Some of us seem to be more comfortable with an impersonal God. The idea of God's son having nail prints in his hands and feet because of God's great love for us is an idea many of us are not ready for.

I read a true and beautiful story in college about the courtship of Moses Mendelssohn, the grandfather of a great German composer. Moses was a small man with a mis-shaped, humped back. One day he visited a merchant in Hamburg who had a lovely daughter. Though Moses admired her greatly, she avoided him, seemingly afraid of his grotesque hump.

On the last day of his visit he went to tell her good-bye. Her face seemed to beam with beauty but when he entered, she cast her eyes to the floor. Moses' heart ached for her. After some small talk, he slowly drew to the subject that filled his mind. "Do you believe that marriages are made in Heaven?" he asked.

"Yes," replied the young woman. "And do you?"

"Of course," Moses answered. "I believe that at the birth of each child, the Lord says, 'That boy shall marry that girl.' But in my case, the Lord also added, 'But, his wife will have a terrible hump.'"

"At that moment I called, 'Oh Lord, that would be a tragedy for her. Please give me the humped back and let her be beautiful.'" The story ends when the young woman was so moved by his words that she reached for Moses' hand and later became his loving and faithful wife.

In trying to deal with the meaning of the cross on which Christ died, the early church came to understand that those nail prints in Jesus' hands and feet have been ours. But God so loved the world that he sent his own Son to bear the burden brought about by our sin.