“For God so Loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
No other verse in the Bible so briefly and yet clearly summarizes God’s relationship with humanity and the way of Salvation. The verse tells us that the extent of his love is so great that He sacrificed His only Son on the cross for our sake, on behalf of us, the sinners. Anyone who believes in His Son, Jesus Christ,will be saved and we get the glorious hope of eternal life in Heaven through the live of God and through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
We find different types of love in this world; love between parents and children, love between husband and wife, love among brothers and sisters etc. But above all these, the love between God and our own selves is the most precious one. While all other love has a chance to fade away, the love of Christ for man is the only eternal love ..a love so sincere and faithful that nothing not even sin can break it.
Nothing can separate man from Gods Love. John 3:16 pictures clearly the love God has for man. Although men are utterly fallen, he loves them with the Divine love which is He Himself. 1John 4:8 tells us “God is Love” which is immeasurable and no love could be compared to His love for Man. During Lent, we meditate on the suffering of the Son of man on the Cross. Because of His love for us he sacrificed His life for us sinners. He wants us to taste His love for us and to share the same kind of love to others as Jesus said to His disciples, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34)
His love for mankind is a all forgiving love and it is free says Luke 7:36 – 50. There is an incident from the Bible I’d like to bring to memory now as we all would have heard it. Once when Jesus was invited to dine in the house of a Pharsee, there came a woman to meet Him. She was a woman of ill repute and was known all over the city. She came to Jesus but could not bring herself infront of Him because she was aware of her sinfulness. So she stood behind Christ with an alabaster of perfumed ointment and started weeping, provoked by the sudden realization of His holiness and her sinfulness. She wept bitterly crying for forgiveness. The Bible says she wet the feet of Jesus with her tears, wiped them with her hair and kissed His feet affectionately and anointed them with the precious perfume that she had collected her whole life. It was a custom among the women of that area to start collecting the gum and resins of a few trees and turn them into precious perfumes that they take along as brides to use during her time in the groom’s house. It is made of small quantities collected over many years and it has a connection to memories of those joyful moments of discovering and storing the resins, through girlhood to womanhood.(Luke 7:38)
The hair is the glory of the woman (1Corin 11:15) and she use all her glory to show her love for Christ by cleaning the dirt off His feet. The Pharsee at whose house Jesus sat dining thought, “If Jesus was a prophet, he would by now know that the woman was a sinner of the worst kind.” But Jesus acceptance of the sinner cast doubts on the Pharsee’s mind who also despised the woman as a sinner. Jesus, reading the thoughts of Simon, replied them with a parable making them understand clearly that both were sinners and were in need of forgiveness form Christ and that He had forgiven them indeed. Luke 7:44-46 tells us that Simon should have taken the woman as an example and learned from her. As our God is the God of Forgiveness too, the woman who came as a sinner left the place cleansed and in peace. “As far as the East is from the West, so far has he removed our transgressions from us,” says Psalms 103:12. So where there is love there is forgiveness too.
John 8:3-11 pictures the love of Christ for a woman who was caught red handed in adultery (John 8:4). When the Pharsees and Scribes brought the woman to Christ and demanded His opinion, while reminding Christ that the law required her to be stoned. But Jesus stood silent while they insisted he answer them. Jesus quietly wrote down on the sand and stood up to say, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”(John 8:7) None of them came forward with a stone in hand and soon the crowd dispersed. Jesus then turned to the woman and asked her, “where areyour accusers?” for which she replied, “there are none!”Jesus said to her, Go, and from now on, sin no more.” He did not convict and punish her; instead He erased the guilt of the past and showed her the way forward. His is the love that guides us through the bends & curves, ups and downs of life.
Jesus showed great compassion for the people of this time. Matthew 15:32-38 tells us that Jesus was compassionate towards the multitudes that came to listen to Him. He empathized with their hunger for spiritual food as well as food for physical well being. Once after listening to Him for three long days and nights, the multitudes grew hungry and faint. All three days they had nothing to fill their stomach with though their hunger for spiritual food kept them glued to the words of Christ as he was sermonizing. They sat spell bound by the message Christ had for them. Some of those who came prepared to listen to him would have brought their own food which they might have shared with the have-nots. At the end of the third day Jesus knew they had nothing to eat. Jesus grew compassionate and addressed His disciples with, “I have compassion for the multitude because they have now continued with me for three days and they have nothing to eat (Mat 15:32)!”
In the middle of a barren wilderness, the Lord did feed His faithful followers. Even a very little amount of food (Fish & loaves of bread) He fed many thousands. The Lord is willing to multiply our blessings if we would let go of our riches and surrender whatever we have into His hands. When the little boy in the crowd came forward to offer whatever little he had, Christ blessed it so that it multiplied and turned it into a satisfying blessing for others that when all had eaten to the full they still had 12 baskets of food left. (Mat 15:34)
Whatever worldly riches or power or assets that we possess, we need to surrender it all into the mighty hands of the Lord for His will to work on our lives. He wants us to use whatever little we have to satisfy the hunger of those in need spiritual and physical, as a manifestation if the love He has for you. Just like He gave himself as a sacrifice on the cross for the redemption of the human race, He also works to kindle the same kind of love in us, so that we give with love, not partially but wholesomely. Amen.