“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:16-17
For the past two weeks our church has been fasting, praying, and meditating on the book of John, going all the way to the last chapter on Easter Sunday. Through technology we have shared and discussed some of the prevalent themes in this gospel, particularly the arrival of the Messiah and the personal relationship that God desires with His creation. Today’s focus was on chapter 14, but since the devotional on chapter three my imagination has been painting the picture of the One who was both 100% human and 100% divine at the same time. I’ve wondered, “What was Jesus feeling in these moments? What was He thinking?” more times than I can count. Why I’m wondering this now, I honestly cannot say. What has become clear through this devotional is just how much God loved –and still loves—this world.
John 3:16 is hitting me differently, causing tears to well up even as I write this. For the Lord to develop His plan of salvation that would require the ultimate sacrifice so that many may be saved, that they would be passed over, is seriously blowing my mind. Because let’s be honest, fam: we aren’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea. If there is a nerve to get on, we have that uncanny ability to find and park on it. If there is a foul attitude to catch, or cross words to sling at someone, or foul thoughts that would smell if they could, we can be about all that. We can grieve the Holy Spirit with our “…bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:29).
We human beings demonstrate far too easily how much we don’t deserve the grace, mercy, and love of an all-powerful God, our heavenly Father.
And yet despite all this, despite us, God loves us anyway. He loves us so much that He did what none of us would do, if we’re completely honest with ourselves. He gave His Son so that everyone who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior, will have eternal life. He gave His one and only Son so that the world could be saved from eternal damnation, so that we could be part of God’s family. Of the countless ways to demonstrate His love the Lord’s plan involved this one-time supreme, ultimate sacrifice to atone for the sins of every single person through the whole of human history. By believing in His Son, by accepting Him as THE way, THE truth, and THE life, the effects of our sins no longer separate us from God.
That personal relationship that the Lord has always wanted with you, me, and everyone is real and active.
…And then this amazing sacrifice rose from the dead after three days, with all power in His hands. Death, hell, and the grave were conquered by Jesus Christ. The Accuser who’s working even now against us is being thwarted and overruled in the heavenly places, because the Son is there saying, “No, my blood covered that” with every charge he can lobby against us. The blood of Jesus covers a multitude of faults. The power in His blood protects us during this season of pandemic and global uncertainty and reminds us that there is nothing too hard for the Lord to handle. That includes COVID-19.
This is why I tear up, why my heart feels so awed and humbled right now. I know I have been loved and am loved now by family and friends. But to experience a great love like this, to really process it and what it means…fam, there really aren’t any words to adequately describe it.
I am so humbled.
I am so grateful.
All I can say is, “I love You, Lord. Thank You so much for loving me, for seeing the best in me, for saving me, for blessing me. Thank You for staying by my side, for healing me when I was sick, for comforting me when I was feeling broken. Thank You for teaching me to be better, and for being patient with me when I wasn’t. Thank You for the joy and hope that You bring to my life every moment. Just…wow, thank You, thank You, thank You.”
Prayer of thanksgiving: Lord God, I just want to thank You and tell You how much Your love means to me. I love You, Lord. I truly, truly do. Amen.