“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, KJV)
This is the love of Christ! It is amazing, it is unsearchable, it is fully unknowable, and it is beyond measure! It is unchangeable and it is free!
Exactly what kind of love is this? It is this love of Christ that caused Him to be willing to be made a curse; He took the punishment for our sins; He took the wrath of God that was stored up for us! This love made Jesus, the Holy Supreme Creator, Sustainer, and King of all things to die an ignoble, shameful, cruel, and accursed death! For the wrath of God was put upon Him on the Cross.
David Clarkson asks in his book, The Practical Works of David Clarkson, Volume 3, 11-24,
“Was it not enough, dearest Savior, that you condescended to pray, sigh, and weep for us, but were willing also to bleed and die for us? Was it not enough that you were hated, slandered, and blasphemed, but also scourged, nailed, wounded, and crucified? Was it not enough that you felt the cruelty of many, but also underwent the wrath of God? O the transcendent love of Christ! Heaven and earth are astonished at it. What tongue can express it? What heart can conceive it? The tongues, the thoughts of men and angels are far below it. O the height, depth, breadth, and length of the love of Christ!”
Saint, remember who you once were? Vile, wretched, unloving, hateful, prideful, criminal, base, liar, murderer, coveter, adulterer, hater of God and His Son, and fully unholy in every way? We had nothing, no beauty of thought, no beauty of soul, no beauty of spirit that might draw Jesus to us. There was nothing lovely in us because there is nothing whatsoever pleasant or appealing in man. Nothing! I say again, there is nothing that man has, of the least amount of good, to bring to Jesus!
But Jesus was completely aware of this! He was fully aware of your depravity and sinfulness as well as mine even before we were formed in the womb. Jesus, throughout all eternity, was fully aware of our depravity. He saw every one of our sins, not in a line, one by one, but all at once. Each sin piled on top of the other. Think about that: every one of your sins or my sins piled up in front of Jesus. Honestly, in my case, it would take God Himself to see the height and breadth of the pyramid of my sins. This is not pretty. This is not petty. This is not trivial. Our sin is profound and it is ugly. That pile of mine contains everything that God is against; everything that He hates; everything He abhors, everything that angers Him to the point of wrath; everything that He will not have before Him.
Now, ponder this scene of Jesus looking at your wickedness and vileness. Holiness with purity, perfection, and virtue known nowhere else and found in no other is looking at you and at me. And what does He do? He loves us, which, if we think about it, should add even more marvel at His love for us.
Again, David Clarkson in the same volume, says,
“He saw every perverse look, every unkind gesture, every rebellious motion, every disingenuous act. Every heart was visible from eternity. Here is the wonder of Christ’s love: it is fixed upon man, the worst of creatures. Consider his resolution, and wonder. I will give eternal life to those who have dishonored me.”
Sinner look up! Perfect love and Pure Light has looked at you, dissected your heart, read your mind, watched your actions, and as your Savior and Lover of your soul, has welcomed you into His home and into His arms. He has cleansed you and made you white as snow. He has traded your sinfulness for His sinlessness. He has traded your corruption for His perfection. He has freely given His life for yours, that through His death, you may live in heaven for eternity. For His home, His love, His compassion, His safety, His surety, even His very Being, is now yours because you are now His.
His purchase of our life was at the greatest cost one could ever imagine. But His love for us and for His Father led Him down the Via De La Rosa all the way to Calvary where He laid down His life. Nothing could ever stop Him. Love put Him in Mary’s womb and that same love allowed Him to be nailed to the Cross. His life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension all took place because our Jesus was driven by His unmeasurable love for His enemies.
From the great hymn, “And Can It Be“, written by Charles Wesley in 1738, we read,
And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
No greater love has this world ever known; and it is given freely to all those who ask.
To God be the glory, now and forever, Amen.