Friends of mine are in my thoughts as I write. Yesterday, they had to say goodbye to their beloved dog who sadly passed away. Unless you’re a dog lover you can’t really understand their loss. That was me a year ago, but since adopting Max, our Romanian rescue dog, I know just how they feel. The thought of Max not being around is unbearable, so my dear friends can be assured that you’re in my thoughts and prayers.
Why do we love animals so much? I can’t give you an answer to that, we just do. It begs another question, why does God love us so much? What is it about the human race that generates such a love towards us?
If you look at it from our perspective, it makes no sense at all. This is God’s world, given us to look after, but what have we done to it? Even the most hardened cynic can’t deny that we’re destroying this world, damaging it in so many ways. What about the way we treat each other? God wants us to love each other, but there’s not much evidence of that when you look at the global picture. Wars continue to break out, yesterday it was Azerbaijan and Armenia, racism is rearing its ugly head again, domestic abuse has been on the increase during lockdowns, and what about our selfishness? Rich countries are greedily buying up stocks of Covid vaccines before they have even been produced, making sure we’re ok, but not people from poorer countries. Where is the love in that?
When you look at it from God’s perspective though, you get a different picture. God created us, the pinnacle of his creative work on earth. Mankind, and mankind alone has been made in God’s image. That doesn’t mean we look like him, it means we share some of his characteristics. We think, we reason, we analyse, we choose. We were created for God to have fellowship with us. His aim was always that we could have a wonderful life, enjoying him every day. He created us to love us, it’s as simple as that, but we blew it. God though, still has that love for us. He still wants to enjoy our company and came up with a dramatic plan to make sure it could happen again.
That plan involves his Son, himself God, Jesus Christ. Instead of rejecting us, which would be a reasonable thing to do, God’s plan involved Jesus becoming one of us. He came to earth, being born in a stable in a town called Bethlehem. He grew up impressing everyone by his wisdom. At the age of 30 he began a ministry that saw him perform amazing miracles, always for the benefit of someone. At the age of 33 we crucified him.
It was an awful thing they did to him but, remarkably, this was God’s plan. God decided that the way to bring us back to himself, so that he could love us again, was by committing on earth the greatest act of love the world has ever seen. God gave up his Son, Jesus, to die for us, to be punished for our sins so that we don’t have to be punished. (1)
Those who believe what I’m saying, who know Jesus as their Saviour, will never be punished for their sins. However, if you reject Jesus, and refuse God’s offer of salvation, then the buck stops with you. If you don’t want what God has given you, then you miss out on his wonderful offer, and you have to face the punishment for your sins.
Someone has to be punished sadly, that’s our fault. It’s because of what we’ve done that this situation exists. You need to make a decision. Who’s going to be punished for your sins? It’s your choice. Will it be Jesus, or will it be you?
- John 3:16