The Broken Skate

On my dad’s winter visits to our Mexican home, he customarily brought with him Christmas gifts. Sometimes, he would bring a single toy for three of us to share, like a tricycle he brought one year. Once, he brought a pair of roller skates. He gave one to my younger brother, Gustavo (we started calling him Gus after we moved to the U.S.), and one to me.

These were old-fashioned skates – the metal kind that slid to adjust the length, and came with a “key,” which was used to adjust the side grips to one’s shoes, and to tighten or loosen the wheels for friction control. For improved lubrication, neighborhood friends who owned skates like ours took us to a car shop which kept a tub filled with used motor oil. We dipped our skates into it. We then strapped our respective skate to one foot and rolled down the street pushing off with the other foot. How smoothly they glided on the street after that!

One afternoon, I was using my single skate on the street about a half block from our house. As I pushed off the cement with my opposite foot, my skate suddenly fell apart. Bolts and washers scattered in all directions! I never envisioned such a thing. I panicked, not knowing what to do.

I blamed constant re-adjusting of the skate with the key, combined with dipping it into the oil for loosening it to the point that the stress of my weight caused it to disintegrate. I hurriedly gathered the scattered parts, and tried putting the skate back together. I was able to reassemble the major components, but I could not find an outer wheel and its corresponding nut. So, I grabbed what was left of the skate and walked home.

When I got there, I concealed the broken skate under one arm and scampered to the sole bedroom. Knowing where my brother kept his skate (under a bed), I went there, snatched his skate, and substituted mine where his had been. Maybe he wouldn’t notice, I told myself. Or maybe he’ll think he broke his own skate! What logic! I went outside and played with Gus’ skate, pretending nothing unusual had happened to mine.

Before long, Gustavo realized that the skate under the bed was broken. He couldn’t figure it out, though, and no one ever accused me of anything. My parents must have thought Gus did break it.

I was never caught or held to account for that by my family.

What was I thinking? What is it that led me to do those things? Was it something in my nature? Was I trying to avoid my father’s wrath for not taking care of the only toy he had just brought me? Why was I willing to avoid his wrath at my brother’s expense? I was willing to set up my brother for blame (and consequences) that I knew belonged to me.

What a contrast that is from what Jesus did for us! Rather than allowing us to suffer the wrath that we deserve, Jesus willingly died a torturous death in our place. He took upon himself the sins of every human being, and allowed himself to be crucified, and temporarily separated from God the Father, to provide the only sacrifice that would give mankind a way back to the Father – the only lifeline to Heaven.

We spend many days finding others to blame, or circumstances to accuse, for our misdeeds and omissions. Yet, Jesus, who knew no sin and was perfectly blameless, willingly accepted the blame and punishment for the combined iniquities of mankind.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

[J]ust as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28

Why was He willing – being God the Son, a divine, heavenly being – to endure the humiliation that came with being incarnated as a poor baby, the son of a carpenter? Why was He willing to live as a human being and be accused, questioned, mocked, defamed, and hated by humans? Why was He willing to endure torture? [He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Acts 8:32-33] Why was He willing, as a sinless, spotless, divine being, to take upon Himself the stench and filth of others’ accumulated sin, knowing that His Father could not even allow sin in His presence? (1 Samuel 6:20)

We know that He regarded fellowship with the Father (e.g., I and the Father are One. John 10:30; 17:11, 21; Mark 1:35) as precious. Yet, why was He willing, even for a temporary period, to break that fellowship (And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice . . . “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34) in taking our sins upon Himself?

Perhaps, because He knew it was the Father’s will – Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. (Luke 22:42)

He knew it pleased the Father. Indeed, pleasing the Father sustained Jesus. He wanted what the Father wanted. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34)

He knew God loved mankind so much that He created man with a free will to choose Him or to reject Him, knowing there was a chance that many would reject Him, and even try to battle against Him.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)

He knew God the Father loved man so much that He continually forgave even His chosen people, the Israelites, despite repeated rebellion and backsliding. [O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. (Matthew 23:37)] He knew the Father desired sinful man to be reconciled to Him. The Father loved us so much that, even though He loved His only son deeply,[1] He was willing to allow Him to be made a physical sacrifice to make the way (something that he wouldn’t even put Abraham through when Abraham almost sacrificed his beloved son Isaac) for that reconciliation and restoration.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. (Colossians 1:22)

And, Jesus loved those whom the Father loved. He loved us as much as the Father does. [“as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her [us].” (Ephesians 5:25)]


[1] “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.” (John 3:35) “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.” (John 5:20) And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17


Manuel M. Melgoza © Copyright

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