Verse: John 15:13
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
I’ve heard some people say, “How could a loving God send his Son to be brutally beaten and crucified just to satisfy his anger? I’m not sure I can follow a God who would do that. I would never do that to my child.”
As I reflect on Good Friday this morning, I wonder if maybe, that’s because we can’t fathom the depth of love that God has for us. I wonder (actually I know) that our view of love and sacrifice is limited by our human, earthly desires. We can’t imagine a love that sacrificial. Paul, in fact, challenges us to “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” To know something that surpasses knowledge—do you see what he’s getting at?
I wonder if we also underestimate our own sin. God is perfection. He dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16). I think we underestimate how our sin separates us from God. We buy into the cultural lie that everyone is “ok” and we just have to “accept ourselves and each other.” When in reality our sin is real and it breaks fellowship with a perfectly holy God. It’s not that he’s mean about it, it’s just reality. Something imperfect cannot co-exist with something as perfect and holy as God.
You see, I also wonder if we don’t really understand true holiness. It might be something like this: our limited humanity requires us to breathe oxygen, right? However, there exists a place (space) where we can’t go without help. If we did, just by being there, we would die. It’s not mean. No one things, “space is so mean to us.” Or even, “God is so mean to create space where we can’t breathe.” It just IS. It is reality. I think our sin is similar. The sin in our hearts and lives makes us literally unable to live in God’s presence.
But God in his great love, wants us to be with him ANYWAY. Tim Keller says it best, ““The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”
And so God created the Great Loophole in the Universe. In his MERCY he allowed his Son to offer himself so that when we walk into the presence of God we won’t die, because all of our sin was placed on him, and he bore it into death. That is when God pulled away from him and he died. He died the death we should have died, so we can live the life he longs for us to live. So now, if we receive the help of Jesus (like some amazing space station for humanity – ok – killing the analogy a little here) we don’t walk into the presence of God with our sin. We walk in perfectly righteous and holy. Like him. As it was always meant to be. And so therefore, as was promised, we can dwell with God forever (“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).
This isn’t a cruel God with impossible standards who kills his own Son. This is a heart broken Father (of us all) who’s Son of all Eternity offers his own life to open the way for us to enter into our Father’s presence. Jesus gave himself freely, and told us all beforehand, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Today, let us be grateful and worshipful as we remember the sacrifice of our perfectly loving God.
There is so much I do not understand, God. But I trust you. And I trust in your work on the cross to redeem my relationship with you. Thank you for making a way. I choose to live the rest of my life walking in it.
Author: Christian Dunn