The Ragman – The Price for my life…..

II Cor 5:21 “For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that
we might be made the righteousness of God, in Him!”

THE RAGMAN – The Price for my life…..

I saw a strange sight. I stumbled upon a story most strange, like
nothing my life, my street sense, my sly tongue had ever prepared me
for.

Hush, child, hush, now, and I will tell it to you.

Even before the dawn one Friday morning I noticed a young man,
handsome and strong, walking the alleys of our City. He was pulling an
old cart filled with clothes both bright and new, and he was calling in
a clear, tenor voice; “Rags!” Ah, the air was foul and the first light
filthy to be crossed by such sweet music.

“Rags! New rags for old! I take your tired rags! Rags!”

“Now this is a wonder,” I thought to myself, for the man stood
six-feet-four, and His arms were like tree limbs, hard and muscular, and
His eyes flashed intelligence. Could He find no better job than this, to
be a ragman in the inner city?

I followed Him. My curiosity drove me. And I wasn’t
disappointed.

Soon the Ragman saw a woman sitting on her back porch. She was
sobbing into a handkerchief, sighing, and shedding a thousand tears. Her
knees and elbows made a sad X. Her shoulders shook. Her heart was
breaking.

The Ragman stopped his cart. Quietly, He walked to the woman,
stepping around tin cans, dead toys, and Pampers. “Give me your rag,”
He said gently, “and I will give you another.”

He slipped the handkerchief from her eyes. She looked up, and He
laid across her palm a linen cloth so clean and new that it shined. She
blinked from the gift to the giver.

Then, as He began to pull the cart again, the Ragman did a
strange thing; He put her stained handkerchief to His own face; and then
He began to weep, to sob as grievously as she had done, His shoulders
shaking. Yet she was left without a tear.

“This is a wonder,” I breathed to myself, and I followed the
sobbing Ragman like a child who cannot turn away from mystery.

“Rags! Rags! New rags for old!”

In a little while, when the sky showed gray behind the roof tops
and I could see the shredded curtains hanging out black windows, the
Ragman came upon a girl whose head was wrapped in a bandage, whose eyes
were empty. Blood soaked her bandage. A single line of blood ran down
her cheek.

Now the tall Ragman looked upon this child with pity, and He
drew a lovely bonnet from his cart. “Give me your rag,” He said, tracing
His own line on her cheek, “and I will give you mine”.

The child could only gaze at Him while He loosened the bandage,
removed it, and tied it to His own head. The bonnet He set on hers. And
I gasped at what I saw; for with the bandage went the wound! Against His
brow it ran a darker, more substantial blood – His own!

“Rags! Rags! I take old rags!” cried the sobbing, bleeding,
strong, intelligent Ragman.

The sun hurt both the sky, now, and my eyes; the Ragman seemed
more and more to hurry.

“Are you going to work?” He asked a man who leaned against a
telephone pole. The man shook his head. The Ragman pressed him: “Do you
have a job?”

“Are you crazy?” sneered the other. He pulled away from the
pole, revealing the right sleeve of his jacket. He had no arm.

“So,” said the Ragman. “Give me your jacket, and I will give you
mine.”

Such quiet authority in his voice!

The one armed man took off his jacket. So did the Ragman – and I
trembled at what I saw: for the Ragman’s arm stayed in the sleeve, and
when the other put it on he had two good arms, thick as tree limbs; but
the Ragman had only one.

“Go to work,” he said

After that he found a drunk, lying unconscious beneath an army
blanket, an old man hunched, wizened, and sick. He took that blanket and
wrapped it around himself, but for the> drunk He left new cloths.

And now I had to run to keep up with the Ragman. Though He was
weeping uncontrollably, and bleeding freely at the forehead, pulling His
cart with one arm, stumbling for drunkenness, falling again and again,
exhausted, old, old, and sick, yet He with terrible speed. On spider’s
legs He skittered through the alleys of the City, this mile and the
next, until He came to its limits, and then He rushed beyond.

I wept to see the change in this man. I hurt to see his sorrow.
And yet I needed to see where He was going in such haste, perhaps to
know what drove Him so.

The little old Ragman – He came to a landfill. He came to the
garbage pits. And then I wanted to help Him in what He did, but I hung
back, hiding. He climbed a hill. Then He sighed. He lay down. He
pillowed his head on a handkerchief and a jacket. He covered his bones
with an army blanket. And He died.

Oh, how I cried to witness that death! I slumped in a junked car
and wailed and mourned as one who has no hope – because I had come to
love the Ragman. Every other face had faded in the wonder of this man,
and I cherished him; but he died. I sobbed myself to sleep.

I did not know – how could I know? – that I slept through Friday
night and Saturday and its night, too. But then, on Sunday morning, I
was awakened by violence.

Light – pure, hard, demanding light – slammed against my sour
face, and I blinked, and I looked, and I saw the last and the first
wonder of all. There was the Ragman, folding the blanket most carefully,
a scar on His forehead, but alive!!!! And, besides that, healthy! There
was no sign of sorrow nor of age and all the rags that he had gathered
shined for cleanliness.

Well, then I lowered my head and, trembling for all that I had
seen, I myself walked up to the Ragman. I told him my name with shame,
for I was a sorry figure next to Him. Then I took off all my clothes in
that place, and I said to Him with dear yearning in my
voice: “Dress me.”

He dressed me. My Lord, He put new rags on me, and I am a wonder
because of Him.

The Ragman, the Ragman, the (my) Christ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

 II Cor 5:21 “For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that
we might be made the righteousness of God, in Him!”

Psalm 55:22a “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you…”