Legend has it that the Apache war chief Geronimo, who led a small band of followers and avoided capture for years, once made a daring escape when he was trapped by the U.S. Cavalry at Medicine Bluffs, OK. Backed up to a cliff, the warrior chose to ride his horse off of that cliff into the river below instead of being captured. This is why people yell "Geronimo!" when they jump off of something. What he did was so memorable that his name has become synonymous with jumping from great heights.
Christ’s death is the same for us as Christians. It so encapsulates what love is that it has become synonymous with the word. I John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Its not that love didn’t exist before Christ died on the cross, it’s just that love like this never existed before Christ.
Romans 5:6-8 spells this out for us when it says, "Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die." For the longest time this passage of Scripture confused me, but the main point is very simple. How often is a person willing to die for another person? Not very often, right? Maybe, if somebody was a really good person, you might consider dying for them. But look at how amazing God's love for us is. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
This is the good news of the gospel. God knows all of your deepest darkest secrets: all your shame, and all your guilt. But he loves you anyway! In fact, he loves you with a kind of love that you have never experienced before. You don't have to clean yourself up for him or pretend to be something you're not. He loves you at your worst. He died for your even when you were still a sinner, even when you were his enemy. Consider this. Christ even died for the salvation of the men who were crucifying him. He turned to his Father and said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:24). Is there any greater love than this?
If you haven't yet accepted Christ as your Savior, then what are you waiting for? I can promise you, you will not find love like this in our world. It is one of a kind. Romans 10:9 says, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Don't waste another day of your life living outside of this amazing love.
If you are a believer, then rest secure in God's love for you. He has already seen you at your worst. He knows the depths of your sin better than you do, and he chose to love you anyway. So do not live in fear of losing God's love, bask in the immensity of it. Thank him for it. Rest in it. And go share his love with others. It is too good to keep to ourselves.
For further reading this week, check out these passages...
- John 18-19: Take a closer look at the love of God.
- I John 4:7-21: God is love.
- John 15:13: Greater love?