Jesus loves you and He died for you.
I think we’ve all heard that at least once, and most of us have probably heard it hundreds, or maybe even thousands of times. We have gotten so used to those words that I think we forget what they really mean, and the significance of them. How many times have you heard someone say those eight words to you, or you’ve even said them to someone else? But did you stop to really think about what they mean? Probably not, with the amount of times we’ve said it. Well, let’s take a minute to really consider the meaning of Jesus loves you, and he died for you.
Think about that for just a second. Jesus loves you is pretty easy to understand, right? Sure, but the way Jesus loves us is different than any kind of love we experience here on this earth from other human beings. Jesus loves us because we are who He made us to be. Not because of anything we’ve ever said or will say; not because of something we’ve done, but because we are His. Is there anyone you know and love just because they are themselves? It seems hard to love someone with any amount of love if you had no reason to love them, or they had never done anything for you, or you had never needed them for anything, doesn’t it? Now, as hard as it is to think of loving someone who did nothing for you, Jesus did even more for us than this.
Not only does He not need anything from us, but we try and avoid Him, sometimes taking desperate measures to do so, and we also get mad at Jesus from time to time, don’t we? We blame Him for the things that happen to us. We even hate Him sometimes because He is using a hard time or event in our lives to draw us back to Him, or to expose an area in our life that needs to be brought into the light. And even though we know, in our minds, that He is using that hard thing for good, our hearts have a harder time accepting this idea, and unfortunately we often make decisions with our emotions, and emotion stems from the heart. That is why we do things to Jesus that we should never even think about, let alone do. And yet, Jesus still loves us, doesn’t He?
Jesus loves us in a way that we cannot fully comprehend. Think of someone in your life who you really love and care about. It might be a sibling or friend, perhaps a parent or grandparent. Whoever it is, do you love them enough to die for them? You probably love that person because they have been there for you when you needed them the most, or they have given you something that means a lot to you, or maybe just because you have known them for a long time and you are very close to them. Whatever the reason you love them is, if you answered yes to the above question, would you still die for that person if they never did anything for you? What if they knew you existed, but they didn’t care about you? What if they were mean to you, or cursed you, or bullied you? It would be extremely difficult to love someone who acted that way towards you, wouldn’t it? Now, challenging as that would be, imagine dying for that person. That’s what Jesus did for us, except on an even higher level.
Now, you’re probably thinking, ‘hang on a minute, Jesus also died for those who love Him’. Now, that is true, He did die for everyone, but He came to save the sinners, not the righteous. The righteous were already righteous because he had already saved them. They had already accepted Him and His gospel, but because none of us are perfect, we need a mediator, and that’s why His sacrifice was necessary. So that we could have a personal relationship with the Father. But Jesus didn’t have to die. He chose to, out of His great love for us.
Just like this: people don’t become doctors only to go around and heal healthy people. No, they become doctors so that they can heal sick people. Once the sick person is healed, they can join the ranks of healthy people that the doctor has already made well. However, even the healthy people have routine check-ups with their doctor, don’t they? The point of those meetings is to make sure that the patient is staying well and growing properly. Just like a spiritual check-up with Jesus. He wants to make sure we are growing in our faith, and staying well by avoiding the darkness, and our own fleshly lusts.
In conclusion, the point of Jesus dwelling among us, as the God-Man was to save sinners, as a doctor heals the sick.
In Matthew 9, Matthew records the event where Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors.
10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and began dining with Jesus and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 . . . “for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
When we read this passage, we see that Jesus really came to save and call the sinners. He died for those that mocked Him, that hated Him, that cursed Him. Jesus was hung on that tree for the men that spit at Him, beat Him, framed Him, provoked Him, scorned Him, and humiliated Him. And The Lamb did it all in love, didn’t He? With His last breath, Jesus uttered the words, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Can you imagine the kind of love that He had, to suffer and die for those who despised Him? And even after he rose from the grave, emerging victorious over death, the people were still disbelieving and hateful. And what did He do? He gave his disciples the Holy Spirit so that they could continue to witness and share His gospel; while He ascended into heaven to prepare a place for all of us who received Him. We have been commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves, but left to our own we can never fully accomplish this kind of love, because we are human and humans are selfish and cruel by nature. However, when Jesus lives within us, we have His love in our hearts to shower upon others, the way that Jesus poured His love upon us when he died on the cross that night. Through this incredible gift we have received from Him, we can sacrifice ourselves for others (not often in a physical way but through giving and serving) the way we’ve been commanded to do.
Today, I challenge you to love those around you in the way that Jesus loved us. Show someone how much you care about them by making a sacrifice that benefits them, even if it comes at your expense. To love your neighbor as yourself is not an easy task, but through Christ we can do all things.