Monday, June 23, 2014
John 11 -- the love of God, conclusion
We're studying about our loving God, and winding up the passage today. We'll move onward in this inspiring chapter at our next "meeting" here in blogland.
Let's refresh our memory of these verses:
Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair. So the sisters sent word to Him saying, `Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.' But when Jesus heard this, He said, `This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified in it.' Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
We talked about how it was difficult for our finite, human minds to comprehend that He was showing love in the verses above. To our way of thinking, He should have rushed over and prevented Lazarus from dying. But we are seeing as we study, that God shows His love by doing whatever is necessary to show us His glory, and to encourage us to be satisfied with Him.
We've studied how He deserved all honor, yet sacrificed Himself. We've seen that He is a happy Savior, and will share all His joy with us in heaven. Now let's look at His power and authority.
We humans are drawn to power like moths to the flame. We stand in awe and watch rockets, thrusters flaming, power their way into the atmosphere. We resist the efforts of emergency personnel who desire us to evacuate, and hunker down to experience a hurricane first-hand. We listen to the screaming wind, hear the pounding of sheets of rain, wince at lightning and thunder that seems too close . . . but we love the rush of adrenaline. Every year, some of us shake our heads in amazement at hardy (foolish) souls who stay put and "ride out" storms. The awe-inspiring power and force is something that we are drawn to. It seems to put us on the brink of eternity; it wakes us up to reality.
What it should do is reinforce the idea of Jesus having all power. He could speak one word and the storm would abate. He has the power and the authority to do that. And we love that about our God.
Here is another thing to consider about our God: He is all-wise and all-knowledgeable. Let's put that a little differently, just to make it more clear. He is infinitely wise and infinitely knowledgeable.
Remember the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz? He wanted people to look up to him for his knowledge and brain-power. He talked about how admirable it was for people to know a lot. Well, we humans do seem to love people who know a lot. We pay scholars and scientists loads of money and admire them. We put them in charge of universities and foundations, read their books and make much of them. We seem to love to lavish attention on those people who know a lot.
Have we ever thought about what Jesus knows? Well, it's not enough to say that He knows everything . . . He actually knows everything there is to know. All of the scholars who have known deep thoughts and intricate theories? Jesus knows all of that; it's a first grade primer to Him, all of it. He knows all of the infinite creation that we are just beginning to peep around and explore. After all, He was there in the beginning!
When our kiddos were small, we enjoyed going out to see the meteor showers when the astronomers predicted good views of them. Late at night, bundled up in blankets, lying in the back of our pickup, we would count the meteors as they shot across the sky. Pretty amazing, don't you think? That they can predict what night the meteors will appear, and even what hours they will peak. That's pretty cool. But you know what? That's nothing compared to what Jesus knows about this universe and this creation. He is an infinitely knowledgeable God.
He's an infinitely wise God, who knows what we need.
And He's an infinitely loving God, who wants to give us the best gift ever.
The love of God for us is His work at great cost to give us the gift of Jesus to enjoy forever. It is to give us all that He is. It's not just about escape from hell, though that is far too precious to express with our mere words. It's not mainly about a conscience that is clear, though that is something truly incredible that He gives to us. It's not just about all the ways that He heals our bodies, our minds, and our relationships, though that again is something beyond words -- so precious to us. Here is the main thing:
Christ suffered once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God.
(I Peter 3:18)
His gift is to bring us to Himself! That is the love of God. At great cost to Himself, it (that love) brings us to God! It brings us to something amazing, and full of splendor. If we think the Alps are something to marvel at, or the Grand Canyon, or some famous person . . . these are just faint echoes of splendor compared to the love of God.
We should admit, though, that there is a massive obstacle between us and God. We all know what it is -- sin. Some have said that the root of sin is this -- we exchange the glory of God for the blessings that He gives. Let me explain . . . we are offered the fellowship of God, the infinitely wise and loving Father, and it's FOREVER! And instead of accepting that, we lay it aside and take His gifts. We do this and it says to God, "No thanks. I'm not interested in fellowship with you. I'm not into that. Enjoying you and being satisfied with you? Nope. I want your gifts -- wife, children, the applause of men, fame, wealth. Yep, that's what I want."
God's love is His doing everything it takes -- even the death of His own Son in order to work in our hearts. He wants us to stop feeling loved by people making much of us, and start feeling loved by the enjoyment of making much of Him. Forever. In all that we do.
David said it gloriously:
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26
As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the children of God . . . (John 1:12) And if children, then heirs, heirs of God . . . (Romans 8:17)
He is our portion, our inheritance forever. Let us be satisfied with Him, and in Him. Our joy will be full!