the frontline to relative safety.
Such acts of being wearied for others are highly commendable and speak of sacrifice and self-giving love.
The greatest and most perfect model of this is Jesus Himself.
The cause of God’s grief
Previously God had spoken to His ungrateful, sinful people: “But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offences.” (Isaiah 43:24)
Being wearied for others speaks of sacrifice and self-giving love.
Think of these divine words and bring them to bear upon the scene of the stumbling figure of the Son of God as He carried His cross to the place of execution (John 19:17).
His body was bruised and torn by the cruel whips of the Roman soldiers, and he could hardly bear the weight of the roughly-cut cross.
But He was not just carrying the cross-beam, but the infinitely heavier weight of the sins of the whole world.
It was an unimaginable burden that threatened to crush His soul.
Perhaps there were voices within the Burden-Bearer.
Why do you need to go through this? Do you want to do this for those who have beaten you to a pulp? Why carry the burden of these terrible sinners and hypocrites who have made fun of you? Is this worth going through – these people are your enemies (Romans 5:10)!
He gave up his life at the line that divides life and death.
The Saviour would have resolved to push on, step by step, no matter how weary He felt and how often He stumbled.
It was His infinite love for His miserable and sinful creatures, who had callously placed all their burdens on Him and wearied Him with each painful step, that carried Him forward to His death.
Every fibre in His body would have screamed for relief, yet He pressed on with undying love.
Step by step, the Burden-Bearer went on to accomplish the greatest act of love in human history.
It was the same God who, having shown His deep disappointment with disloyal Israel wearying Him with the burden of their sins, declared, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25).
Jesus endured the shame and the suffering, the pain and the humiliation, the heavy burden and weariness so that He might deal with sin and its consequences.
It was as if He carried this burden of our sins to destroy them in a cosmic furnace.
He walked this path of obedience for our sake – so that our sins would not be remembered any more.
We ought to be profoundly sorry for what we caused Jesus to suffer, and not take His sacrifice too lightly or reduce it to a nice story.
We must be eternally grateful for Jesus’ profoundly self-giving act of love, and in particular that He gave up his life at the line that divides life and death.
A personal faith
What Jesus has done for us must be experienced personally.
It is important that each one of us realise that we have wearied God with our offences and have burdened Him with our sins.
We need to be there along the path on which Jesus walked weary steps carrying the burden of sin. We need to hear Him say: “You have burdened me with your sins.”
We need to witness His weariness that proved how far His love for us would go.
We also need to hear Him say: “Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel” (Isaiah 43:22) – and turn it into a personal message.
God is kind to us. He has not wearied us with the unreasonable and tiring demands of a religious cult (verses 23-24).
His expectations are simple. Yet, we have not responded to His loving act.
Our offerings of love and devotion to Him have been half-hearted, respectable and courteous, but not arising from the depths of our being.
An honest response
God can see through the superficial piety.
“I have wearied Myself for you. Have you wearied yourself for Me?”
The Saviour with the wounded face looks at us to ask: “I have wearied Myself for you. Have you wearied yourself for Me?”
None of our actions or attitudes can match what Jesus has done for each of us.
If we really understood the immensity of His loving, sacrificial act, we would not remain in the muddy puddles of our superficial religiosity.
Instead, we would readily plunge into the ocean-depths of gratitude and be prepared to weary ourselves for Him.
Then we would recognise that His grace is so great that, instead of weariness, we would find rest, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
There are those who, having laid such a heavy burden on Jesus, are unwilling to weary themselves for Him.
In their unwillingness they remain strangers to the immense grace and presence of God.
May we have a living encounter with the divine Burden-Bearer, and a life-changing conversation with Him!
This article is an excerpt from the book, Apprenticed to Jesus: Learning from Him, Living like Him (Singapore, Armour Publishing, 2014) and is republished with permission. The book is available for purchase here.
Reflection and Discussion
- Take time to reflect on the scene of Jesus carrying the cross to Calvary. Make it a personal experience by listening to Him telling you: “You have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offences” (Isaiah 43:24). Speak to Him as you follow His bloodied footsteps.
- What are the reasons for the superficial understanding many Christians have of what Jesus suffered at the cross? How can deeper understanding be created – in worship, teaching, and other ministries? How do Christians continue to burden Christ and weary Him and grieve His Spirit (Ephesians 4:30)?
- Christians fail to weary themselves for Jesus by responding to Him in a half-hearted manner – “respectable and courteous but not arising from the depths of their hearts”. How can this be overcome?