The entire message of the Bible is a message of grace, hope, forgiveness, and love – all unearned, ill deserved, and completely without condition! The love of God is reckless, pervasive, and unstoppable. The love of God has yet to meet its limit, boundary, or match! Thus far, though billions of tried, none have been able to stop the work of God, Satan couldn’t destroy the Son of God, and what prevails in the end is the Church of God.
The love of God is not reserved for just the rich or just the poor.
It is not only for straight people, republicans, humanitarians, or Baptists.
The love of God cannot be confined to being found only within the walls of a local church building on Sunday morning. The love of God is not rhetoric or wishful thinking. It cannot be shrunk down to a coffee cup. The love of God does not fall asleep at the wheel but is always alive, brilliant, and blazing! God’s love is not just for the world, not just for the Church, but for little bitty you in that chair right there, right now, with all of your past mistakes, all of your present skepticisms, and your ongoing stubborn “so what’s?” and “prove-it-to-me’s” going on in your head right this second. God's love is for you. Right here. Right now.
DON'T TRY TO EARN GOD'S LOVE. YOU CAN'T.
To take it a step further, God hasn’t insisted on you getting better, trying harder, or doing more so that he’ll love you. His love isn’t fickle, moody, or affordable. The love of God is something so unbelievable that Christians need to show up to the communion table every week to see it put on display. The love of God is quite special. It must be given and received and the only thing more offensive to God than our sin is our pithy attempts at earning his loving affection. St. Paul tells us "God is for us” and either we either take him at his word or we flat don’t.
HAVE YOU GONE TOO FAR FOR GOD TO LOVE YOU?
Have you gone too far for God to love you? What’s that sin that you committed that haunts you at night? You know, the one that if everyone found out, you’d be ruined? Consider that the people who Jesus goes to battle with are not the prostitutes, the downcast, the outcast, vagabonds, or drunks. It’s not the greedy tax-collectors, the broken down peasants in the countryside, the Good Friday thieves who were crucified on either side of him or even the Roman guard who nailed him to the wood.
WHO JESUS ARGUED WITH
The people Jesus found himself arguing with were the ones who thought they were doing just fine in God’s economy because they kept all the rules, tithed out of their spice racks, and diligently worked to observe the Sabbath. They had a monopoly on the community, Moses memorized, and God in their back pockets. And Jesus, well, he was that trouble-maker out there forgiving the adulteress of her sin and giving her dignity back. Jesus, was the one healing handicapped people on the Holy Day (Mark 3:1-6). Jesus rocked the religious boat by identifying himself as the Son of God (John 5:18). Jesus was the one who called their bluff and flipped their money tables over, and drove them out of the temple, shouting things about prayer.
JESUS HAS SOMETHING TO SAY TO YOU
Today, Jesus has burst on the scene and says,
“You’re thirsty. I’ll be your cold drink of water.”
And “I can see that you’re hungry. I’m the bread of life.”
“I know you’re lonely. I’ll never leave you.”
“You look tired. I’ll give you rest.”
"Want to come to heaven?" You have no idea how much I'm looking forward to you being here with me.”
Can you believe this?
The devil is a liar.
God is alive.
The gospel is a total scandal.