SHAH ABBIS, a Persian monarch loved his people very much. In order to get to know and understand them better, he mingled with his subjects in various disguises.
One day, dressed as a very poor man, he went to the public baths. There he found, in a tiny cellar, a man who tended the furnace. Shah Abbis sat with him. When it was mealtime the monarch shared his course food and talked with the lonely subject as with a friend.
Again and again he visited the poor old man and they began to share a rich friendship. The old man eagerly waited the visits.
One day the Shah told him he was in reality the monarch and invited the man to ask some gift from him. But the fireman shook his head and sat gazing at his ruler with love and wonder.
At last he spoke:
“You left your palace and your glory to sit with me in this dark place. You ate of my course food. You cared whether my heart was heavy or glad. You may bestow gifts on others, but you have given me YOURSELF. Now it only remains for me to pray that you will never withdraw the gift of your friendship.”
This beautiful, reportedly true story reminds us that the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ, left the glories of heaven in order to share Himself with us. He not only spent days with us, returning to his kingly glory at night, as did Shah Abbis, but Jesus cut Himself off from the actual presence of His Father and all the glories of His eternal home. He actually became one of us.
Jesus also went further. He willingly determined to complete the work He came to earth to do. He orchestrated all that led to Calvary. He suffered complete and absolute separation from His Father when all His Father’s wrath was poured upon Him as He bore the load of the sin of the world.
What a triumphant cry heralded the completion of the task of bearing the penalty for our sin: of securing our redemption! “It is finished!” was a shout of victory. In the Greek, the word “Tetelestai” means “it is finished, and having been completed, it is forever done: rounded off to perfection.”
At this Christmas time,
as we see the bright Christmas trees,
may our thoughts return to that other tree:
that tree on which
Jesus TOOK our sin and GAVE us His righteousness.
(2 Corinthians 5:21)
What an exchange!
Jesus CHOSE to GIVE HIMSELF for us.
How much do we value that Gift?