A grandfather arrived at his daughter’s house ready to dive into his favorite activity of the week: playing with his grandson. Jeremy was sitting in his playpen. “Pa Pa!” he shouted. The older man reached down and swooped his grandson up into his arms. Just as they began to play, however, Jeremy’s mother walked into the room. “Dad, I’m so sorry, but Jeremy has crossed a few too many lines today. This is his time out. He needs to go back into his play pen for a while longer.” With that she gently took Jeremy out of her father’s arms and placed him back in the confined space and left the room.

Jeremy stood confused and asked, “Pa Pa, play with me?” The grandfather felt trapped between competing priorities: loving his grandson while still honoring the boundaries of his daughter. What could he do? 

One option remained. He climbed into the play pen, taking a little boy’s restrictions upon himself.

That is the very heart of the Jesus story. God’s Son came into our context, we who have crossed way too many lines, way too many times. God took our restrictions upon Himself. He got down into the junk of our lives. Jesus experienced the thorns that stab human flesh, the distress of being gravely misunderstood and the dark drama of hearing the father say “No” to His impassioned prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Why would Jesus do this? He did it for us so that we would never need to doubt that He knows what it feels like to face whatever we’re going to face this week. He assures us that in the thick of everything, He’ll be with us.

-Rev Dr William Lewis