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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

CrossTalk: Jesus Loves His Enemies

In just two and a half weeks, we will observe the most solemn day on the Christian calendar. We call it Good Friday. It marks the day when God Himself died for the sins of the world.

This is the exact polar opposite of what we would expect! After all, if you had created something from scratch only to have it turn on you and attack you, what would you do? If you liked it well enough, you might give it another chance. But if it kept on attacking you incessantly and viciously, I think any reasonable person would finally reach the conclusion that it needed to be put down.

But God has created us out of nothing. He created us to be and to behave as human beings -- namely to be perfect depictions of His own love right here in the world. "In the image of God" He created us. But far from depicting God's selfless love in the world, we are habitually self-seeking. Instead of living in eternal gratefulness for the unmerited tender mercies that God has given us, we resent His authority and rebel against His rules.

It would be perfectly reasonable for God to "put us down." He would have every right to wipe us off the face of the planet and start over. But He doesn't! Instead, He came to earth to BE put down. He came to BE wiped off the face of the planet for you. That's what happened on Good Friday.

 What punishment so strange is suffered yonder!
 The Shepherd dies for sheep that loved to wander;
 The Master pays the debt His servants owe Him,
  Who would not know Him.
 The sinless Son of God must die in sadness;
 The sinful child of man may live in gladness;
 Man forfeited his life and is acquitted;
  God is committed.

What shall we say to all these things? How could we be anything else than totally won over by such love toward us? Do we thank Him by continuing to ignore Him, His Word, His Worship, His purpose for our lives?

Are we not in the least bit curious to know more about this God who would go to such extreme lengths for us? Why would He do such a thing? If He loves me so much as to do this for me, what does that say about His commandments for me? Can these possibly be so hateful toward me when everything else I know about Him is so loving towards me? How can you continue to hate and war against a man who is -- even now -- giving Himself so totally to you?

If you are not regularly attending Church to hear the gracious words of this crucified God, do youself the biggest favor of your life. Come and hear Him out.

If you are already hearing His words and worshiping this crucified God, remember just how blessed you are to know Him. Recall the joy of the day when you first came to know the joy of His love. And pray this is infinite, self-sacrificial love He gave to you while you were still His enemy, might be made into your own infinite and self-sacrificial love for your enemies.