And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge… Ephesians 3:18-19 (NIV)
This morning, on the eve of Maundy Thursday, I was reading Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning Devotional” at biblegateway.com. As I was looking for some wisdom to pull me into the sacred that should be Holy Week, these words spoke to me.
Spurgeon writes of Christ’s journey to the cross:
“To be a man was something, to be a man of sorrows was far more; to bleed, and die, and suffer, these were much for him who was the Son of God; but to suffer such unparalleled agony–to endure a death of shame and desertion by his Father, this is a depth of condescending love which the most inspired mind must utterly fail to fathom. Herein is love! and truly it is love that “passeth knowledge.” O let this love fill our hearts with adoring gratitude, and lead us to practical manifestations of its power.”
When I consider God’s love that passes all understanding, I’m usually thinking of myself. God loves me, God sacrificed his son for me, God’s love will never leave me. The love that surpasses all understanding is like a warm, fuzzy blanket I can pull over myself when the world gets too cold, too big, too confusing, too frightening. When life goes wrong, I remember that God loves me anyway.
But Spurgeon’s words reveal a deeper truth to God’s love than my own selfish understanding. They remind us that the incomprehensible nature of this love isn’t about a feeling of warmth or security; rather, the incomprehensible nature of this love is that Jesus endured humiliation, torture, and an agonizing death so that we might be reconciled to God. And that incomprehensible truth should pull us out of our beds each morning and propel us first to our knees, and then forward into a world that is desperate for reconciliation carrying the banner of God’s truth and love.
God’s love isn’t a security blanket to soothe our wounded souls. God’s love is a powerful force in motion that is meant to save the world. God’s love brings peace. God’s love brings reconciliation. God’s love brings equity. God’s love brings justice.
Over the next few days, as you begin the journey toward Resurrection Sunday, I would invite you to spend some time with Jesus as he makes his way to Calvary. See him as he agonizes in the garden. Watch as his friends betray him. Listen as he is falsely accused of trumped up crimes. Cringe as he is beaten, stripped, flogged, and humiliated in the palace and in the streets of Jerusalem. Pause as his last breath leaves his broken body and he is unceremoniously left in a dark and cold tomb. And remember…this is God’s love. God sacrificed a part of himself to bring reconciliation to the world.
Blessings and Peace,