I was out in the backyard this morning with Sumo while he was doing his business, and I was thinking about love. Not just romantic love (though that at last has become part of my life again), but love. I used to think about it solely in romantic terms, but now that I have that in my life, it’s like it freed me to consider love in the way it was actually created.
I thought about how Jesus was actually the greatest manifestation of love that has ever existed–or ever will.
Consider John 3:16. “For God so loved the world…”
God loved us enough to do that. And not just for the people that loved Him, but for those that did not as well.
Especially for them.
He sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for them.
I thought about Abraham, and his unwavering obedience. Walking up that hill to sacrifice his son, not wanting to, but willing to, able to.
Sacrificing his son.
His son was spared, but God’s was not. He, too, went willingly up a hill. You see paintings or images of Jesus all the time, walking the via dolorosa. You sometimes see stations of the cross (if you’re a Catholic, mostly). You see Jesus with a wooden beam balanced across his shoulders as He walks. Sometimes, even a whole cross. But the Jesus usually represented in these images, is whole, and hale, and were it not for the crown of thorns you would probably not even be able to recognize Him for who he was.
But by the time Jesus climbed the hill to Golgotha, he was battered, and scarred, and bloody, and in pain. He was near His end in more ways than one.
It was not pretty, nor should it ever be represented that way.
I read somewhere that when the Romans were going to flog someone to death, the punishment was 40 lashes (someone had deemed that enough to kill). Jesus was to be flogged nearly to death, but…not….quite.
39 lashes, supposedly.
No way to prove this, of course, but the word does mention how badly Jesus was beaten.
In “Blood on my hands,” Todd Agnew sings
“each crack of that whip was for my mistakes…”
Mine, too. But Jesus loved me (and loves me) enough to choose to be beaten, and whipped. To have thorns twisted onto his head. To have nails driven into his limbs, on my behalf. He loved me then, two thousand years before I even existed.
He loves me still.
I was thinking about that when I was in the backyard this morning with my dog. I was thinking about what it felt like to be loved. It feels pretty good. I have someone in my life now that has only been there for a short while, but she loves me.
And there is someone else that has always been in my life, and loved me even before I knew it was possible to know him intimately, passionately, and with all my heart.
I am loved.
It feels amazing.