I close my eyes and see the blood.
It traces down his forehead and into His left eye, swollen from the beating. I watch it fall onto His cheek and drip to the dirt. I also see blood oozing from His wrists. It trickles along His arms before it, too, drips to the dirt.
“If any man has a hundred sheep,” Jesus asked His disciples, “and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?”
My eyes still closed, I see the ninety-nine. They’re safe, grazing the fields, but the one – I see him as clearly as looking in a mirror. It’s Me. Wandering. Lost.
“For God loved the world so much,” I remember reading, “that He sent His Son. Our Shepherd.” The words roll across my field of vision like a headline news crawler across a TV screen: “For God loved Richard so much that He sent His Shepherd to find him.“
As if I was the only one who strayed.
More to the point: “God loved insert your name here so much – that He did the same.
As if you were the only one who strayed.
St. Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”
Wealth? We cannot hope to ever comprehend what the Shepherd laid aside because He so loves you.
Stop reading for a moment and think of it. Oh, how He loves you, and me.
As if you or I were the only one who strayed.