February 3, 2014
He Really Loves Me!
"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
Our hearts long to be loved. We want to know someone treasures and values us. Truly. Faithfully. Lavishly. Would someone, anyone, be willing to give up an item of great value for us?
I'm stunned God willingly paid so much for me to know Him. It's mind-boggling to grasp that Jesus left His Father in heaven to come to this earth as a baby, then die by crucifixion. I can hardly comprehend a love that cost so much.
I can't imagine sacrificing any of my three children to save someone else's life. Yet Peter writes, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed ... but with the precious blood of Christ ..." (1 Peter 1:18-19, NIV). What love!
What makes it even more costly is God the Father knew He would need to turn away from His son during Jesus' death.
When Jesus was hanging on a wooden cross, God the Father withdrew His presence because of the sin His Son bore on our behalf. Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46b, NIV). A great shadow had come between Jesus and the Father. Jesus was excruciatingly alone on that cross because of you and me.
A story from the mission field illustrates a similar kind of love. For years, Dr. Margaret Brand served as a missionary eye surgeon in southern India. In the rural areas she would sometimes do 100 cataract surgeries in a day.
In one instance where there was no electricity, Dr. Brand asked a 12-year-old boy to hold a large flashlight so that its beam gave her enough light to operate. Dr. Brand doubted whether the boy would be able to endure the sight of eyes being sliced open and stitched. For the first five operations he did his job impressively. During the sixth, however, he faltered.
"Little brother, show the light properly," Dr. Brand instructed him. But she could sense that he simply could not bear to look at the eye. When she asked him if he felt well, she saw tears running down his cheeks. "Oh, doctor, I cannot look," replied the boy. "This one, she is my mother."
You see, God loves us so much, "For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21, NRSV) when we put our faith in Him. The high price Jesus paid makes us incredibly valuable — no matter how worthless we may feel at the end of the day.
Here's another way to look at it. When it comes to placing a value on a piece of art, that value is derived from three things:
• Who made it?
• How many are there like it?
• What is someone willing to pay for it?
You are a priceless work of art. The greatest Artist in the universe hand-crafted you. God gave the life of His only Son to have a relationship with you. That's how valuable you are. I'm clearly a sinner, not holy like God. But God loves me, and He loves you enough to pay an enormous price so that we could have our sins forgiven.
With a word the universe was brought into being. With a touch lepers were healed. But when sin was forgiven, Jesus the Son of God willingly died. What amazing love!
And the focus of that love? You and me.
May we pause in this moment to absorb the depth of God's love for us. And may our lives be filled with thankfulness that He was willing to pay the price!
Loving God, help me always remember that my only true worth is found in You. Thank You for the gift of Your Son; thank You for loving me so much that You thought I was worth Christ's life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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To read the transcripts from Encouraging Words, Darlene's 2-minute radio programs, click here. To listen, click on any title.
Reflect and Respond:
Knowing how treasured you are by God, what part of you doesn't feel like a "priceless work of art"?
What would your day look like if you thanked Him for this "flaw" all day long?
1 John 3:1a, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." (ESV)
1 John 4:19, "We love him, because he first loved us." (KJV)
© 2014 by Darlene Sala. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Barbour Publishing for their sponsorship of today's devotion.
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Originally published Monday, 03 February 2014.