The Ultimate Valentine

Posted: February 14, 2014 in Thoughts
Tags: , , ,

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13 

It happens every February.  Almost as soon as the Christmas decorations go away, the Valentine’s Day decorations go up.  Thoughts turn to romance, loved ones, hearts, and chocolate, among other things.  Our culture has an idea of love that is one-sided…something that is totally human.  Of course there is much to be said and celebrated about the love between a husband and wife, or a parent for his/her child.  Those kinds of love (though different from each other) are wonderful things.  Yet even in their purest, most innocent expression, they fall short of the ultimate standard of love: that between the Holy God and the people He has redeemed.
The Bible tells us that God has demonstrated His own love towards us in that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).  The gospel of John famously recounts Jesus telling Nicodemus how God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).  This is God’s great love for us: that He would give His Son to willingly lay down His life for us.
What act of love can possibly compare with this?  Many parents would lay down their lives for their children, if need be.  Spouses would gladly sacrifice themselves for their mates.  But what about doing the same for an enemy? That is exactly what Jesus did for us.  While we were still sinning against Him, He died in our place.  While we were actively rebelling against the God who created us, the Creator gave His Son for our crimes.
And it doesn’t stop there.  The night Jesus spoke the words recorded in John 15, He specifically called the people in the room His friends.  He had not yet gone to the cross – He had not yet borne the penalty of their sins – but already He could call the eleven disciples (and whoever else was there) His “friends.”  These were people still lost in their sin, but they were eternally loved by the Son of God.  Jesus had been slain for their sin from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), and He could look at them with the compassion of God and call these sinful human beings His friends.
What valentine can compare with this?  What greeting card could adequately capture the indescribable magnificence of the love of God for us in Christ Jesus?  Words cannot express the love shown to us in the cross – it is no wonder we are given an eternity to praise our Savior in heaven.
As we approach a day to celebrate the human love between family and friends, may we always keep at the forefront of our minds the love God has shown to us in Christ.  Take the opportunity to express your love back to Him as we gather in worship every week.  And go a step further: share the best valentine of all by telling someone else of the love of Jesus for them.  Jesus has already laid down His life for that person – and as Jesus said, there can be nothing greater than that.

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