The word “love” has become numb to the world. It is just another word with no meaning and has no emotion attached to it. The dictionary definition of love is “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person” (dictionary.com). In a Christian sense of the word “love,” it has a stronger and more powerful meaning in which it is a “selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love” (about.com). This kind of love is called agape love. “Agape perfectly describes the kind of love Jesus Christ has for His Father and for His followers” (about.com).
God’s love cannot be explained to the fullness of who He is! “God is love” (1 John 4:8). His love is beyond our comprehension that can only be experienced by encountering His presence. The love of Christ is the most sacrificial love we will ever experience in our lifetime. His love has no bounds. Psalm 36:5 says God’s love “reaches to the heavens and [His] faithfulness [reaches] to the skies.”
Nothing can separate us from God’s love. According to Paul in Romans 8:37-39, “no, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God’s love is the most amazing gift that we could ever receive. God allowed His son, Jesus, to die on a cross so we could have a relationship with Him. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We need to take a minute to think about this Scripture. God saw us worthy even when we were still sinners. We were worthy enough for God’s son to die a painful and dreadful death. That is how much God loves us. That is breathtaking!
The Story of the Cross
In the book of Luke, chapter 23, verses 32 through 38, tells us the story of the cross. This story is one-of-a-kind. Jesus was God in human form “and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death–even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8). If Jesus was God in human form, then he would have felt the same pain we would have experienced if we were tortured and nailed to the cross.
Jesus was blameless! He did not deserve to be beaten beyond recognition, carry a heavy wooden cross on His back, mocked, and nailed to a cross to suffer a long agonizing death. Even in His suffering, He had compassion for us. While He hung on the cross, “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’” (Luke 23:34).
If I was hanging on a cross dying and was being mocked by the people who used to love me, I do not know if I would have compassion for them. In this situation, more than likely our fleshly thoughts would get the best of us. If you were nailed to a cross, after being beaten nearly to death, you would be in extraordinary pain. This kind of pain cannot be fully described in words, because it was so intense. No other man on earth has experienced the level of pain that Jesus endured. In addition to suffering on the cross, Jesus must have felt the ultimate rejection by the ones that used to love Him. These people in the crowd, mocking Him, were those that used to follow Him and believed in His miracles. I cannot even imagine experiencing this kind of rejection. In the midst of all this chaos, Jesus did not condemn us or even reject us for our actions, but, instead, He forgave us.
While Jesus was taking His last breaths on the cross, His final words were “it is finished” (John 19:30). “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split” (Matthew 27:51). When those words were spoken, we had access to God. Jesus paved the way for us in the most tragic death.
Jesus replaced the rituals of burnt offerings in the Old Testament by giving Himself up as a burnt offering. In the Old Testament, the people in the Bible would ask God for forgiveness for their sins by sacrificing an animal, in specific terms, to honor Him. Burnt offerings was a sacred ritual. Leviticus 1:10 says that “if the offering is a burnt offering from the flock, from either the sheep or the goats, you are to offer a male without defect.” Jesus is perfect in every way!
One of the most popular and memorized Scriptures in the Bible is John 3:16. “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.” The agape love expressed in this Scripture is not something we can wrap our minds around. It cannot be explained why someone would sacrifice himself to save the world. This proves that God’s love is unconditional, with no strings attached.
The cross symbolizes hope, redemption, and forgiveness! The cross was a huge cost for Jesus to pay for our debts. Sometimes the cross becomes just another story. The meaning of the cross becomes numb, and we forget what it represents. We should never let the story of the cross grow numb in our hearts!