By Michael C. Mack
A dad stops what he’s doing to bend down and intently listen to his child. This simple act conveys a powerful message: My child is important. I love this kid. I want to look into my child’s eyes and listen.
This is a picture of our heavenly Father with each of us. The psalmist said, “Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!” (Psalm 116:2, New Living Translation).
Our Father loves us so much that he makes us his priority. He bends down. He cares. He listens. He acts.
The creator of the universe—the all-powerful, all-knowing God . . . the Alpha and the Omega—bends down to look his precious child in the eyes and listen attentively. (The Revised Standard Version translates “he bends down” as “he inclined his ear to me,” which pictures God bending to listen, either because he cares enough for me to do so or because my voice is so weak that he must—or both!)
This is also what the Father did when he sent Jesus into the world. He humbly stooped down to our level so he could look us in the eyes and feel our pain. On the night before he died, he crouched to wash his followers’ feet. He lowered himself to serve us, especially in the ultimate act of service: accepting our sins as if they were his own and dying on the cross that we could be forgiven. The apostle Paul said it like this:
Though he was God, [Christ Jesus]
did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8, NLT).
God stooped down to us. We don’t—we can’t—reach up to him by our own wisdom and work. As God’s children, we are utterly dependent on him. Our faith in him should be like that of a child.
This bread and this cup remind us of Jesus’ body and blood, given freely. They remind us that a perfect God lowered himself that he might forgive us and embrace us as his beloved children.
Michael C. Mack is editor of Christian Standard.