From time to time we wonder about God’s love, not least when we face significant challenges. What shows that God really does love us? And how far has he gone to express this love? Well let us consider.
Jesus came for sinners
It may be well known that Jesus came to save us from our sins and ultimately from eternal separation from God, but to grasp his love in this, we have to remember who he is. Jesus was with God at the beginning and has always existed. In heaven, he was covered in glory and honor. His name and position was as God himself, the angels worshiped him as they worship God. Nevertheless, he chose to move out of that glory and come to give his life for sinners (John 10:18). He lowered himself to the level of man and entered a world that would let him experience suffering for the first time. Remember he did not have to do it, but he wanted to because he loved us that much.
He embraces sinners
While Jesus was physically here on earth, he did something that angered the religious leaders of his time; he embraced and loved sinners. The Pharisees could not understand how a man of God could associate with the worst of society (Matthew 9:10-13). Herein lies great love: Jesus who is as holy as God himself endured the manifestation (and uncleanness) of sin so he could demonstrate his love for us. The extent to which God loves holiness is the extent to which he hates sin, but for them (and you and me) his love was and still is present in spite of sin.
He would have died for you alone
Have you ever wondered if Jesus would still have died if there were only a handful of people on earth? Well the answer is YES and further more if it had been only you, he still would have hung on the cross. In Matthew 18:12, Jesus tells a parable of a man who has a hundred sheep and loses one. The man will leave all the ninety nine and go in search of the one. In this case we are the sheep and Jesus is our Shepherd. This clearly shows us that the one is as valuable as the many as far as God is concerned.
God’s Mercy is endless
Another important expression of God’s love for us is his mercy. His mercy has no limits. There is nothing too bad that God cannot forgive and no number of sins that are too many to be cleansed. So how many times exactly can God extend his forgiveness towards us? Well, think about all the people who have existed since Jesus was here, think of each of their sins, put them all together then add to it the current sins of the world that are committed each minute and will be committed until the end of time – his mercy is sufficient for them all. God will forgive us every time we ask him, as long as we are sincere and this all because he loves us (1 John 1:9).
Jesus will never condemn you
It is very comforting to know that Jesus will never condemn us for our sin and not because he doesn’t mind us sinning but simply because he loves us and prefers to correct us gently. If you have ever felt condemned or guilty of your sin know that it isn’t from God but rather from the Enemy. A perfect example of how Jesus would look at you after you have sinned can be found in John 8:2-11. There was a woman who had been caught in the very act of adultery and they brought her to him wanting to stone her. Jesus said to them: ‘he who was without sin be the first to throw a stone at her’, they all left. Jesus remained with the woman and he asked her “where are they? Has no one condemned you?” she answered: “No one, Lord” he then said: “Neither do I, go and sin no more.” God will not condemn you because he loves you.
He shares in our sorrows – it grieves him when we hurt
Did you know that every time you are hurting Jesus is with you and shares in your sorrow just as a close friend would? He always has compassion for us when we suffer. Let’s consider the time Lazarus had died and Jesus saw his sister Mary weeping. He was “deeply moved in his spirit and “greatly troubled” Jesus wept (John 11:35).
It is interesting to note he wept even though he knew that Lazarus would be resurrected just minutes from that time. He was expressing his compassion for Mary and the people who knew and loved Lazarus and he does the same for us today. Jesus will bring you out of your troubles if you trust him, but even while you are there he will comfort you and grieve with you.
God still loves us even when we betray & deny him
An acid test of how far one’s love can go is how you treat someone who has betrayed you. Jesus faced both betrayal and denial and still loved. He was betrayed by one of his disciples (and friend) who spent a lot of time with him but when that hour of betrayal came, when Judas brought the guards to arrest him, Jesus spoke to Judas and said :Friend, what do you come to do? (Matthew 26:50). He called the man who handed him over to be killed ‘Friend’. Likewise, when Simon Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, Jesus did not hold it against him and after he resurrected, Jesus appeared to Simon and gave him the responsibility of establishing his Church.
Today we deny and betray Jesus everyday when we choose to go against what we know is right but he loves us anyway and won’t walk away.
Jesus poured out his blood and gave his life for us
The crucifixion and death of Jesus is the ultimate demonstration of both God (the Father) and Jesus’ love for us. From God’s point of view it was sacrificing his only begotten Son whom he dearly loves and seeing him suffer terribly for our sins. If you are a parent you must know what it feels like to see your child suffer. On the other hand there was the sacrifice Jesus made by enduring the mental torment in the garden, the spitting, insults and mockery of the soldiers, the whipping and beatings, the pain of the nails through his hands, the humiliation of hanging on the cross and ultimately the loss of his own life (Matthew 27: 27-50). We have to remember that Jesus was paying for the sins of all the world so the pain he received was in full measure. He did this all for you and me and this is the ultimate measure of how far his love will go – that he would lay down his life for you.