Even before Good Friday Christ loved sinners…
- Christ restricted Himself to a six foot body that He might explain God to a race of men living in deadly darkness while the fullness of His divine glory was veiled (John 1:18; Luke 1:79), and this restriction was love to me.
- Christ dwelled with men enduring by His perfection heightened sensitivity to every prick of sin and wickedness on this earth from those who drink iniquity like water and whose devotion to disobedience defiles them from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head (Matt. 17:17; Job 15:16; Isa. 1:6), and this walking with men was love to me.
- Christ walked to Jerusalem knowing the outcome of His journey would be a display of injustice, torture, and personal pain enough to make the long history of human crimes seem a drop in the bucket (Luke 9:51-53), and each step was love to me.
At Good Friday we remember…
- Christ persevered in prayer three times in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39-44), and this perseverance in prayer was love to me.
- Christ refused every impulse of His flesh that urged Him to call 12 legions of flaming spirits (Matt. 26:53), and this refusal was love to me.
- Christ bore in His body the most humiliating degradation of laughter from His earthly peers though they were really the works of His hands, nor did He hide His face from their spitting, slapping, and cruelty (Matt. 26:67; Isa. 50:6; John 1:3), and these born indignities were love to me.
- Christ held his tongue when mocked by men (Matt. 27:14; James 3:2), and this holding was love to me.
- Christ suffered meekly from the stripes laid upon Him by a leather whip and a coarse soldier who plied His cursed strength until the back and legs of the Father’s only Son hung like strips of a slaughtered beast (Isa. 53:5; Matt. 27:26), and this scourging was love to me.
- Christ steadied Himself when lithe branches were twisted together and crowned His royal head though a staff pressed the thorns until His face ran with His own vital life (Matt. 27:29-30), and that steadied head was love to me.
- Christ placed the cross bar on His shoulders and walked amidst the great men, soldiers, and the crowd to Golgotha (John 19:17), and the bearing of that cross was love to me.
- Christ laid His sinless arms and legs upon a rugged tree binding Himself to the curse of the law in all its damning weight so that in the holiest and most terrible mystery He might be made a curse for me (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; Deut. 21:23), and His resignation to death was love to me.
- Christ did not withdraw His flesh when a soldier’s arm raised a hammer to strike through His wrist (Matt. 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:33; John 19:18), and that unflinching will was love to me.
- Christ lifted His voice through parched lips to gasp out a plea that the Father would not forget mercy when He looked down on the vile creatures murdering His Son (Luke 23:34), and this prayer was love to me.
- Christ gave hope to every sinner when He instantly pardoned, received, and comforted the condemned criminal hanging by His side (Luke 23:42-43), and this offer of hope was love to me.
- Christ cries, “It is finished,” so that the firmest confidence and truest happiness might one day be mine (John 19:30; Dan. 9:24), and this completed work was love to me.
- Christ gathered up in arms no less than infinite the terrifying flood of His Father’s accumulated wrath on sinners from Adam to today, and to testify to all the ages of the unfathomable extremity of His anguish He summoned His waning human strength to cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46; 1 John 2:2), and this quenching of the wrath in unknown agony to Himself was love to me.
At Easter we remember…
- Christ endures for three days the place of departure and desecration (Mark 8:31; Eph. 4:9-10), and this burial was love to me.
- Christ plants His foot firmly on death’s neck and thus destroys the last enemy which no human art or kingly power could ever subdue but His (1 Cor. 15:20; Heb. 2:14), and this dominion over the grave was love to me.
- Christ rose from the dead that I might rise (Heb. 7:23-25), and this rising was love to me.
- Christ sent His Spirit to dwell within men and thereby to seal them indissolubly to Himself in a union prefigured by marriage (John 15:26; Eph. 1:13), and this sending of His Spirit was love to me.
Yet long before He came to earth He loved sinners…
- Christ communed with the Father and His Spirit before all worlds and spoke the words which have shaped all history, “Behold I come, I delight to do Your will,” that none could deny that He first loved us (Psalm 40:7-8; Heb. 10:7; 1 John 4:19), and this covenant was love to me.
- Christ saw with unmistakable accuracy every evil that I would commit compounded immeasurably by the excuses I would effortlessly spin out along with the habits of selfishness, worldliness, and complacency that would mark my life and feed my own smug sense of fitness to be a son of God: He saw all this and yet chose me when I did not choose Him (Eze. 8:12-13; Eph. 2:1-3; Isa. 53:5-6), and this seeing and choosing were love to me.
- Christ created the worlds and continually sustains them so that all the beauty, plenty, and comfort of all that can be seen may be enjoyed by all men (1 Tim. 6:17; Psalm 8:4-8), and this creating was love to me.
And even today there are more tokens of His love…
- Christ stands perpetually before the Holy One interceding for sinners (1 John 2:1; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25-28), and this never-ending advocacy is love to me.
- Christ removes our sins as a surgeon removes the disease unfalteringly and regardless of our confusion as to His methods (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 8:28-29), and this removal is love to me.
- Christ protects me so that neither tribulation, nor distress, nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor sword, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any of my own foolishness though it be deeply ingrained in me shall be able to separate me from His love (Rom. 8:35-39), and this protection is love to me.
- Christ prepares a place far superior to this world wherein dwells righteousness and where we will live forever with our Lord serving Him and being served by Him in that eternal joy that comes in the morning (John 14:2-3; Rev. 22:3; Luke 12:37; Psalm 30:5), and this home is love to me.
- Christ goes with His people to the ends of the earth that each of His sheep would be found (Matt. 28:19-20; John 10:16; Luke 15:4), and both His aim for all men and His accompanying of His servants to the ends of the earth are love to me.
- Christ promises to return with His reward in His hand for all the called, and chosen, and faithful (Rev. 22:12; 17:14), and this promise is love to me.