There He stands before me; patiently, lovingly waiting. I have followed Him for many years. But the Father wants me to go deeper. So now Jesus awaits my approach.
According to the Law, I am to lay my hand upon the head of the sacrifice offered to atone for my sin (Leviticus 1:4). This is the Son of God I approach. I have come to know Him and love Him (as much as a finite human mind and heart can come to know and love an infinite, unfathomable Being). I approach tentatively, partly because of who Jesus is, mostly because I know what I am and what I’m supposed to do.
I have no problem in admitting I’m a sinner in need of a sacrifice, but the closer I come, the more of my sin I see. I have tried to not sin, but I fail miserably at times with my harsh tongue and even harsher thoughts. When I see someone else’s sin, deep down a part of me knows I could do the same and worse without much prompting.
Another struggle erupts within me. I have always fought to save innocent life, from the teenage couple considering an abortion, to the butterfly trapped in a puddle. Jesus is so innocent, so perfect. I don’t know if I can do it. I’ve also known the pain of being unjustly accused and suffering for someone else’s mistakes. I don’t see how I can reach out and put my hand on the head of one I have come to love, knowing the agony He will suffer because of me and my sin. On the other hand, my selfish, sinful self doesn’t want to die the horrible death that awaits Jesus. Part of me knows that I would reach out my hand in a heartbeat to avoid that death and let Someone else do it for me. What a wretched soul I am!
The closer I come, the harder I cry. I’m drawn to His kind, gentle loving face, but I’m repulsed by the ugly sin and conflict within me and I keep looking away. Then I hear His quiet voice, “You are the butterfly trapped in a puddle.” I gasp sharply and look up. Our eyes meet. I hear familiar words, like the ones spoken to John the Baptist at His baptism. “Let it be so now. Let us fulfill the Law, for this is why I came.”
The love in His eyes and the tenderness in His voice draw my trembling hand up to the top of His head. I rest it there a moment, and then gently draw it down to the side of His face. I whisper, “I’m so very sorry.”