I was 7 years old, doodling on a piece of scrap paper as I listened to my Sunday School teacher talk about Jesus. Yes, even the 7 year old Caitlin had trouble focusing on just one thing. I always enjoyed going to church. But something was different about this Sunday.
|7 year old Caitlin on Easter Morning|
He was describing God's love for His children. It's easy enough to explain love to a 7 year old. No one experiences love as purely and completely as a young child. But putting the love of our Lord, the Creator of the universe, into words is a daunting task regardless of your audience. So he got on our level and compared God's love for us to our parents love for us - "You know how much your Dad loves you? Jesus loves you EVEN MORE!!!!!" What?! No way. Not possible.
Maybe he noticed in my facial expression how my mind was trying to contain that thought, so he asked me how my Dad shows that he loves me. I told him about how Dad always kisses us goodbye a million times and tells us he loves us over and over again, even when we are just going to Walmart! "Can you imagine God loving you even more than that?"
That is when I decided to give my life to Jesus. To become a child of God as well as His creation. I became a Christian.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." - John 3.16
I know why that is such a popular memory verse for young children. Kids know Love. They get Love. Somehow the older we get the more abstract and complex Love becomes. And that's sad.
Maybe you were not given the opportunity to experience the genuine love of a father, or even a mother. Can I invite you to lay aside the conceptions you have of earthly Love, even those that are buried deep in hurt or shame or guilt? If you will, I can tell you a story of Love that can heal all your wounds and replace them with your own personal story of the moment you met Jesus.
Jesus had just come into Jerusalem, and was teaching the people the Word of God. The Passover came, then Jesus went to the garden where he prayed and cried and sweated drops of blood in deep agony, knowing what would happen a few hours later. He prayed first for God to find another way, but finished His prayer by asking for God's will to be done.
See, Jesus was completely human. Remember this as you read the story of His arrest, torture, and crucifixion.
As He looked up at the Cross, He could have said no. If He were merely human, He would have said no. But just as He experienced all the humanity that we do, He was also fully God, full of Love for each one of us that we can never understand. No matter how purely we have experienced Love. No matter how damaging worldly love has been to us. But aren't you glad that the depth of His Love for us is not dependent on our capacity to understand it?
He died on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven. Without forgiveness of our sins, we can never go to heaven. Now the price is paid, all we have to do is pick up that payment. Receive it. Pray and ask the Lord into our lives because we believe He paid our penalty.
You don't have to understand the extent of His Love. And praise God it's not based on our ability to reciprocate it. Because as humans we fail. But Jesus paid the price knowing all of this, didn't He?
What's your story? How did you come to know Him?
You don't have a story yet? Jesus began your story on the cross on that first Good Friday. Take His hand and complete that story. I can't wait to see how it ends :)
Happy Good Friday!
My Challenge for you is to read the story of Good Friday - Matthew 27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, John 13-19 - and put yourself in the shoes of a disciple. What do they see? What do they feel as they watch Jesus being crucified? Look out for the next post on Easter Sunday - Where Hope Meets Hate and Humiliation.