Sunday, April 08, 2007

re: righteous anger pt II

Part II: Jesus is a lover.

Jesus loves me,
this I know,
for the Bible tells me so...

Continued from part I.

This sounds so basic, but do we really understand his love? Read on...

We have heard that Jesus loves us, from the Bible (John 3:16) and from the pulpit. We maybe have even experienced it a few times, like at salvation, baptism, or a rare church experience. But what do we really know about the Love of Christ? What have we really experienced of this love? Be honest.

Before we can fulfill the greatest commandment, to love the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our understanding, and all our strength, we must first receive His love, more and more. We must receive Him, more and more.

And we have known and believed the love that God has in us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

We love Him because He first loved us.
(1Jn 4:16,19)
Abiding in love... sounds a little romantic? Hah, I should hope so. Jesus is described as the bridegroom throughout the Bible. He loves us beyond measure. But just for a second let's take a look at that infinite love.

Here we are in the midst of the Jewish Pesach, the Passover, which serves as a reminder of how God delivered Israel from Egypt, and also foreshadows of Jesus, the sacrificial lamb (Exodus 12). A great opportunity to ponder the power of Christ.

We're going to skip the incredible mystery of God becoming man, and skip right to the incredible mystery of the God-man dying -- for us!

Christ was not killed. He laid down his life willingly (John 10:18), and suffered the brutality we get a picture of in the movie the Passion. This is God, who needs nothing from anyone, perfect in himself, choosing to become a humble man and suffer at the hands of other men. Why? For love.

This should blow us away. It's beyond understanding. Give yourself a few minutes to just thing about an infinite, perfect God, choosing to love us like this. Craziness.

I could go on and on... so maybe I will!

Creation. God created us for love. He didn't have to. He doesn't need our love, and in fact he could have been quite satisfied loving himself. Yet he desired to create us for love. The fall of man put distance between us, and He has been working a perfect plan to restore that love, and make it complete.

He could have just walked away. He could have started over. But he called his creation "good", and was not about to go back on his word. He is faithful even when we are not.

Every time God comes down from heaven to deal with people and doesn't wipe them out is only by the incredible mercy and meekness of God. I picture a huge, 18 year old, six-foot-six, 240 pound, muscular guy, bending down to play with a cranky, 2 year old girl with a smelly diaper. He could easily walk away, or if he's not careful, step on her and crush her.

It's not out of duty that he bends down to fix her diaper, nobody tells this guy what to do. It's not out of necessity, it's not because it's "what's right", but it's love. He cares!

And this is what inspired God to come to Abram, and make promises to him that He knew he would keep, all the while knowing that Abram would not be capable of perfectly keeping his side of the bargain.

This is what inspired God to make Israel into a people who he would call "Mine", while they would often chase after other gods.

With this love God became a weak, humble man. Jesus had his eyes on the Father, and the Father had in his eyes the future wedding of His beloved Son. This is what makes it all worth it.

Hopefully this gives you a little bit of the picture. These things were on the minds of the apostles. It's why Paul often would change his tone mid-thought and go off about the incredible love of God.

Look at one of his prayers for the Ephesians:
...that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, [so] that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to grasp with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height; to know the surpassing knowledge and love of Christ; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:16-19, emphasis added)
Let that be your prayer for yourself, and see how it transforms you.

Next time: Jesus, the jealous husband.

Please leave comments, thoughts, etc.

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Kansas City, Missouri, United States
I'm a full-time lover of Jesus. I work, learn, and pray at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. I live simple, and seek God with all my heart.

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