I recently heard a gentleman tell a study group about how he chops down trees with an axe. A tiresome chore, he said, and when it becomes clear the work is too hard, he gives up. He throws down his axe and quits. He is defeated. The tree still stands. But then he gets out the chainsaw. And a tree is no match for a chainsaw. He made his point with this statement: Jesus is the chainsaw. Another man showed fast appreciation and cheerfully proclaimed, “Jesus is my chainsaw.”
We all laughed and agreed to allow Jesus the classification of a power tool. The droll comparison followed the discussion of a verse I included in a recent blog called A Muslim’s Boy’s Offense. Here’s the verse:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Mathew 11:28-30
I applied this verse to the sad story of the Muslim boy to show the way of absolution is too hard an undertaking for any of us. No act on our part, no matter how hard we try, is good enough to get us in right standing before God. It takes the cross of Christ to pay that penalty.
So what does it have to do with a chainsaw? We can wear ourselves out trying to take care of our own sin problem. We can strive to make ourselves acceptable to God. But it can’t be done. When we lay down our axe, when we see our tree hasn’t fallen, that’s when Jesus comes with great power. Like a chainsaw. A sinner swinging an axe is weary and burdened. A sinner with a chainsaw can rest.
Okay, we’re not really talking about chopping down a tree here. And some may say there’s nothing gentle and humble about a chainsaw. Analogies only go so far. But here’s what I know: I was weary and burdened and Jesus gave me rest. The yoke of my sin was too great. The yoke of redemption is easy. Sin is grueling and stern. Jesus is graceful and tender. But He’s also infinitely powerful.
The disciples called by Jesus to come and rest were bound by the law. Weary of struggling to keep its demands. Burdened by the toil of insufficient sacrifices. Jesus—the fulfillment of the law—wanted them to know life was about to get radically rectified. The sin they couldn’t escape was about to let them go. Their destiny of death was about to take a strike ending its grip forever. The tree they couldn’t topple was about to come down.
I imagine dropping my axe to the cold hard ground and watching Jesus approach my tree with a chainsaw in his strong hands. And cutting it clean to a stump in no time flat. And framing it into a cross. It must have been my tree He hung upon. Thank you, Chainsaw Jesus. Thank you.