What the Foolish Lost Lamb Didn’t Know
Thinking about the Cross with Elizabeth Rice Handford
All the silly little lamb wanted was a tuft of grass across the gully. She had no intention of getting lost. But another bit of grass just beyond teased her, and then she got tangled in thorn bushes. She was hurt and scared and began to run. But she fell into a ravine and lay helpless and vulnerable. Night fell, and she could hear the stealthy movements of wild beasts nearby.
She didn’t know how much it would cost her Shepherd to scour the hills, clamber through the thorn bushes, toil through the night, fight off ravenous wolves, and at last work His way down the cliff to rescue her. All she knew, all she cared about, was that she was safe again in the Shepherd’s arms. Her contented half-smile shows how very pleased she was.
But notice how the Shepherd feels as He holds so closely that sweet litle foolish thing in His arms. He’d suffered awful pain to save her, but all He could think about was how precious she was to Him, how glad He was that she was safe in His arms again.
That’s how the Lord Jesus feels about you. Isaiah 40:11 tells us that Jesus, like a shepherd, will carry the lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart. He holds you close to His heart, forgetting all the pain He suffered for you.
Since Easter is coming soon, I’ve been thinking about the things the Lord Jesus cried out as He hung on the cross to make it so He could bring us home. If we didn’t know anything at all about God, if we had no Bible, if all we had is what Jesus cried out in His agony on the cross, we would know all we need to know about how much God loves us, how He yearns to hold us close to His heart.
Jesus was hung on a Roman cross, the most tortured way a man could die. He was hung between two thieves. And the passers-by all mocked Him and jeered at Him. “If you were really the Messiah, the Christ, you could tear yourself off the cross,” they taunted. And they were right. He really could have. Jesus said, in Matthew 26:53, “Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and He would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?” If He’d called for those angels, they’d have answered immediately-but then you and I would still be lost in the wilderness. So He endured the cross, with all its pain and shame. With us on His heart, Jesus cried out,
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”
Imagine! Jesus, suffering for our sins, begged God to forgive us because we didn’t understand how much His love for us cost Him! It’s astonishing-that Jesus thought we were well worth that terrible sacrifice! We would not think a man’s life worth giving for a lost lamb. But there’s a greater chasm between the Almighty God and human beings than between a man and a lamb. Yet Jesus thought we were worth it, and gave His life to save us.
Jesus said, in Luke 12:32, “So don’t be afraid, little flock, for it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.”
So, dear sweet foolish lamb, rest in the safety and joy of your Father’s loving, protecting arms.