The infinite creator of the universe loves me. At the start of everything, before He spoke light and time into existence, He knew me. He knew the kind of person that I would be, the kinds of thoughts I would think, the kinds of words I would say, the kinds of sins I would commit, the kinds of pride I would exhibit. He knew all about me, all about us, and yet He still loved me, He still loved us.
How much? God loved us enough to fully become Man in the form of a man named Jesus. Jesus, the only Son of the Father, loved me. He lived a perfect and spotless life because He knew that sin had to be defeated and that the Father's judgment and condemnation had to be completed. Why? Because we had sinned by disobeying His single command, to not eat of the Tree. We were all subsequently cursed, and we still are, but we're no longer obligated to live under that curse.
Jesus, being God in flesh, lived for around 33 years before being murdered/executed. In all His time here on earth He never once sinned. He never once stopped loving His fellow men. He never once stopped loving me. He knew exactly what was required to fulfill God's justice, and He freely gave of Himself so that we could have eternal life. He knew that we would be unable to live perfectly and that we would be consumed by God's wrath and found wanting. He knew that the only way to avoid that was to sacrifice Himself and appease the sin debt that was required.
So He did. He lived a holy life by loving God with His whole heart, soul, body, and strength. What's more, He loved His neighbor nearly as much, to the point that He would lay down His life for them. Then came the cross, the terrible pain of crucifixion and asphyxiation and nails and thorns. Then came the emotional turmoil of imminent death. He knew what was coming, that the Father would remove His Presence from the Son. They had been in a holy communion of Three since before time began, never separated, and yet the Father would have to turn His back on His only Son because of the sin that Jesus was taking on.
And He did. And darkness fell. And the veil tore from the top downward.
Jesus was placed into a tomb, a large stone was rolled in front of it, and a guard of Roman soldiers was put there to make sure nothing mischievous happened. Man, however, could not stop what was coming. On Sunday something not mischievous but rather magical happened. Jesus defeated hell and the grave. He arose, resurrected, putting down death and walking again on earth.
He was seen by many. He lived among men for forty more days and then He ascended--literally--up to heaven. He said He was leaving so that something better would come. He gave us the Spirit, God, to dwell within us. All we had to do was trust Him, Jesus, and follow His commands. What were they? To love God with our whole hearts, souls, bodies, and minds and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Salvation is simple. Salvation is complex. Salvation is the greatest gift Man has ever received, and it is the greatest gift I have ever been given. Greater than Keisha's love for me. Greater than Avonlea. Greater than anything I can imagine. God loves me. He loves me. He loves me. And He loves you, too.
Merry Christmas. Happy Easter. God's gift is free for the taking.
(If you'd like to talk about any of this, feel free to send me an email if you'd like. I'd love to discuss what God has done in my life with you.)