For God so loved the world

“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 (NIV)

“Falling in love with Jesus was the best thing I ever, ever done.”

Jonathan Butler/Kirk Whalum

As we continue our journey to Easter, it is good to reflect upon God’s amazing love for us. The story of Easter is about God loving us so much that God was willing to give His best to ensure our forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation. If we miss this in the meaning of Easter, then our Christian walk lacks a genuine perspective and understanding of the basic tenets of our faith.

Emblems and symbols are important. Graphically, they share who we are, what we believe, and what is important to us. When we see them, instantly, they convey an important meaning. For the Church of Christ, the greatest symbol used by all is the cross. We approach the cross not as a glorified symbol of our faith, but for what it really was during Jesus’ lifetime, a means of torture, cruel, and horrific death. The cross was the executioner’s dream and the criminal’s nightmare. It signaled to all found guilty of a crime, that your fate was in the hands of those with power to determine it.

As Jesus made His way to Jerusalem for Passover, He clearly understood that death was imminent. He came to die, to become the ultimate sacrifice. We see and hear the anguish and reality of death in His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was willing to drink from the cup given Him. He did not let it pass, but willingly offered and gave His life for all. Jesus was placed on the cross and His life, freely given, was taken from Him.

Today, we understand the nature of the cross. It represents a supreme sacrifice, a heavy burden, a blight on humanity. Yet, we cannot deny the transforming power of the cross. Today, we see victory over death and the grave. The cross, although destructive, ultimately did not destroy Jesus. The sting of death was taken away and redemption became available to all who look to Jesus.

What should our response be to the actions of Jesus? We should love Jesus with all we possess. The love of Christ ought to be evident in our lives and others should be able to see it. As the song acknowledges, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love.” Amen.