Mystery of Love

Scripture: John 3:16
Why did Jesus die for me? It is difficult to understand God's tremendous love for our rebellious planet. Jesus, the Creator, came down to this earth and became one of us. We cannot appreciate what Christ did for us unless we step back and look at the bigger picture.
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Our subject today is going to be one of the sweetest and greatest that could ever occupy the attention of mortal beings. I wish I could understand more about the love of God. Somehow, when we stand upon the threshold of this subject, we seem to be standing on the shore of a boundless fathomless ocean. God's love is indeed a divine mystery. We understand what has been done for us, we know that we have been redeemed. We realize that an escape has been made, when there was no way of escape. But yet, the question rings in our hearts, "Why did He die for me?" We're overwhelmed when we try to find a reason for the self-sacrificing manifestation of His love for us. In the words of the poet;

"Could we with ink the ocean fill

And were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill,

And every man a scribe by trade

To write the love of God above

Would drain the ocean dry,

Nor would the scroll contain the whole

Though stretched from sky to sky."

Do you know what it meant for Jesus to come down from heaven to live and die for us in this earth? After all, He was the Creator, not a mere creature. He did not need to bow to anyone. His law actually ruled the universe. It was His hand which hung the billions of stars, suns and planets in place. Ah, friends, we need to understand that Jesus was the Creator. The Bible explains in many places that it was through Jesus that God made everything that was made in this entire world, and the universe itself. We cannot appreciate the greatness of our God, until we see the infinitesimal fraction of space which our little world occupies in the great scheme of things. Giant telescopes reveal billions and billions of other worlds, much greater and more massive than our own. And all these worlds move in precise orderly fashion, as they hurdle through space.

Yes, God spoke and it was done. He commanded, and it stood fast. Not one star was out of place. Everything was in perfect orbit throughout the solar system, and throughout the universe. This earth is a mere speck of dust in comparison with other created bodies. It could almost be overlooked. Yet, out of all the billions of systems which God made, this little earth became a prodigal, this one speck of cosmic dust became a rebel in God's wonderful plan. The whole Milky Way system obeyed, but this earth disobeyed. Billions of other stars and worlds moved at His bidding, but one renegade tiny world defied the law of God. Someone might say, "Well, so what! There were countless others who did not rebel and disobey. God would surely not miss this one tiny world." But friends, He did, and that's the wonderful part of the story I'm telling you today.

This same great God and Creator, not only was interested in one world, but in one single individual as well. Think of it! He could have blotted this little world out of existence. In fact, I'm sure this is exactly what you would have done, had you been the Creator. Had you been the object of this rebellion, you would have simply destroyed this world and created a thousand new worlds to take its place where the inhabitants would have been grateful and obedient. But God so loved the world that He did not do that friends. Instead, He came down and surrendered Himself into their hands, into the hands of those rebels. He loved them freely.

Can you understand why He stood weeping over Jerusalem on that special occasion? Why should Jesus weep for them? Had He not given them every opportunity to be saved? They would not listen to Him, they did not want Him to be their ruler. Surely now He could go back to His throne in heaven and forget about the people who would not accept Him. No, no, my friends, Jesus could not give up a single soul for whom there might be some ray of hope. He would go to the very limit to provide a way of escape. So He permitted Himself to be taken by them, and crucified by them. How could the Father look down upon that terrible scene? There were men, unworthy to touch the hem of Christ's garments, beating and smiting the very Son of God. Angels must have veiled their faces at the horrible sight. Heaven must have been stilled of its music as this ignominious attack was made upon the Son of God. Surely this is enough now. Surely Christ can see how unworthy and undeserving they are. Surely now He will leave them and go back to heaven and forget about this world. No, He would not see one soul lost who would like to be saved. And so we see Him led from the hall of Pilate, weakened and emaciated. We see Him receive the heavy cross upon His bleeding shoulders. We hear the cries of hatred as they ascend while Jesus struggles toward Calvary. Even the earth shudders in horror at the sight. The sun hides its face from that unspeakable scene.

My friends, nothing in this universe is stronger than love. Christ was God, and God is love. It was love who fainted beneath the cross that day. It was love who prayed for His murderers, it was love who felt the thorny crown upon His brow. Listen, those hands that were stretched out and pierced that day, were the same hands which had fashioned the universe. Those were the very hands which had begotten life in so many people as He trod the paths of this earth. Why was He there now, upon the cross of shame and humiliation? Ah, it was that same mysterious love that we cannot understand, that we can't comprehend. He did it for you, He did it for me. His thoughts were not now upon those other billions of worlds. He was dying for individuals. He was dying for just one soul even, should that one soul be the only object of His love. All men had forsaken Him. Everyone had turned against Him, darkness surrounded Him. Now, surely He could come down from the cross, and say that it's enough! No one could require Him to carry through to that last bitter drink from the cup of shame. Ah, it wasn't a requirement on the part of the Son of God. He had volunteered for this assignment. He had come willingly to bear this cross, and to die this death. And even on the cross, He loved them still. He would die for them though they spit upon Him, and take His very life away. He would make it possible for them to live through His sacrifice. If that dying thief had been the only soul in all the world, Christ would have chosen to hang there. If you had been alone in accepting Him, He would have come and passed through those experiences of pain. Is that possible friends? Yes, indeed! For one tiny world and for even one wretched miserable soul. Yes, I'm bewildered there, because He would have done it for me. Why? How? Love is the only answer. There is no possible explanation. Love unreturned, rejected, spurned. Did it lessen His love for them because of what they did to Him? No indeed, it just broke His heart. That's what actually killed Christ on the cross. It wasn't the spear thrust in His side or the nails in His hands and feet. Jesus died of a broken heart, because of the sins of a world that would not receive Him, that would not love Him. Friends, every time you sin now, you add to that weight which crushed out His life upon the cross long ago. No doubt Jesus could look down through the ages. He could see all of us as we are this very day. He could see every sin that fills the life of individuals today. It was those sins which caused Him to expire upon the cross. Every time we sin willfully, we crucify the Son of God afresh today.

I'll never forget reading the first time about a dream that the famous Scotch theologian, Alexander White, had. This man awoke one night in a terrible sweat of fear and torment. He was weeping; his wife, in fact, had been awakened by his cries in the night. She said, "What's the matter Alex, what's the matter?" "Ah," he said, "Mary, I had a terrible dream. I dreamed I stood in Pilate's judgment hall, I saw Jesus brought in there before the tribunal. I saw them strip Him to the waist. I saw a cruel Roman soldier step up with a long wicked lash, and he began to beat Jesus." He said, "I watched as that great whip came down once, and then it came down twice, and I could stand it no longer. I sprang forward, I gripped the arm of the soldier. I held on as tightly as I could, then suddenly," he said, "this soldier turned and looked me in the face, and Mary," he said "it was I! I was the soldier-I was the one beating my Lord." And Alexander White broke down and wept bitterly as he remembered that terrible dream. Ah, friends, if we could only be impressed so vividly ourselves, that our sins will crucify the Son of God afresh. May God help us to confess our sins, to accept Jesus as our Savior, to have our sins washed away in the blood of Christ, so that they shall not stand against us, so that we shall not share in the sin which killed Him there upon the cross of Calvary.

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