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Sunday Readings for June 19, 2011 (TrinityA)
By Fr. Orlando, Sapuay, MS
I consider the gospel today one of the greatest text in the Bible. The greatest love of all. Not human love which is biased and often impure as to its motives. Human love is selfish and is usually given out on the basis of what it can hope to receive in return! God’s love is not like this at all! His love is always pure, always holy, always seeking what is best for the one He loves. His love is given freely without the hope of desire for anything in return. God loves, because He is love! His love is never ending - Jer. 31:3. His love is always given first, 1 John 4:19. His love is precious beyond words!
We are told that God “so loved the world”. The word “so” indicates the depth of His love. It describes the manner of His love for fallen men. It is a deep love that motivated Him to send His Son to die for the lost. This is uncommon love! This is God love! Notice the object of God’s great love: the world. By its very definition, this love is no ordinary love! It is a special love that seeks to give itself away on behalf of the objects loved. Of course, this should not surprise us, after all, to love is the very nature of God, 1 John 4:8, 16.
Friend, regardless of the curve balls life may have delivered to you, you need to know today that God loves you! No one is beyond the scope of His love! The greatest thought to grip the human mind is this: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so!”) The second greatest thought is this: There is nothing you can do to make God stop loving you - Rom. 8:38-39!)
The true value of love lies in what love is willing to give to the objects it loves. You see, God’s love is not static or self-centered! His love doesn’t just sit quietly by while men drop off into Hell! His love prompted Him to do something for the men He loves! (Many love like the man who called his girlfriend and said, “Darling, I love you! I would cross the burning sands for you! I would fight a jungle full of lions for you! I would brave anything just to be with you because I love you! And, if it doesn’t rain tonight, I’ll be over to see you!”)
God’s love is seen in the gracious gift of His Son Jesus on the cross. The death of Jesus Christ for sinners is the greatest, most visible and the absolute final word concerning God’s love for humanity, Rom. 5:8, John 15:13! (1 John 4:9-10; Isa. 53:6; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 3:16). Look no farther than the bloody cross of Calvary to see the extent of God’s love for you!
“For God so loved the world.” - us. The truth of that statement is so simple and yet it boggles the mind. Its so easy to say and so hard to wrap our minds and hearts around. God loves us. Maybe God’s love is hard to understand because so many of us struggle with seeing ourselves as lovable. Why should God love me? I can’t even love myself. Maybe we hear about God’s kind of love. But in life we’ve been shown quite the opposite.
And yet the truth remains. God loves us. Each of us, no matter what we may think of ourselves. No matter what others may think of us. No matter what our sins or our attitude towards God. Whether we accept the truth of His love or not - He does love you. You can put your own name there - each of us is a part of that world that God loves. That Jesus came for.
I read a story of a young man who had quarreled with his father and left home. He continued to keep in touch with his mother, and wanted very badly to come home. But, he was afraid his father wouldn’t allow him to come home. His mother wrote to him and urged him to come home. But, he didn’t feel he could until he knew that his father had forgiven him. His mother wrote and said she would talk with the father. If he had forgiven him, she would tie a white rag on the tree which grew beside the railroad tracks near their home, which he could see before the train reached the station. If there was no rag, it would be better if he went didn’t come home.
So the young man started home. As the train drew near his home - he was so nervous he said to his friend - who was traveling with him, “I can’t bear to look. You look and tell me whether there is a rag on it or not.” So his friend looked out the window. After a while the friend said, “Yes, I see the tree.” The son asked, “Is there a white rag tied to it?” For a moment the friend didn’t say anything. Then he turned, and in a very gentle voice said, “There is a white rag tied to every limb of that tree!”
In Jesus, God has removed all the condemnation and made it possible for us to come freely home to him. Why and how - we really don’t understand. His love is too deep - too pure - too holy. But He has.