When my son was little and we went somewhere that required a lot of walking, his little legs would tire very quickly. He would slow down and stumble and cry. That’s when his Daddy would pick him up and set him on top of his shoulders and carry him home. The burden of his weight rested on his Dad’s shoulders. Thankfully he didn’t weigh much then, but the idea of carrying another’s burden has its roots in Israel’s ancient worship traditions.
When God gave Moses instructions for the priests, He said, “Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel . . . Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders before the Lord” (Exodus 28:9,12). Aaron, the high priest, would enter the holy of holies at the appointed time to make atonement for the sins of the children of Israel. He would come before God with the names of each of the twelve sons of Jacob, the family tribes of the nation, engraved on the stones that made up part of his ritual garb. He would literally bear the weight of the names of the sons of Israel while symbolically bearing the weight of their sin on his shoulders.
At Calvary Jesus bore the weight of every sin you and I have ever committed. But it wasn’t a symbolic act like the priest bearing the names of the sons of Israel, and it wasn’t a gentle weight like my son perched on his Daddy’s shoulders. The weight of all the sins of humanity – including your sin and mine – was a real, crushing burden heaped on the Son of God.
My husband bore the weight of our son because he loved him. Jesus bore the weight of your sin because he loves you. There came a point, though, when our little boy became too big of a burden for his Daddy to carry. Here’s the good news: you will never be too big of a burden for Jesus. Your sins will never out-weigh His love for you. You can rest on this promise Beloved, Jesus will carry you – all the way home.